When I was researching car accident cases in Flagstaff this week, I discovered that Arizona is a fault-based insurance state, which makes a huge difference for car accident victims who are trying to recover compensation. Because I’m still in law school and have never been in a car accident myself, I had to do some research on what the difference is between no-fault and fault-based insurance states.

I used Massachusetts as my counter-example, because it’s one of the few states in the country that uses no-fault insurance. I’ll give an overview here, but if you want to know more about no-fault insurance and law firms in Massachusetts that can help you, you can click to find out more here. 

Fault-Based Insurance

Arizona is one of many states in the country that has fault-based insurance laws. With fault-based insurance, every driver is responsible for their own actions when they get into an accident. Fault is determined based on evidence, and if you want to recover compensation for your injuries in an accident, you must prove negligence against the liable party who caused your wreck.

For example, if you get hit on the road by a driver who was texting behind the wheel, you must gather witness testimony, phone records, photographs, or other evidence to prove that the driver was at fault for your injuries. You can then sue the driver in court and obtain a settlement from the driver’s insurance company. 

No-Fault Insurance

In a no-fault insurance state, all drivers must hold a specified amount of personal injury protection insurance. When drivers get into an accident, fault isn’t an initial factor. All drivers must use their own insurance policies to recover compensation for their damages.

If, however, a driver’s personal injury protection insurance doesn’t cover their injuries completely or if the driver suffers severe injuries, then fault will come into play and the driver can prove negligence to recover the rest of the compensation they’re owed for their damages.

Although living in a no-fault insurance state can make filing a lawsuit more complicated, it can also make it easier to receive a quick settlement if your damages are less than your insurance coverage. If you’re at fault for a wreck, these states are also more forgiving. 

Both insurance policies have pros and cons, and you should become familiar with the laws where you live. You never know when you’ll get in an accident and what legal protection you’ll need.

Angie Edwards

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