There are lots of things that can go wrong when you’re on a road trip around the U.S., but a car accident is probably the biggest hassle and has the longest-lasting effects. Not only will you have to deal with repairs to your road trip vehicle, but you may also have physical injuries that you will need treatment for, potentially for months after the incident.
Whether you were the driver responsible for the accident or your car was hit by another driver who wasn’t following the law, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of car insurance laws and what might happen if you get into a car accident while driving in another state. Some states have no-fault laws for car insurance, which can be tricky to navigate if you don’t know what you’re dealing with, and you don’t have a no-fault defense attorney to guide you.
What Is No-Fault Law?
States with no-fault auto insurance law require every driver to have auto insurance, and some states also require a minimum for no-fault liability coverage. In New York, for example, the minimum is $50,000. All drivers involved in a car accident must file a claim with their insurance company after the accident, whether they were responsible or not. Some states also require drivers to purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) with their auto insurance. PIP is coverage for medical expenses for treatment of injuries sustained in a car accident, and sometimes includes compensation for wages you lost while recovering from your injuries.
States With No-Fault Law
There are twelve states with no-fault auto insurance laws in place:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
What Does No-Fault Auto Insurance Cover?
When you have a car accident in a state with no-fault law, both drivers file a claim with their own insurance provider to cover vehicle damage and repairs and medical and hospital bills for drivers and passengers. Some insurance plans will also cover additional expenses that you might incur if you have personal injuries, including:
- Healthcare expenses that go over your health insurance limits
- Health insurance deductible(s)
- Lost wages as a result of taking time off to recover from your injuries
- Reimbursement for essential services like cleaning or child care
- Funeral or mortuary expenses
Why Should I Work With a No-Fault Defense Attorney?
A no-fault defense attorney can help guide you through the process if you need to file a lawsuit because the no-fault liability coverage does not take care of all of the expenses related to the accident. The attorney can provide crucial legal advice to help you:
- Find out if you have a case
- Move your case along faster (which is essential if you have internal injuries that you didn’t know about when the accident occurred)
- Estimate medical expenses that you might have in the future
- Suggest whether to settle or file a legal claim depending on your situation
- Navigate the legal process of a lawsuit
How to Avoid a Road Trip Car Accident
While some car accidents will be beyond your control, there are some things you can do to prevent one from happening by driving safely and making sure your road trip vehicle is as safe as possible:
- Get your car serviced before the trip, and pack a roadside emergency kit just in case
- Plan your route before you go
- Get plenty of sleep before you hit the road (avoid nighttime driving and change drivers every few hours for longer trips)
- Make sure your luggage is secure on top of and within the vehicle
- Drive safely, follow the speed limit and obey traffic laws
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