If you're a licensed driver in one of the 12 states (or Puerto Rico) with no-fault auto insurance laws, you may enjoy the assurance that comes with paying a slightly higher auto premium but with the knowledge your rates are unlikely to skyrocket after a fender bender. However, in some cases, you may find yourself facing a summons to appear in court if you're sued for injuries or other damages suffered during an auto accident for which you were responsible. Under what circumstances can you be personally sued after an accident in a no-fault state? Read on to learn more about your potential liability when you're technically at fault for an accident.
When can you be sued in a no-fault insurance state?
In no-fault auto insurance states, each policyholder's own policy pays for "economic damages" incurred following an accident. These damages include medical expenses and lost wages for those forced to spend time out of work. While this often means slightly higher premiums than those paid by careful drivers in fault states, it also means that you don't need to be worried about what will happen if you're hit by an uninsured driver or one whose insurance policy has ultra-low coverage limits that won't provide the financial protection you need.
However, if the injured person's insurance limits are quickly exceeded by the magnitude of his or her medical costs, or if you were clearly negligent in your actions leading up to the accident (for example, if you were drinking and driving or going far in excess of the speed limit), you may be held personally responsible for expenses not covered by insurance or punitive damages imposed by a trial court due to your reckless or negligent behavior. If this is the situation, you may be held "at fault" in a no-fault state.
What should you do if you find yourself facing a lawsuit in a no-fault state?
In most cases in "fault" insurance states, your auto insurance policy should help handle any lawsuit on your behalf. However, in a no-fault state, your insurance policy may not provide as much assistance with the legal process as it has no vested interest in the outcome of the case. You'll want to consult an experienced personal injury attorney like one from Knochel Law who can help you vigorously defend yourself against the allegations levied by the other driver and either help settle the case for less than you'd be assessed at trial or fight against the plaintiff's claims in court.Share
21 March 2016
Over the years, I have learned several lessons the most difficult ways possible. One lesson that I have learned is to never try to handle legal issues without legal representation working with you. I have faced fines and penalties that could have been greatly reduced had I hired an attorney to represent me in court. This blog will show you several ways you could benefit from paying for the legal fees associated with hiring an attorney anytime a legal issue may arise. You will also find examples of how things can go terribly wrong if you don't hire an attorney.