fbpx Skip to content
Map of the US - No fault insurance | Article | McKay Law

How Do “No Fault” Laws Affect Your Personal Injury Case?

Table of Contents

If your state law uses the no-fault system for car accident cases, your options for a personal injury claim may be limited.

Make the most of your claim. 

Please answer a few questions to help us match you with attorneys in your area.

Was a police report filed?

No-fault laws will affect the procedure and potential outcome of any personal injury case arising from an auto accident, if you live in a no-fault state. Your potential sources for recovery of damages will likely be limited by statute, and your ability to bring a lawsuit is restricted as well. In this article, we’ll look at the impact of no-fault laws on personal injury cases.

No-Fault Law Limits Potential Sources of Recovery

No-fault laws — currently in effect in about a dozen states — severely limit potential sources of financial recovery after an auto accident.

Which Are “No-Fault” States?

The following states currently use the no-fault system for car accident claims. In every other state, you would make your personal injury claim against the negligent driver.

District of Columbia
Florida
Hawaii
Kansas
Kentucky
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
New Jersey
New York
North Dakota
Pennsylvania
Utah

The guiding principle of no-fault law is that all drivers are required by law to insure themselves against potential injuries and damages caused by an  auto accident. As a result, if you have been injured in an auto accident in a no-fault state, your first and legally preferred source of recovery is your own insurance company. Only if certain statutorily specified conditions are met, may you file suit against another party in an attempt to recover damages.

Whether you have been injured in an auto accident or simply sustained damage to your vehicle, no-fault law requires that you first collect from your own insurance company through a “Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claim”. One minor exception to this rule comes in the form of “mini-tort” statutes. A “mini-tort” claim is a statutorily defined claim that is paid by the other driver’s no-fault carrier. The amount of a mini-tort claim payable under the law usually falls somewhere between $500 and $1,000.00. Your insurance company will likely require you to file a mini-tort claim as a matter of course, even if your damages exceed the mini-tort amount. Often, the mini-tort proceeds are then deducted from any payout your insurance company makes.

No-fault laws are designed to reduce the number of auto negligence suits filed in state court. By statutorily mandating payouts, requiring insurance and placing restrictive conditions on your ability to file suit, courts are not inundated with auto negligence claims. Non-economic damages are not allowable in  no-fault claims, which is a major reason why insurance companies support such legislation. Only in the most serious and life-altering cases can you bring suit and collect non-economic damages. You’re effectively limited to recovery for your economic damages — documented repair and replacement costs, medical expenses, and lost wages.

The No-Fault Threshold Can Expand Sources of Recovery

All no-fault states have instituted a “threshold” for bringing suit in an auto negligence action. In Michigan, for example, an injury that constitutes a serious impairment of bodily function can give rise to an auto negligence suit, and open up the possibility for non-economic damage recovery (including  pain and suffering damages). However, if your injury is not deemed a “serious impairment” under the law, your case will be dismissed.

Other states have instituted an economic threshold for bringing suit. They cap the amount of money your insurance company is obligated to pay, and if your economic damages exceed (or most likely will exceed) the cap, you may file suit to recover from another party. Economic thresholds are far easier to analyze and estimate than physical injury thresholds.

No-Fault Laws Can Expedite Recovery

While no-fault laws are restrictive, they do serve a purpose. If you sustain minor injuries or simply total your vehicle with no injury at all, you are covered by your own insurance. An insurance claim is usually far less adversarial than a lawsuit. And the turnaround time for payment of your claim is much faster than it would be with the court system involved. Insurance companies may dispute certain aspects of your claim — indeed, it is not unheard of for injured parties to sue their own insurance companies for payment of no-fault benefits — but by and large the system works well, especially for recovery after a minor car accident.

About McKay Law

Caleb Moore
Caleb Moore
Read More
This business does truly care about their clients and their needs! They have an amazing staff, and are one of the best places in the area for sure!
Amy Patterson
Amy Patterson
Read More
McKay Law and Attorney Lindsay McKay were extremely prompt with in helping me with my wreck! She is very knowledgeable of the law!
Alexandra Serrano
Alexandra Serrano
Read More
She, was very helpful she gonna fights for your right !!! Awesome lawyer and company’s 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻
Carmen Montoya
Carmen Montoya
Read More
Lindsey and her team were very professional! I am so thankful to have had them work on my case.
Jenny Wakeland
Jenny Wakeland
Read More
Mrs. McKay treats her employees well. She is knowledgeable, professional and trustworthy. She truly cares about her clients.
Cobbie Johnson
Cobbie Johnson
Read More
Very professional greatest law firm I’ve ever worked with.

Why McKay Law?

Lindsey McKay | Sulphur Springs Personal Injury Lawyer | McKay Law – Legally Bold
McKay Law | Legally Bold | Personal Injury Lawyer

Passion For Justice – Compassion For Clients

Compassion. Confidence. Commitment.

$500+

Millions in recoveries for our clients.

10,000 +

More than 10,000 cases closed and settled for our clients.

20 +

20+ years of combined experience with of counsel addition.

Reasons to Hire
McKay Law

VIP / White Glove Service | Reasons to Hire McKay Law

VIP / White Glove Service

We are Available 24/7 - We take care of our client’s needs – whatever they may be – and advise and instruct from beginning to end.

We Care | Reasons to Hire McKay Law

We Care

We hope to change your life and your situation and turn something tragic into something better. No issue is too tiny for us to consider or too big for us to tackle.

We Listen to Learn Your Story | Reasons to Hire McKay Law

We Listen to Learn Your Story

Injuries, pain, stress of life, the case, finances – We want to know you and be the voice to tell your story and MAXIMIZE results.

Any Legal Issue | Reasons to Hire McKay Law

Any Legal Issue

We are legally bold to help you. If we can’t address, we know the best.

Maximize Case Value | Reasons to Hire McKay Law

Maximize Case Value

We will ensure we get you the most money possible.

No Fee Unless We Win | Reasons to Hire McKay Law

No Fee

Unless we win and also NO FEE for handling property damage.

Over 40 Years of Service | Reasons to Hire McKay Law

20+ Years of Combined Experience

We have a long line of success and a team that has worked together for decades and has perfected and streamlined the process; making something stressful and painful as seamless and easy as possible.

Dedicated Nurse to Guide You | McKay Law

Dedicated Nurse to Guide Medical Treatment

McKay Law has an in-house specialist guiding our personal injury clients on medical treatment. Read more about our Texas Nursing Board Certified Nurse and How We Assist.

Accident & Injury Lawyers

No Fees Unless We Win.

We Listen to Our Clients.

We are dedicated trial attorneys with the experience and drive to get maximum compensation for our clients. We handle personal injury cases that involve the following matters: drunk driving accidents, nursing home negligence, uninsured or underinsured motorists, motor vehicle accidents, sexual abuse, product liability, auto defects, animal bites, work-related injuries, medical negligence and fatalities.
1 Step 1

Free Consultation 24/7

You may be owed money. 

Call our Personal Injury Lawyer now: (903) 999-2653 or use the form below. You can also calculate your total damages for settlements.

keyboard_arrow_leftPrevious
Nextkeyboard_arrow_right
FormCraft - WordPress form builder