Where car accidents are concerned, you should know whether you live in a tort or a no-fault state. It affects how you pay for car insurance and what happens should you get into an accident. Ohio is a tort state, unlike two of our neighbors, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. What does that mean, and what do drivers need to know?
What is a Tort State?
A tort state is one in which at-fault drivers in a crash are responsible for paying the other driver’s medical expenses. The at-fault driver must also pay for additional damages such as loss of wages as well as pain and suffering. The primary purpose of a Tort law is to provide relief to injured parties for harm caused by others. Additionally, it imposes liability on the party responsible for the harm and damage. Finally, the main purpose of a Tort law is to deter others from committing harmful acts. Cornell Law School lists the three different categories of torts:
- Intentional torts: intentionally hitting a person
- Negligent torts: an accident caused by failing to obey traffic rules
- Strict liability torts: liability for making and selling defective products
What is a No-Fault State?
Alternatively, no-fault states are one in which drivers are required to carry no-fault insurance, also known as PIP insurance. This insurance coverage pays for your injuries after an accident regardless of who was or wasn’t at fault. Your insurance will also pay for your damages to your vehicle.
What’s the Difference?
The biggest difference between the two is that the Tort states require drivers to carry liability insurance to cover injuries that they caused to others. Some states require you only to buy the minimum amount of Tort when obtaining your car insurance policy. In Ohio, the minimums are as follows:
- Bodily Injury for One Person: $12,500
- Bodily Injury for all Injuries: $25,000
- Property Damage: $7,500
What This Means for You
For many Tri-Staters, it’s not uncommon to cross into Kentucky or Ohio on a daily basis. Many people live on one side and work on the other and vice versa. Which means that for Kentuckians, they are regularly driving in a Tort state but may only be carrying No-Fault insurance. Ohioans are not required to carry No-Fault insurance. However, the victim can pursue compensation for additional lost wages as well as pain and suffering. For Kentuckians, anyone who registers, operates, or maintains the use of a motor vehicle are deemed to have accepted the limitations on their right to sue and be sued (tort rights). What this means is that an injured person cannot recover medical expenses, wage loss, other expenses, or pain and suffering from the at-fault party unless their injuries exceed a certain threshold. In Kentucky, this threshold is $1,000 in medical expenses, a broken bone, permanent disfigurement, permanent injury or death.
Call Rapier & Bowling if You’ve Been in an Accident
Getting into an accident is already mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging. Tack on the insurance and legal aspects and you only add stress. Rapier & Bowling can help you deal with insurance and handle any claims or litigation that may come from your accident. Don’t let insurance short you. PHOTO: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain