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What is the Difference Between Tort and No-Fault Auto Insurance?

The vast majority of U.S. motorists carry at least minimal auto insurance, as it is required by law in most states. However, a large number of people aren’t totally familiar with some of the smaller details in their policy, or their state’s laws regarding auto insurance in general. One important topic claimants should know is whether their state enforces no-fault or tort laws for auto accident claims. 

Before we discuss the differences for each, we should note that elite auto accident attorneys from Van Law Firm are standing by to answer any questions you may have regarding insurances or the claim process. With tens of millions recovered to date, you won’t want to go anywhere else–call our office nearest you to schedule a free consultation today. 

The Difference Between No-Fault and Tort Laws for Auto Insurance Claims 

Every state in the U.S. enforces either no-fault or tort laws when adjudicating auto insurance claims, and the two systems couldn’t be more different. Essentially, these systems determine how claimants can go about recovering compensation after an accident, and from whom. In a no-fault state, claimants can only recover compensation from their own insurance company, regardless of who was responsible for an accident. By comparison, tort states allow claimants to collect reimbursement directly from the liable party’s insurance.  

There are a total of twelve no-fault states in the U.S., and drivers in these states are largely responsible for their own expenses and repairs in the event of an accident. This presents its own set of benefits and drawbacks; on one hand, it simplifies the process because everyone goes through their own insurer, but it’s usually more expensive as drivers often have to carry additional coverage in order to prepare for these scenarios. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage and MedPay are two such provisions that help claimants pay for these expenses. It is heavily recommended for those who live in no-fault states to carry as much coverage as they can afford. 

Tort laws are meant to compensate accident victims for the negligence of others, so states that abide by these laws allow claimants to recover compensation directly from the liable party (or parties). Therefore, determining the liability for an accident is extremely important in these states, as that determines how the insurance process will play out. Most tort states also enforce some kind of comparative fault laws, meaning that liability can be apportioned to all parties on a percentage basis. If you are more than 50 percent liable for an accident in a tort state, you likely won’t be able to recover any compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance, and you will have to try your luck with your own. 

Hit-and-run accidents are also very important for both systems. In no-fault states, drivers can collect compensation like normal, but in tort states it’s a little more difficult because there isn’t a liable party to claim against. Instead, tort state claimants have to rely on uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage to collect compensation in a hit-and-run scenario, and if they do not carry this coverage, they will likely have no option but to pay costs out of pocket. 

Questions About Your Policy? Contact Van Law Firm’s Experienced Attorneys Today 

If you have further questions about the details of your policy, or would like to speak with a trusted car accident attorney about a potential claim, simply contact the award-winning legal team from Van Law Firm as soon as you can. We can help you recover the compensation you need to get back on your feet–call our location nearest you today to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation and case review.