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What is the law on auto accidents?

The laws on auto accidents vary by the state, but they can generally be broken down into no fault and at-fault states. In about half of the states, the no fault system is in place - in these jurisdictions, it doesn’t matter who caused the accident or who was most at fault; each individual is responsible for his/her own loss, a legal schema designed to reduce the number of lawsuits. Many states have variations on no fault laws, however, which establish certain thresholds for which an individual is liable for his/her own costs - some of these thresholds are based on dollar amounts, while some states set thresholds based on the circumstances, i.e., individuals must cover their own auto damages, but personal injury expenses are imputed to the driver at fault. In many states, a driver is at fault because he/she broke the law (i.e., DUI), fault will be attributed accordingly.

In the other half of the country, “at-fault” states, the driver who causes the accident is responsible for damages to all those persons involved; in these states, auto accident lawsuits are more common, and it is often left to a judge/jury to apportion fault. Comparative negligence often comes into play in at-fault states.

Each state’s insurance coverage also takes into account what type of state you live in - no fault or at fault, and rates generally reflect that.