What Is “No-Fault” Automobile Insurance?

You’ve been in a serious automobile accident that was another driver’s fault and you both have automobile insurance. Whose insurance pays for your injuries and the damage to your car? The answer may depend on the state in which you reside.

The majority of states are using what’s known as traditional tort insurance. The driver who is at fault and his or her insurance company are responsible for any injuries or losses that the innocent driver suffers. Sometimes the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay all of the innocent driver’s accident-related expenses. In other instances, the innocent driver may have to hire an auto accident attorney and sue the at-fault driver to collect the money this driver may deserve.

But a handful of states (like right here in Florida) require drivers to purchase no-fault automobile insurance (sometimes known as personal injury protection or PIP). In these no-fault states, each driver’s automobile insurer pays for its client’s expenses after a car crash. The innocent driver may be barred from suing the driver who is to blame for the accident, or they may only be able to sue in limited circumstances.

Am I in a No-Fault Insurance State?

Nine states require drivers to have no-fault auto insurance. Those states are:

• Hawaii • Kansas • Massachusetts • Michigan • Minnesota • New York • North Dakota • Utah

Additionally, Kentucky, New Jersey and Pennsylvania allow motor vehicle owners to choose between traditional auto insurance and no-fault insurance. (These are sometimes referred to as choice no-fault insurance states.) If a Pennsylvania driver doesn’t make a choice, then he or she is automatically provided with traditional tort coverage. In Kentucky and New Jersey, drivers who don’t make a selection default to no-fault coverage.

When Can You File a Personal Injury Suit in a No-Fault State?

Drivers in no-fault insurance states are not completely barred from filing personal injury lawsuits in connection with automobile accidents. The state just raises the bar on eligibility requirements to keep the courts from getting clogged by minor lawsuits.

In five no-fault states, drivers must meet what’s known as a verbal threshold. If the accident and its injuries were sufficiently serious–for example, someone in the accident is killed, dismembered or permanently disabled–then a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit is allowed. The states that have a verbal threshold (sometimes known as a qualitative threshold) are:

• Michigan • New Jersey • New York • Pennsylvania
In other no-fault states, there is a monetary threshold or quantitative threshold that must be met before a lawsuit is permitted. Those states and their thresholds are:

• Hawaii: $5,000
• Kansas $1,000
• Kentucky $1,000
• Massachusetts $2,000
• Minnesota $4,000
• North Dakota $2,500
• Utah $2,000

No-fault insurance and its rules can be confusing. If you’ve been hurt in a car crash that was someone else’s fault, talk to an automobile accident lawyer today–even if you live in a no-fault insurance state. Your attorney can review the details of your claim, help you understand your state’s laws and determine whether you have grounds for a lawsuit.

Have you or a loved one been involved in a car accident? Then call the Clearwater auto accident attorneys at Blake & Dorsten, P.A. today! These former prosecutors are experienced trial lawyers who have handled 100s of personal injury cases.

Blake & Dorsten, P.A. handles all personal injury and criminal cases throughout the Gulf Coast of Florida including Clearwater, Saint Petersburg, Tampa, Bradenton, Sarasota, New Port Richey and Dade City.

To speak directly with your Pinellas personal injury attorney click on the contact button or call them at 727.286.6141. Blake & Dorsten, P.A…when your case matters!

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