What does that mean to be in a no-fault state?
In general, auto insurance laws in the United States fall into one of two categories: traditional negligence and no fault. The vast majority of states fall into the traditional negligence category.
Traditional Negligence StatesIn a traditional negligence state, if you are injured in a car accident, you must convince the other driver's insurance company that its own insured was at fault for the car accident. Only then can you collect any damages for your injuries.
Proving the other driver's fault to the insurance company can be a long and complicated process involving the submission of police reports, witness statements, photographs, and any other information or documentation the insurance company may require. Even after all of that, the other driver's insurance company may still deny the claim, forcing you to file a lawsuit.
No-Fault StatesBecause pursuing an insurance claim in that manner can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor, several states have changed their automobile insurance systems and instituted "No-Fault" insurance coverage.
In no-fault state, if you are injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of another driver, rather than submitting your claim to the negligent driver's insurance company, you submit your claim to your own insurance company. Your insurance company then pays damages to you for the injuries you suffered in the car accident, regardless of who was legally responsible for causing the car accident. Certainly, there are instances where recovery from the at-fault driver's insurance company can occur, but this is the exception, not the rule.
But the other side of the coin is that in a no-fault claim, you're limited in the kinds of compensation you can collect. If you've suffered losses that amount to more than $10,000 or if your injuries qualify as "serious," as discussed below, you can step outside of the no-fault system and file a liability claim or personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.