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Car accidents and Personal Injury

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates there are over two million people injured each year in traffic accidents. With those statistics, whether it is from driver’s poor decisions or unsafe road conditions, it is likely most of us will be involved in some type of car accident in our lifetime.

If you are involved in a car accident, which is the result of another person’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. Talk to a car accident injury lawyer if you have questions about your options.

Filing a Car Accident Claim

If you are injured due to the negligent actions of another driver you may or may not be able to seek compensation from the other driver.

Whether or not you can file a claim will depend on your state’s laws, whether you filed a claim within the statute of limitations, and in some states, the threshold (either monetary or severity) of your injuries.

Fault-Based Car Accident States

State car accident laws vary by state. Some states have a tort liability system, which is fault-based. Under the fault-based system each party will pay for the damages according to their degree of fault.

If you have a disagreement about fault and do not feel like you are fully compensated for your injuries following an accident you have the legal right to file a car accident claim and try to recover damages for your lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.

No-Fault Car Accident States

Certain states, in an attempt to avoid costly legal battles, have replaced their tort based system with a no-fault system.

Under the no-fault system, regardless of who is responsible for the car accident, each driver’s insurance company pays for the loss or injury, including payments for medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages.

Under the no-fault system, however, there are trade-offs. Each driver, after they have received compensation for their losses, is generally barred from suing the other driver for injuries or loss such as pain and suffering.

Currently, there are 12 states which use the no-fault based system including Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah.

Can I ever sue if a No-Fault State?

If you live in a no-fault state you may be able to sue for injuries, but the laws vary.

For instance, in some states you may be allowed to sue if your medical expenses exceed a certain amount. In other states you are only allowed to sue if your injuries reach a certain level of severity (i.e. you have suffered a permanent injury or severe disfigurement). Other states allow the injured to file a claim if either of these thresholds or met.

And if that were not complicated enough, other states, such as Arkansas, Delaware, Washington D.C., and Maryland, allow drivers to purchase additional Add-On Coverage. Under this policy drivers may purchase personal injury protection as an optional coverage, giving them the right to sue for pain and suffering.

If you have questions about your state’s car accident laws contract your insurance company or a personal injury lawyer.

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