List of No-Fault States, No-Fault Insurance & What It Means for Drivers

No fault state cover photo

List of No-Fault States, No-Fault Insurance & What It Means for Drivers

As a driver, you know that car insurance is mandatory in almost every state. The laws across states, however, differ on the type of insurance you need to get. Below, we will cover what is no-fault insurance, which are the no-fault states, and what that means both for insurance companies and drivers.


What Is a No-Fault State

In the United States, car insurance laws fall under several categories — no-fault, choice no-fault, and add-on or tort liability. A no-fault state means that after an accident, each driver is required to file a claim with their own insurance carrier, regardless of who was responsible for the accident.


Verbal and Monetary Thresholds

States with no-fault insurance laws also affect a person’s ability to file a lawsuit for personal injury in a car accident. If the accident happened in a no-fault state, as the driver, you would only be able to sue the responsible driver if your injuries or medical expenses meet a certain threshold. There are two types of thresholds — verbal and monetary. A verbal threshold refers to the severity of the injury (e.g., visible disfigurement), and a monetary threshold means that your medical bills need to reach or exceed a certain amount before you can sue the other driver. You need to consult with your attorney to find out the respective thresholds in your state.


The “Choice No-Fault” Law

There are some states that have a sort of a “hybrid” system, known as the “choice no-fault” law. What this means for drivers in these states is that they can choose whether to get no-fault insurance coverage or a traditional liability-based policy.


An Updated List of No-Fault States

no fault map

Currently, there are ten states that follow the traditional “no-fault” insurance system, and there are a few that have a “choice no-fault” system. The no-fault states are:

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



In these states, anyone who gets injured in a car accident must first (and sometimes exclusively) turn to their own insurance company for compensation. There are some exceptions that may allow you to step outside of the no-fault rule, but they vary, and it is best to discuss your options with a personal injury attorney.


Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia follow a hybrid system (a.k.a. choice no-fault), which means that at the time of purchasing your car insurance policy, you can choose whether to get insured under no-fault or a traditional liability-based insurance system.


Other states, like Delaware and Texas, have add-on insurance laws. This means that insurance companies are required to offer no-fault coverage as an add-on to any car insurance policy. However, if there has been an accident, there are no limitations on the claimant’s options for holding the other driver financially responsible for the damages they have caused.


Keep in mind that while most no-fault coverage can let you claim lost income, medical expenses, and other financial losses (based on your policy limits), vehicle damage claims are usually not part of the no-fault scheme.



No-Fault Car Insurance: the Basics

The reasoning behind no-fault car insurance is simple — it tries to remove the traditional “third-party claim” process and speed things up in terms of getting compensation. The third-party claim process usually requires you to convince the other driver’s insurance company that their insured customer was at fault for the car accident and, thus, has to pay for it.


In most states, when you are injured in a car accident, you typically have the option to bring a compensation claim against the at-fault driver, and it is that driver’s insurance company that has to make the compensation payment.


Proving the other driver’s fault and gathering evidence, however, can be a lengthy and complicated process. In the end, the other driver’s insurance carrier can still deny the claim and force you to file a lawsuit. That is where living in a no-fault state can come in handy because no-fault car accident claims let you streamline the process and file a claim with your own insurance company. Your carrier will then pay compensation for certain financial losses based on your policy, regardless of who has caused the accident. You do not bear the burden of having to convince the insurance adjuster that you are not at fault for the accident.


Car Accident Lawsuits In No-Fault States

Although rare, it is still possible to file a car accident lawsuit against the at-fault driver and their insurance company. However, the claim must meet several thresholds required by state law, which we mentioned above (see Verbal and Monetary Thresholds).


If you have any questions about no-fault insurance, no-fault states, and getting compensation after a no-fault car accident, Legal Chiefs’ network of experienced attorneys is here to help!


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Auto Accident FAQ

Your first and foremost action following an accident is to stay calm, check if you or anyone else involved has been injured, and call the police. Get the name and contact information of all parties involved in the accident as well as any witnesses of the event. To document the damage, take pictures of the accident scene, the vehicles, and your injuries. It’s important not to admit liability until you hire an attorney because they will conduct a thorough investigation to establish the driver at fault.
Right after a car accident, you may feel fine, but injuries can surface days, weeks, and even months later. That’s why it’s good to see a doctor even if you don’t believe you were injured in the accident. Your doctor can recognize issues or injuries that won’t immediately become apparent to you and alert you to warning signs of injuries that may arise due to the accident. If you fail to treat your injuries within a certain period of time, you may forfeit your right to get reimbursement for future medical costs. The general rule is not to settle auto accident claims without having been examined by a medical professional.
In most cases, you won’t have to go to court. The majority of auto accident claims are resolved outside of court after negotiating the terms with the insurer. Most insurance companies generally try to settle claims as quickly as possible and for as little money as possible, so it’s wise to have an attorney negotiate on your behalf.
In addition to taking pictures of the accident scene and taking the contact information of the involved parties and witnesses, your detailed explanation of how the accident happened is also necessary to file a claim. Law enforcement reports of the accident will also serve as crucial evidence in your claim.
Many factors determine the driver at fault in an auto accident case. Do not accept any part of the blame until the investigation has concluded. Even if the investigation finds that you are partially at fault, you may still be entitled to receive compensation. There are cases when the victim also shares part of the blame for an accident. If, for example, you were driving five to ten mph over the speed limit when the accident happened, this would have limited your reaction time, and you could likely be considered a negligent driver even if you weren’t the one to cause the crash. Different states have different ways of settling auto accident claims where more than one driver is at fault. So it’s best to check the specific laws in your state (or the state where the accident took place) or discuss the matter with your auto accident injury lawyer.
It happens surprisingly often that people get into an auto accident where the driver at fault doesn’t have insurance. In these situations, it’s wise to have an auto insurance policy that comes with Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage. That way, if you get into an accident and the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, you will still be able to file your claim under the UM coverage you have with your own insurance company. Your insurer will then process the claim following the same process as it would for an opposing insurer. The only difference is that the claim will be against your UM coverage and not against another driver. Likewise, if you were involved in a hit-and-run accident where the responsible driver fled the scene before you could take their information, you can again seek compensation from your UM coverage.
Suppose you suffered injuries after an auto accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence. In that case, there are two main types of damages that you may seek compensation for: compensatory (a.k.a. monetary) and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are the most common type of damages in a personal injury claim, and they often include: ● Current and future medical bills ● Property damage ● Emotional duress ● Lost wages ● Loss of enjoyment of life ● Loss of future earnings potential On the other hand, punitive damages are much rarer, but they can occur in situations where the vehicle manufacturer is to blame.