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At-Fault vs. No-Fault: What Does it Mean for Your Case?

In personal injury law, particularly in cases of vehicle collisions, negligence is considered either on an “at-fault” or “no-fault” basis. Each state has their own laws regarding these definitions of negligence, and constructs their post-accident procedures around whichever philosophy is in place.

Negligence laws, whether in an at-fault or no-fault state, define what level of proof is needed to successfully recover compensation for an injury. Depending on the laws that are in place in a state where an accident occurs, the processes for filing a claim and the compensation each involved party can potentially receive will differ.

No-Fault States

In a no-fault state, negligence does not have to be proven because each drivers’ auto insurance policy compensates for their own injuries in the event of an accident. To receive benefits in a no-fault state, drivers need to file a claim with their own insurance provider. The expenses that are covered vary between states and different insurance companies.

The following states have no-fault negligence laws in place:

  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Utah

At-Fault States

Every other state that is not listed above (including Oklahoma) is an at-fault state, or gives injury victims the right to assign fault in their case if they wish to pursue legal action against the responsible party. In an at-fault state, the compensation that is received by injury victims depends on the degree of fault that can be assigned to each person involved in the accident.

Some states (Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia, and well as D.C.) follow pure contributory negligence laws, meaning a person with any degree of fault in an accident is not eligible for compensation. The remaining states have comparative fault laws in place, and either deny compensation to people who are mostly responsible for an accident (modified comparative fault), or reduce benefits based on each person’s liability (pure comparative fault).

States that Do Not Strictly Adhere to At-Fault or No-Fault Policies

Three states — Kentucky, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania — allow for the option either to file a claim with the driver’s own insurance, or sue another driver after an accident and follow at-fault procedures. Residents in these states are able to choose the type of insurance coverage they want.

Regardless of the negligence laws in your state, experienced legal counsel is an essential resource in the aftermath of an accident. Contact The Law Office of Michael R. Green, PLLC for the knowledge and representation you need following an injury.

Schedule a free consultation with our attorney by calling (918) 201-1810, or use our message form to reach out.
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