The financial costs related to auto accidents in America are staggering. In fact, the American Automobile Association (AAA) recently released a report stating that these accidents cost the U.S. $164.2 billion every single year. It should be noted, however, that the financial implications for those involved are also serious. Unfortunately, those living in no-fault insurance states see these effects even more than others throughout the country. This is why individuals living in these states should understand the financial effects that no-fault laws can have on their auto accident claims.
1. Lower Settlements
Unfortunately, no-fault insurance laws have a very high potential of resulting in lowered settlements. This is because, in no-fault states, policyholders traditionally can only recover from their own insurer. In these instances, the ability to recover compensation other than traditional special damages becomes more difficult, and this can greatly reduce the settlement that the person would otherwise get if they were in a traditional tort state.
2. Potential for Wrongful Death Cases
It's an unfortunate truth, but various studies have found that no-fault insurance laws may actually increase the number of fatal accidents in a state. One recent case in Florida, one of America's no-fault states, ended in the death of a young woman. While it's tragic that the young woman died in the accident, a car accident lawyer in West Palm Beach will likely be able to bring forward a claim for additional damages against the other driver's insurer; and this is usually the case in all no-fault states.
3. Keeps Minor Accidents out of Court
One of the main effects, and the one most intended by the passage of no-fault insurance laws, is that of keeping minor accidents out of the courtroom. In other states, a fender bender that leads to a minor injury could end up in front of a judge, and unfortunately, these court costs could actually take away from the compensation that an individual receives. This means that, when it comes to non-serious collisions, no-fault laws may save everyone money.
4. Disallow Torts based on Medical Bills
In some states, known as quantitative threshold states, whether or not an injured individual can bring forward an additional tort case against a negligent driver will be based on their medical bills. If a state's set threshold is $20,000, for instance, a person will only be able to sue for damages such as pain and suffering if their medical bills exceed that amount. If they fall under this financial threshold, it may not be possible to receive additional compensation.
5. Additional Compensation only for Specific Injuries
In contrast to quantitative threshold states, other no-fault states, known as qualitative no-fault states, base a person's ability to recover compensation from sources other than their own insurer on the severity of their injuries. In most cases, these injuries must be extreme instances such as permanent disfigurement, disability or death. These requirements can vary, however, so a person should seek out legal assistance if they hope to recover a fair settlement and avoid financial difficulties in the future.
Auto accident claims are costly however they're looked at, but for those in no-fault states, the financial implications can be life changing. Luckily, those residing in these states can still recover substantial compensation for general damages such as pain and suffering and loss of companionship. Whether it is a car accident lawyer in West Palm Beach or New York City, both in no-fault states, the complexity of these laws definitely make this a bit more difficult than in traditional tort states, but with the right legal help, gaining a fair settlement is nowhere near impossible.