Discover Unique Car Accident Laws by State

In a perfect world, car accidents would be avoidable. After all, nobody would be drinking and driving. The weather would be perfect all the time. Every road user would obey traffic rules.

Obviously, that’s not reality.

In the real world, insurance companies are supposed to cover the liabilities that may arise after a car accident. Normally, the insurance company of the at-fault driver compensates the policyholder and the other driver for all their injuries and property damage as a result of the accident. The liability coverage limits usually vary from one state to another.

Car accident laws differ greatly by state. When you move or drive through a different state, you should familiarize yourself with the car accident laws applicable in that state.

No-Fault States

As you may already know, thousands of auto accidents occur on public roads every single day. Some are minor, but others are major.

This means thousands of car accident cases may end up in court every single day. This leads to a huge backlog of car accident cases in the justice system.

That’s why the state of New York has enacted no-fault automobile insurance laws. This means that, when an accident occurs, insurers can compensate the policyholder and other injured parties for injuries sustained without the need to determine who was at fault.

It is important to note that no-fault rules only apply to personal injuries. Liabilities associated with property damage are normally subjected to fault rules. This system is great for policyholders and pedestrians who may be involved in an accident because it provides for speedy processing of claims, which means that medical bills and compensation for lost wages can be paid on time and without dispute.

Apart from the State of New York, other states that have adopted no-fault rules include New Jersey, Michigan, Utah, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and North Dakota.

If you live in any these states, you would have to hire a car accident lawyer to get compensated for property damage.

Fault States

Fault states normally have thousands of lawyers who represent clients filing claims for car accident compensation.

As the name suggests, fault states require insurers to determine who was at fault before making a payout for personal injuries, property damage, and lost wages.

Accident investigators normally work with police detectives and private investigators to determine who was at fault. Once fault has been determined, the insurance company of the at-fault driver will cover all the liabilities associated with the accident.

Most states use fault rules, but California is on top of the list.

Choice States

Some states have insurance laws allowing policyholders to choose between fault and no-fault rules when purchasing a policy. This means that consumers who think no-fault rules would favor them can purchase a no-fault auto insurance policy.

Choice states include Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and New Jersey.

Add-On Coverage Rules

Some states allow policyholders to purchase additional personal injury protection on top of the minimum liability coverage required by law. In case of an accident, the benefits are immediately paid out by the insurance company to the injured party, regardless of who was at fault. However, the driver can still sue or be sued for the pain, injuries, and suffering caused by the accident.

States that permit add-on coverage include Delaware, Washington, D.C., Arkansas, and Maryland.

Threshold

In no-fault states, the injured parties can still sue each other for personal injuries. However, a certain threshold must be met. There are two types of thresholds:

  • Monetary Threshold States – In these states, the medical bills of the injured party must exceed a certain amount before an injury lawsuit can be admitted in court. Monetary threshold states include Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Dakota, Utah, and Massachusetts.
  • Serious Injury Threshold States – In these states, a lawsuit can be filed if the injuries can be expressed in a written description. For instance, an injury may cause scarring, permanent disfigurement, bone fracturing, and disability, among other types of injuries. States that admit lawsuits based on the seriousness of the injuries include New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Florida. Each of these states has its own definition of a serious injury.

Texas Car Accident Laws

The car accident laws in Texas are complex. When you need to file a claim for compensation, you’d do well to hire a qualified personal injury lawyer with Denena Points, PC.