If you have sustained an injury through someone else’s carelessness or reckless behavior, you will need to prove that party’s negligence in order to collect damages. “Who is at fault?” becomes the critical question. Understanding accident law, and the differences between ‘fault states’ and ‘no fault states’ can be critical to answering this question.
In a “fault” state, you must prove that a person who caused your injury was negligent and failed to exercise ordinary care. In a fault state, insurance companies pay according to the degree of fault. Individuals can receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering or physical, emotional, and mental injuries, and property damages.
When there is a disagreement about who is at fault, you should hire an accident attorney to protect your rights. Sometimes there are cases where more than one person is at fault. The lawyer them looks to comparative negligence. This means that the plaintiff can only sue for the percentage of damages that were not his or her fault. If the other party was 80 percent negligent and you were 20 percent negligent, the amount you receive is reduced in proportion to your contribution.
No Fault States
There are currently 12 “no fault” states: Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah. No fault state laws protect individuals and enable them to get money for their injuries sooner rather than later. Due to lengthy court battles, a plaintiff would wait to receive the compensation necessary for medical expenses and time off work. Under no fault laws, a person does not have to prove fault. Under the insurance companies’ personal injury provider policy (PIP), insurers must provide coverage. Although the upside is you do not have to wait for your money, the trade-off is that you cannot sue for pain and suffering, emotional distress, or inconvenience.
Under no fault, you can still sue for damages to your property, car, and its contents. You can also file a lawsuit when injuries reach a certain monetary or verbal threshold, determined by state law. For instance, if the dollar amount exceeds a certain level or if the injuries are so severe (disfigurement, loss of a body part, death, permanent disability), an individual may sue for bodily damages.
If You Have Been In a Recent Car Accident – Call Dennis and King
Whether you live in a fault or no-fault state, when you are in an accident, seek the counsel of a skilled accident attorney to ensure you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries from your insurance company or from another party. Contact Dennis and King today. They can provide advice and legal knowledgeable counsel when you are involved in an accident.