No-Fault Laws and Personal Injury Lawsuits: Can You File a Lawsuit in a No-Fault State?

If you were in a car accident and are contemplating a personal injury lawsuit -or in the process of filing one -you know how lengthy and stressful it is. Couple the stress of a personal injury lawsuit with trying to recover, and you almost certainly will need professional help from a lawyer.

Car accident victims in New York face another challenge, too. No-fault laws make personal injury lawsuits even more complicated.

New Yorkers should consult with legal counsel if they’re unsure if they can file a personal injury lawsuit or not.

What Are No-Fault Laws?

No-fault laws apply in twelve states: Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah, plus the District of Columbia. The laws help prevent personal injury lawsuits by requiring drivers to have personal injury protection (PIP) as part of their vehicle insurance policy.

How Do No-Fault Laws Affect Your Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Accident victims in no-fault states must use PIP coverage to file a claim with your insurance company. The insurance company then reimburses you for medical costs up to a certain threshold. Does that mean you can’t file a lawsuit against someone who caused an accident?

No.

However, it does make it more difficult.Because no-fault laws intentionally restrict your ability to file a personal injury lawsuit after an accident, there are stricter regulations for suing the other driver. Even if you’re seriously injured and incur high medical bills—usually severalthousand dollars—you still have to meet other criteria.

When Can You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

If your injury results in any of the following, you’re more likely to be able to file against the other person, as opposed to only getting reimbursed by your insurance company:

  • Broken bone
  • Disfigurement
  • Permanent limitation of organ or limb use
  • Significant body function limitation
  • Disability lasting 90 days or more

If you think you meet these criteria, seek legal support. A personal injury lawyer can guide you through the process of compiling a lawsuit and gathering evidence. They can also help you get reimbursement for any medical costs your insurance may not cover.