After a car crash, it can be intimidating enough trying to handle everything with your insurance company; what’s even more of a hassle for many people is dealing with the insurance company of someone else who was also involved in the accident. Whether or not you’ll have to do this depends primarily on whether you live in a no-fault state, as no-fault states eliminate much of the need to engage with other drivers’ insurance companies.
Collect Information at the Scene of the Crash
When you are still at the scene of the wreck (after you move to safety), you’ll need to collect the other driver’s:
- Insurance company
- Policy information
- Contact information from witnesses
- Photos, if possible
It’s possible that your insurance company offers a mobile app to help you document a wreck at the scene. Major companies also include automobile collision checklists and best practices to make sure you gather the right information in the best way possible. These apps often explain how to gather information to prepare it for a claim with your company or another driver’s.
How to File a No-Fault Claim
The process of filing an insurance claim is different in no-fault states than it is outside them. The no-fault claim process is actually easier in many respects compared to fault-based insurance claims. Instead of submitting a claim to the other driver’s insurance company, you only need to submit a claim to your own provider. You receive damages from your own insurance company regardless of who is legally at fault in the accident that injured you.
However, in a no-fault claim, you may not get a settlement. You are also more limited in the forms of compensation offered to you. Third-party insurance claims in at-fault cases potentially offer damages for pain and suffering as well as medical bills and lost income reimbursements. In no-fault claims, pain and suffering and other common forms of damages are not offered.
Why Do No-Fault Claims Exist?
No-fault insurance reduces the number of disputes about insurance claims, so it also reduces the chance than an injured driver will file a lawsuit. There are no-fault states that let injured drivers sue negligent drivers for damages. However, these lawsuits are usually only allowed in very specific circumstances, like if a collision cause significant injuries or creates medical debt above a certain amount.
What States Use No-Fault Insurance?
States that are considered no-fault states include:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
- Washington, D.C.
Each no-fault state has unique characteristics, such as choice no-fault systems that let you choose whether you want traditional liability-based or no-fault coverage when you purchase an insurance policy. The rules in each state are different for what kinds of damages can be claimed, and some require property damage claims to still be pursued against the negligent driver.
If you’ve been involved in a car crash and need help getting a fair settlement from an insurance company (for repairs, medical bills, etc) please don’t hesitate to give us a call. The attorneys here at Friedman Law Offices in Lincoln, Nebraska are well versed in these areas and would be happy to provide you with a free consultation.