Car accidents are messy, confusing, and scary. It can be very difficult to process what has happened when you are involved in an accident.
What’s even worse is causing an accident in at-fault states. Not only are you shook up, and maybe even injured, but you may be responsible to pay for damages you’ve caused.
What are at-fault states, and what do you need to know about driving in them? Keep reading to find out.
What Does It Mean to Be at Fault?
To be at-fault in a car accident means that you caused the accident. This can happen when driving distracted, not following road rules, driving while tired, or simply not paying attention. And if your mistake causes an accident and causes a personal injury, or damages cars or property, you may be at fault.
Determining fault for car accidents involves specific state laws and police reports. Police officers need to consider all variables, such as neglected laws, influences such as alcohol or drugs, eye-witness reports, and more.
But there’s a difference between a no-fault state and an at-fault state.
At-Fault State Meaning
At-fault states are those that require the driver at-fault to compensate those who have been injured or had property damaged by the driver. In at-fault states, those who have suffered can file a lawsuit against the driver at-fault.
No-fault states, on the other hand, allow each party involved to receive compensation from their insurance providers. Unless serious injuries were sustained, a personal injury claim probably cannot be filed against the driver.
It’s extremely helpful to know what type of state you live in, as well as what type of states you are driving through. It doesn’t matter which state you are from when it comes to an accident. It matters where the accident took place.
The following states are no-fault;
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
Pennsylvania is a unique state that essentially gives drivers a choice of no-fault insurance or at-fault insurance. If drivers choose full tort insurance, they will pay higher premiums. But in an accident, they can bring claims against the driver at-fault.
Those who select limited tort insurance will pay lower premiums, but will not be able to file a lawsuit in the case of an accident. Instead, all you can do is file a claim with your insurance company for compensation.
All other states are considered at-fault, which may allow other parties to file a lawsuit against you should you cause an accident.
What It Means for You
If you live in any of the 38 states not listed above, you can be held financially accountable if you cause a car accident. This compensation can come from your insurance company.
But this will cause your insurance premiums to increase. And if the damages exceed the limits your insurance company can pay, you may have to pay the rest out of pocket.
For those in no-fault states, both parties can file a claim with their insurance company. Insurance policies in these states contain an additional policy known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP). In these states, you can only sue if your damages and medical bills exceed what your insurance policy covers, or if the state declares your injuries to be severe.
Have you been involved in an accident in an at-fault state? If so, you may be entitled to compensation.
Contact a personal injury lawyer California residents know and trust. Look here for some recommendations.
Be a Responsible Driver
Not only can car accidents be scary, and possibly even deadly, but they can cost a lot of money if they occur in at-fault states. It’s up to each person on the road to develop safe driving habits and drive distraction-free.
Lawsuits against at-fault drivers are very common. A personal injury lawyer may be able to help you if you are the victim of a car accident.
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