Because the United States is a federation of 50 states with a wide range of laws governing various aspects of civil and criminal law, there is no single edict regarding automobile insurance or car accidents. For instance, the state of Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which means that insured drivers who are involved in a car accident can not only get compensation from their insurer but can also seek legal redress in civil court. On the other hand, Hawaii is a tort state, which means one of the parties affected by a car accident must be found “at fault.” Thus, if you are in a car crash in Honolulu you can sue the other driver, or the other driver can sue you. Keep in mind, however, that each tort state has its own local variants on auto insurance legislation.
In addition to tort and no-fault states, there are also several states which mandate add-on insurance coverage. Add-on states not only allow insured drivers to get compensation from their own insurer, but do not place restrictions on civil lawsuits related to a car accident.
The lack of a national legal standard for auto insurance has, of course, several significant consequences. First, for a first-time car insurance purchaser the patchwork of legal edicts which regulate the insurance industry can be confusing. Second, some states can have very strict regulations as to what types of coverage are mandatory, while other jurisdictions may have a mix of mandatory coverage and optional features which drivers do not have to buy. Furthermore, the amount of mandatory auto insurance coverage varies from state to state, no matter which type of insurance law is present.
Some states have laws that compel drivers to have specific types of coverage. For example, Personal Injury Protection (P.I.P.) is mandatory in all of the no‐fault states, as well as Arkansas, Delaware, Maryland, and Oregon. P.I.P. insurance covers a driver’s personal medical expenses and lost wages no matter who was the driver who caused the accident.
Almost all states, except Florida and New Hampshire, insist on the carrying of Bodily Injury (B.I.) coverage. This type of coverage makes medical benefits available for the other people who were hurt in an accident.
Seventeen states, including Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia require Uninsured Motorist coverage. This type of coverage is part of a driver’s insurance policy and reimburses his or her for any medical expenses incurred in an accident caused by another driver who is not insured.
If you need an attorney to represent you for any insurance-related or car-accident related incidences, use our contact form or call for a free consultation.