Can You Sue Another Driver in a No-Fault State?
By Chris Dixon
No-fault states require that drivers carry no-fault insurance. In states that follow at-fault laws, the negligent driver’s insurance company is liable to pay for damages for the driver injured by the negligent driver. With no-fault insurance, if you’re injured in a car accident by another driver, your insurance company has to pay for damages. However, there are a few exceptions to this. Hiring a local lawyer will help decide what options there are for your car accident claim against another driver in a no-fault state, and whether or not you can sue a driver in a no-fault state.
Are There Any Benefits of Being a No-Fault State?
In a no-fault state if you’re involved in a car accident, most of the time you will not be eligible to sue another driver who is at-fault. Your no-fault insurance coverage will cover all damages that occur in a car accident you’re involved in. Some other benefits that accompany no-fault state laws include:
- If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you can still recover damages
- Full coverage for damages
- There are not any at-fault disputes about who caused the accident
- Compensation is typically quick and painless from your insurance company
If You are At-Fault in an Accident and Have No-Fault Insurance Can You Claim Damages?
No-fault insurance does not require knowledge of who caused the accident. If you are liable for an accident in a no-fault state, your insurance company will pay for damages done to your vehicle, property inside of the car and personal injuries from the accident. The downside of no-fault insurance is that to receive damages from your insurance company, you will have to file an insurance claim against your own insurance. Even if you are not the at-fault driver, your insurance premiums will raise. Pain and suffering, loss of affection and other mental distress are not covered under no-fault insurance so if you are seeking damages for these injuries, you won’t be able to.
Can I Still Sue an At-Fault Driver in a No-Fault State?
In some states, your no-fault insurance carrier will request that you file a mini “tort” against the other driver who is at-fault for the car accident. You will receive a small amount of $500-$1,000 that if awarded will be deducted from your insurance’s damage payout. Aside from this, at-fault driver’s in no-fault states cannot usually be sued. The only way that another driver can be sued is if an injured driver’s damages surpass a certain monetary or “serious injury” threshold, but this is only for property and personal injury damages. If you have any pain and suffering or loss of affection damages, you cannot sue the other driver to recover these damages. The thresholds for suing another driver for monetary damages in a no-fault state is as follows:
- District of Columbia: your policy’s PIP benefit amount
- Hawaii: your policy’s PIP benefit amount
- Kansas: your policy’s PIP benefit amount
- Kentucky: $1,000
- Massachusetts: $2,000
- Minnesota: $4,000
- North Dakota: $2,500
- Utah: $3,000
What Options are Available for My Car Accident Claim in a No-Fault State?
If you believe that you’re entitled to damages after being in a car accident in a no-fault state, you should reach out to a car accident lawyer to be sure. A local lawyer will know your state’s laws, whether they are at-fault or no-fault, and if you have grounds to sue the at-fault driver. Like with other accidents, you should gather evidence from the scene of the accident immediately after it happens, swap contact information with the other driver and any witnesses, file a police report and seek medical attention for your injuries. Each of these steps is essential to making sure that you will be reimbursed for damages from your insurance company. If you are looking for a car accident lawyer that can help you learn more about what can be done for your car accident claim in a no-fault state, contact the Dixon Injury Firm and our personal injury attorneys.
How Much Do You Get for Pain and Suffering in a Car Accident?
What If A Family Member Dies in a Car Accident?