In most states, car accident victims can sue the at-fault driver for damages such as property damage, medical costs, pain and suffering, and wrongful death. However, in no-fault states, the law is slightly different. Drivers in no-fault states carry no-fault insurance. Therefore, if you get injured in an accident, your insurance company should pay for the damages. However, sometimes you can sue the at-fault driver and recover damages. Below are some factors that determine the success of your lawsuit.
Nature of Your Insurance Policy
Most no-fault states offer two types of auto insurance: choice no-fault and at-fault policies. Drivers who carry a choice no-fault policy receive compensation from their insurers, regardless of who caused the accident. Drivers who have at-fault or liability-based policies can sue the liable party for damages. Thus, check your policy to determine the implication of the terms to your car accident claim.
Severity of the Injuries
In a typical no-fault state, your insurance company should pay for personal injury claims resulting from a car accident. Thus, the insurance firm should cover the treatment for your injuries. However, your insurance will only pay up to your cover's limit. If the injuries suffered are too severe, you can sue the at-fault driver for the resulting damages. Some forms of severe injuries include:
- Severe bone fracture
- Permanent failure of certain body parts and organs
- Permanent limitation of certain body functions
For example, if one suffers severe spinal injuries and becomes disabled, they can sue for damages. You can even recover additional damages such as pain and suffering, and lost income. However, for your suit to be successful, you need to prove that the other driver was liable for the accident. Any form of liability on your part can reduce the compensation amount or hurt your suit.
States have different limits for the mandatory no-fault insurance cover. For example, in Florida, a mandatory personal injury protection (PIP) cover pays up to $10,000 for injuries resulting from an accident. If your damages exceed the PIP limit in your state, you can sue the at-fault party for your medical expenses. This is also the case if you had passengers who were injured in the car crash.
After the accident, it's paramount to seek medical attention immediately. Ask your doctor to document all treatments and assessments. Note any delayed symptoms that may materialize after the filing of the suit. Once you receive compensation, it may be hard to sue for additional medical expenses.
Filing personal injury lawsuits in no-fault states can be confusing. A car accident attorney can help you understand the law and how it applies to your claim.