Can you sue for damages in a no-fault state?

no fault car accident

Many times, in the event of an auto accident, victims will want to seek compensation from the insurer or the party at fault. But the options depend on many factors including the state you are in.

In fact, you might have heard of a term known as a no-fault state. What’s it all about? Can you sue for damages in such states? The short answer is yes but there is more! Let’s expound on this.

What is a no-fault state?

Contrary to a common misconception, a no-fault state doesn’t imply that no one is held accountable in case of an auto accident. It refers to specific policies that car accidents victims must follow to get the point of seeking compensation from the other party. In a no-fault state, you are required to sign up for insurance policies against car accidents.

Thus in the case of an accident, the first place you are required to look at as a source of compensation is the insurance company. The goal of this policy is to reduce the number of small claims-making way to the court system.

This law sets a minimum insurance coverage for car owners to take care of bodily injury, damage, and death.  Thus anyone involved in an accident can be reimbursed regardless of who was at fault in terms of causing the accident. The reimbursement covers things repair and replacement for property damages, medical expenses, and lost wages as a result of the accident, etc.

But what if the damages or the injuries caused are too big or severe? Can you sue the other party that you believe was the fault?

Filing a Lawsuit in a No-Fault State

Well, you can file for damages in a no-fault state but the difficulty in winning will depend on the specific laws in your state. In some areas, the no-fault law will be quite strict on personal injury claims caused by an auto accident. Generally speaking though most of these states have an exception to the rule, which factors in life-threatening injuries after an accident such as permanent loss of functionality on one body part, disfigurement, and death, etc.

It’s important that you keep in mind that the interpretation of terms such as ‘serious’ and ‘life-threatening’ will influence your claim for compensation in case you want to sue for compensation from the party at fault in such states.  That’s why it’s important for anyone in no-fault states to work with personal injury lawyers who can help assess their situation and establish if they can sue for damages or not. In states like New Jersey and New York, for example, you will need to prove serious injury.

Some states proceed further to define the quality of an injury that can be classified as severe. For example, in some states, fractures are considered serious injuries but others will only stipulate that multiple fractures as the threshold for suing.

Final Word:

In a nutshell, any car accident can leave you with damages and even worse, it can lead to severe injuries that change your life forever. The no-fault state laws might be quite confusing but you can speak to an auto accident attorney who can help break down the jargon for you and help you get the justice you deserve.