Exploring No-Fault State Laws and How They Affect Personal Injury Cases

When two or more vehicles are involved in an accident, it can be challenging to determine who was responsible for the incident.  

However, establishing fault is essential to insurance claims, and because each state has its laws, it pays to know “What does no-fault state mean” and who pays for car damage in a no-fault state? 

whatdoes no fault state mean

At Fault Vs. No-Fault State Accidents 

What is the meaning of a no-fault state? What is the difference between no-fault and fault state accidents? People have many questions about no-fault incidents and usually want to know what happens after the event.  

In no-fault states, the driver’s personal injury protection (PIP) coverage pays out after a car accident for lost wages and medical expenses, regardless of fault. However, despite what many believe in, a no-fault state doesn’t mean that no one is liable for the accident. Drivers still carry liability insurance and cover expenses they cause to others if they are responsible for the undesirable event.  

Washington is not a no-fault state. It is a comparative fault state, which means the responsibility of the parties involved in the accident is essential when determining damage compensation. Only 12 U.S. states require no-fault insurance, including: 

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

Who Pays for Car Damage in a No-Fault State 

In a fault state, the driver’s property damage liability covers the car repair expenses while bodily injury liability insurance pays for the medical costs. In a no-fault state, blame is still assigned, and the main difference is who pays for the medical expenses. 

All drivers should carry Personal Injury Protection Insurance coverage. It will significantly increase auto insurance costs and is one of the reasons why insurance in no-fault states is more expensive than in fault states. 

How No-Fault Car Insurance Works 

Now that you have the answer to the question “What is a no-fault state,” it is time to understand the purpose of this type of insurance and how it works. The primary purpose of no-fault insurance is to save money and time (often involved in lawsuits). Claims processes and lawsuits usually cause high expenses for both parties and delay the settlement.  

In no-fault states, personal injury protection insurance pays out immediately, regardless of who is responsible for the car accident. Therefore, the likelihood of one party suing the other is lower. 

So, what should one do after a car crash? Well, the first step is to make sure everyone is safe. Then, you should: 

Notify Your Insurance Company of the Accident  

The next thing you should do is inform your insurance agent about the incident. If you are conversing with the other side, you will want to stay mindful of liability and avoid making statements about accountability. 

Explain What Happened to the Insurance Adjuster  

During the phone call or meeting with your insurance adjuster, explain what happened and share as many details as possible. If you can, write down any vital information from the accidents to be accurate when sharing the details with your insurance company. 

Provide Medical Records to Support Your Injury Claim 

In the case of an injury, keep the bills and medical records from the hospital or physical therapy clinic. It is essential to provide proof of your injury to support your claim.

Submit Proof of Related Expenses 

Once you file a claim, the insurance company will send an appraiser to determine the damage. At this point, it is necessary to submit proof of related expenses to justify costs incurred, including car repair, emotional distress, and more. 

Negotiate Your Settlement 

If you are involved in a car accident, and it resulted in injuries and car damage, you might want to discuss your situation with an experienced lawyer to better understand your options. 

What Damage Does No-Fault Insurance Cover?

In auto insurance law, in any country, negligence means fault. So, if you were the party responsible for the accident, your insurance would pay out based on which coverage plan you have. But in a no-fault accident, who pays? And what damage does no-fault insurance cover?

It all depends on how much and what kind of insurance you have. In a no-fault state, a basic insurance plan should cover the following:

  •     Medical bills
  •     Out-of-pocket expenses
  •     Lost wages 
  •     Funeral expenses


If you happen to be a part of a car accident in Washington, it is never too soon to get an attorney.  

Call Coluccio Law at 206-594-5185 to speak with one of our attorneys at no cost. We serve Seattle, WA, and the surrounding areas and will help guide you through the legal process. We can help you answer these questions today: “Who pays for car damage in a no-fault state” and “Do no-fault claims affect insurance?” 

Recommended Article: How Long After Car Accident Can You Claim Injury

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