Assignment of responsibility for compensation for injuries in a car accident depends on the laws of the state where the accident happens. In a no-fault insurance state, neither driver in an accident is considered responsible and each driver submits a claim to his or her own insurance company. Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and some other states all have some form of no-fault insurance laws. No-fault insurance is difficult to understand and the law is different in each state that offers this insurance. If you have been in an accident, it is important that you consult a personal injury lawyer with experience in motor vehicle accidents to discuss your state's laws and how they may affect your right to be compensated for your injuries and vehicle damage.
A No-Fault Insurance System
Any vehicle insurance system that requires all drivers to purchase insurance for their own injuries and limits a driver's ability to sue another driver is a "no-fault" insurance system. If you are involved in an accident under a no-fault insurance system, it doesn't matter who was responsible for the accident, your insurance company will compensate you for you injuries, up to your coverage limit. Other drivers involved in the accident will be compensated by their own insurance companies.
Under a one-hundred percent no-fault insurance system, drivers would be completely compensated for injuries by their own insurance companies and no driver could ever sue another driver. Currently, however, no states use a 100% no-fault system. States that use no-fault insurance policy systems use a blend of no-fault systems and standard systems, where the responsible person pays for compensation for injuries. All of these states permit lawsuits in some situations.
The requirements for the type and amount of no-fault insurance vary from state to state. Some states allow an injured person to sue if their injuries are severe, while lawsuits depend on the total dollar amount of the injuries in other states. In many modified no-fault systems, insurance companies compensate the injured person for economic damages to the insurance policy limit, but the injured person can sue for non-economic damages greater than a certain amount. Economic damages are tangible costs, such as medical costs and wages lost because of time away from work. Non-economic damages are more intangible and may include consequences such as loss of enjoyment of life and serious, permanent scarring or disfigurement. The amount of non-economic damage that must be suffered before an injured person can sue differs from state to state. If you have been in an accident in any no-fault state, it is important to consult with a personal injury lawyer experienced in motor vehicle accidents to examine your state law.
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To be compensated under uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance, the injured party has to prove that (1) he or she endured significant injuries and (2) the other driver was responsible for the accident. If the accident was with an underinsured driver, the injured party must also collect the maximum amount allowed under the other driver's insurance policy before the injured party can collect the rest of the injury compensation from his or her own insurance company.
Uninsured or Underinsured Drivers Conclusion
If you are injured in an accident with a driver who doesn't have insurance or doesn't have enough insurance, uninsured or underinsured motorists insurance may cover your injuries. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer if you have been in an accident and do not settle with the other driver's insurance company. Some insurance companies are not required to pay under your underinsured motorist insurance policy if you have already settled with the other driver's insurance company. Your lawyer can provide you with all of the information and assistance you need to get the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries.