No-Fault vs. At-Fault States: What Is the Difference for Car Accident Cases?

No-Fault vs. At-Fault States: What Is the Difference for Car Accident Cases?

Car insurance is meant to protect you financially in the event of an accident. However, the claims process will vary depending on the fault laws in the state.

Some states use a no-fault system, while others use an at-fault system. Here’s what to know about each type to help you navigate the complex claims process.

What Happens with Accidents in No-Fault States?

Despite the name “no-fault” insurance, it does not mean that no one is at fault. States that use a no-fault insurance policy system refer to the injuries in these crashes. In a no-fault state, drivers are still liable for any property damage they cause if they hit another vehicle or structure.

When an accident happens in a no-fault state, each driver’s insurance company will pay for their policyholder’s medical expenses through PIP coverage. This will be paid regardless of who caused the crash. The driver deemed liable for the crash will be responsible for compensating the other driver for the repairs through property damage liability coverage.

What Happens with Accidents in At-Fault States?

For drivers in at-fault states, the driver who caused the accident is responsible for the other person’s injuries and property damage. These claims take longer to process because the insurance companies must prove liability to know which driver’s insurance company will be liable for covering the injuries and damages.

Illinois is one of the states where at-fault drivers are responsible for covering the damages of the other party. Every motorist is legally required to have auto liability insurance and must have the minimum coverage amounts.

This includes $25,000 in liability coverage, $50,000 in total accident coverage, and $20,000 for property damage liability. Failing to have the minimum insurance coverage in Illinois may result in a fine of up to $10,000 and the suspension of your license.

For uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, it needs to match your liability coverage limits. If your vehicle is hit by a driver without insurance, this coverage will keep you protected. You can also choose to buy more insurance coverage beyond the minimum requirements. This can help injury victims as they are only eligible to receive compensation up to the policy limits of the at-fault driver.

In other words, if your damages exceed these limits, you might not get a settlement that is enough to cover all the expenses you’ve incurred from the crash. The best course of action in this situation would be to file a personal injury claim and utilize the extensive experience of a car accident attorney.

Negligence in an Illinois Car Crash

In some accidents, it’s crystal clear who was at fault. Perhaps you were waiting at a red light when the car behind you crashed into your vehicle. However, there are other situations where it is hard to tell which driver was at fault. Sometimes, both drivers are partially at-fault, and the insurance companies will look at the level of negligence of each driver before determining a settlement.

The state of Illinois has adopted modified comparative negligence. This means that an accident injury victim can only recover damages if they are less than 50% at fault. This means you can seek compensation for your losses up to the percentage of your fault in the crash.

For example, if the other driver was assigned 80% of the fault and you are determined to have 20% of the fault, you are still entitled to collecting compensation. But since you were partially at fault, you will only collect 80% of the total amount. If the damages were $100,000, this would mean you’d only get $80,000.

Why You Should Hire a Car Accident Attorney

Even if $80,000 sounds pretty good to you, you will need to consider how much you lost in the accident. Your medical bills, lost wages, future earnings, future medical treatments, pain and suffering, and mental anguish all need to be calculated to determine the full extent of your damages.

Car accident attorneys know insurance companies will attempt to assign some or all of the blame to accident victims to reduce the payout. They also know that most car crash victims accept the first offer only to realize later they did not get enough to cover all of their losses from the accident.

At-fault insurance states present greater legal complexities than most people can handle. Speak with an attorney today to find out how you can get the maximum compensation you deserve.

Source: Mountain States Injury Law, Auto insurance lawyers in Colorado, Montana and Idaho

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