One of the factors that will impact what steps and legal options are available after a car accident is whether you live in an “at-fault” or “no-fault” state. In a no-fault state, a driver’s insurance will pay for their damages no matter who caused an accident. For example, if you were in a rear-end collision, the other driver could be completely at fault. However, if you have no-fault auto insurance, you would file a claim with your carrier – even though another driver collided with your vehicle. Your medical costs and other expenses related to your injuries are covered under personal injury protection (PIP) insurance.
Arkansas is technically an at-fault state. However, insurance providers are required to include PIP coverage. An Arkansas motorist must opt out of PIP coverage by sending a written notice to their insurance carrier. While your PIP insurance will provide coverage if you are injured in an accident, it will not impair your ability to file a personal injury lawsuit if another driver caused the accident. Our Fayetteville car accident lawyers are available to review your legal rights and options if you were injured in an automotive vehicle crash.
Accident victims in Arkansas could pursue a claim against their insurance company, file a third-party claim against a negligent driver’s insurance, or file a personal injury lawsuit. Our Arkansas personal injury lawyers are available to offer legal advice after thoroughly evaluating the circumstances surrounding your case. Call (479) 316-0438 to schedule an appointment at our law offices.
No-Fault Insurance Explained
Each state in the country is permitted to determine what kind of auto insurance laws they will require. Many states have adopted no-fault insurance laws. In a no-fault state, a driver must carry personal injury protection insurance to provide coverage if they are injured in an accident. This coverage goes into effect no matter who caused the accident. The idea behind no-fault insurance coverage is that an injured victim will receive compensation faster if they are working through their insurance. Another goal is to reduce the number of personal injury lawsuits.
PIP policies will usually cover a portion of specific damages suffered in a car accident. For example, depending on the state and coverage, PIP insurance will cover a percentage of medical expenses, including emergency services and treatment by medical professionals. No matter what portion is covered, the total compensation is limited by the policy’s limits.
PIP coverage also allows accident victims to recover a portion of the wages they lost due to their injury. This includes missed time for recovery, doctor’s appointments, and medical treatment. The amount of coverage depends on the state and policy. Some states only allow for 60% of a victim’s lost income.
PIP coverage could also include death benefits if an accident proves fatal. However, PIP insurance does not cover everything. For instance, you would not be able to file a claim for your pain and suffering.
Arkansas’s Auto Insurance Requirements
Arkansas is not a no-fault state. Therefore, PIP coverage is not mandatory. As with other at-fault states, the financial responsibility for any damages arising from a car accident rests with the party that caused the accident. An accident victim in Arkansas can seek compensation for their injuries and other damages through a lawsuit or a settlement negotiation with the at-fault driver’s insurer.
Even though Arkansas is an at-fault state, auto insurance providers are required to include $5,000 of PIP coverage in their general policies. As a driver, you are not mandated to have PIP coverage. However, the responsibility rests on you to provide written notice to your insurance provider if you wish to opt out of PIP coverage. In many cases, drivers in Arkansas understand the benefits of PIP coverage and voluntarily increase their policy limits.
Personal Injury Lawsuits in No-Fault States
As stated above, one of the primary goals of no-fault insurance states is limiting personal injury lawsuits. In a no-fault state, accident victims are only permitted to file an injury lawsuit under very specific circumstances.
Typically, the injuries suffered in an accident must be catastrophic to file a personal injury lawsuit in a no-fault state. Each state will have an injury threshold that the victim must meet, such as permanent injuries, significant loss of bodily function, amputation, or wrongful death.
PIP Coverage and Arkansas Personal Injury Lawsuits
Because Arkansas is an at-fault state, an accident victim is allowed to file a personal injury claim if they are injured in a car crash. Our Bella Vista personal injury attorneys will have to prove that another party’s negligent conduct caused your injury. Still, our office will not have to demonstrate that your injury meets a threshold requirement.
When you are hurt in a car accident in Arkansas, you have three options. You could file a claim under your insurance policy if you did not opt out of PIP coverage. Additionally, you could file a third-party claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Finally, you could file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver and their insurance provider.
Our experienced Arkansas car accident lawyers are available to review your insurance coverage and the circumstances surrounding your crash to help determine the best course of action. In many situations, an accident victim could pursue a combination of options. A personal injury claim could take months or years to settle. During this time, your PIP coverage could provide much-needed financial relief. However, if another driver is held liable, you would have to reimburse your insurance provider through your settlement payment.
Our Arkansas Car Accident Lawyers Offer Free Consultations
The steps you should take after a car accident are not always obvious. While you should focus on your health and medical treatment, you might have concerns about insurance coverage, fault, and whether you have any legal rights. Our experienced Bentonville personal injury lawyers provide professional, sympathetic, and aggressive legal representation for car accident victims. Contact (479) 316-0438 to set up a free consultation.
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