What does a “no fault” or “fault” state mean?
Fault and no-fault are different ways of dealing with auto accident claims. Most states in the United States, including Texas, are fault states. This means that when an auto accident occurs, the claim is paid by the negligent driver’s insurance.
In no-fault states, of which there are 13 in the U.S., each driver’s insurance simply pays for their own claim, regardless of who was at fault. The no-fault laws are designed to minimize auto insurance cases in the courts and help people get an insurance payout quickly with less negotiating. However, those payouts are generally more limited than they are in states that allow fault to be determined.
No-fault insurance provides for medical bills and lost income only—and even then, your limits for recovery are fairly low. Unlike winning a settlement or personal injury judgment, you do not have the ability to get compensation for pain and suffering or emotional distress. In many of these no-fault states, you can buy additional PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage to allow you access to extra funds in the event that you are in an accident and suffer more loss than you are entitled to under the standard coverage.
Some no-fault states give those injured in car accidents the ability to file a claim against the responsible party in an accident if their claim meets certain criteria. These criteria differ by state, but might include a monetary threshold, an injury level, or both. These states allow you to seek additional compensation only if your accident costs you a certain amount of damage or loss.
Robert Greening is the principal attorney at Greening Law, P.C. He has dedicated his 24 years of practice to the litigation of wrongful death and serious injury cases. If you have a question about a recall or injury, contact Greening Law, P.C. at 972-934-8900.