When a car accident takes place, an injured victim will have to deal with insurance companies, medical bills, and vehicle expenses on top of their physical pain and mental trauma. They may not be aware of their state’s laws and rules when it comes to car accidents, so they may not know who actually pays for these expenses. However, every state has requirements regarding auto insurance, so most of us assume that the other driver’s insurance will pay if they were at fault. It is not always so black-and-white, however; there is more to the story here in North Dakota.
Car insurance requirements in North Dakota
Just as in any state, North Dakota has several requirements for vehicle operators if they are to be on the roads. All motor vehicles that are registered in the state must carry these minimum insurance coverages per person:
- Basic No-Fault, or Personal Injury Protection (PIP): $30,000 per person. This provides you with coverage for losses such as medical expenses and loss of wages because of the injury sustained from the accident. This is considered without regard to who’s at fault.
- Bodily Injury Liability: $25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident. These numbers are the maximum amounts payable to the respective parties in an accident. It helps pay for the expenses of the other driver in an at-fault accident.
- Property Damage Liability: $25,000 per accident. In an at-fault accident, this would provide protection for you against claims of damage to the other person’s property (i.e. their vehicle).
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage & Underinsured Motorist Coverage: $25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident. This coverage helps protect a claim you would bring upon another driver who has no insurance or who has less liability coverage than this. This does not cover any property damage for you.
How does no-fault insurance work after a car accident?
If you get hurt in a crash – no matter who caused that crash – you can use your no-fault (or PIP) insurance to cover up to $30,000 in lost wages and medical care. But there are a few things you should know about no-fault coverage.
First, it applies to everyone who gets hurt and is covered under your policy. So if you’re with your family and you all suffer injury, you don’t all get up to $30,000 in coverage per person; it’s per accident. (The rules are different for buses and rideshares). AND, your insurance company may be able to request an independent medical examination from a doctor of their choice if you use this policy.
Second, if you claim lost wages, you can only get up to $150 a week. The good news is that “Basic no fault [nonmedical] benefits are exempt from garnishment, attachment, execution, and any other process or claim” the way any other nonmedical wages or earnings would be, under the applicable laws.”
Third, if someone dies as a result of the collision, you can only seek up to $3,500 in funeral and burial/cremation expenses.
PIP coverage can really help you if you’re injured and in a bind, but there are a lot of rules that apply. Give us a call and we can help.
North Dakota is a modified comparative negligence state
Comparative negligence laws help determine how much you can claim in an accident. It allocates fault to all parties involved, thus reducing how much each party can recover from the car accident. Since North Dakota is a modified comparative negligence state, drivers can claim damages so long as they were only under 50% at fault. To provide an example, assume you were found to be 30% at fault in a car accident, so the other party was 70% at fault. That party’s insurance company will be responsible for covering 70% of the damages, and they will not be able to make a claim against you.
How expensive can a car accident be?
A car accident, especially when caused by a reckless and negligent driver, can lead to many different types of expenses and long-term complications. Because a car accident can involve so many unique factors and circumstances, it is difficult to provide an exact range of how expensive the property damages can become. In reality, we can say that a simple car accident can cause only $1,000 in car damages, but as it becomes more serious, it can go up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. If the car accident involved a fatality, that number can go much higher, even up to $1 million or more. Medical bills can be extremely costly, especially if the injured party had to stay for several nights or receive intensive treatment. Deaths from just traffic crashes alone can reach up to $55 billion every year in just medical expenses and lost wages.
What if the other driver has no insurance?
If you get into a car accident with a driver that has no insurance, you might be afraid that you will be fully responsible for all your bills now. Technically, yes, but your own car insurance is going to help you with those expenses. Thanks to North Dakota’s auto insurance requirements, you should have uninsured motorist coverage that will help you with medical expenses up to $25,000 per person involved. Your collision coverage may also offer protection against damage to your vehicle in a situation like this. This type of coverage helps regardless of who was at fault for the accident, but it would come at an extra cost to you. Keep in mind that for these coverages, deductibles apply, and you would need to pay for these first.
What if the other driver’s insurance company is now contacting me?
Insurance companies are known to hound and harass the injured party with the intent of getting them to settle for less or to completely forget about the whole thing. Our seasoned attorneys will ensure that you know all your legal rights when it comes to dealing with them. There is already a long road ahead of you after a car accident; you do not need an insurance company pestering you. Insurance representatives are trained to ask open-ended questions to try and draw out important information they can use against you. Their goal is to get as much information from you as possible.
You do not have to speak to the insurance company; instead you can refer them to your attorney, who will speak on your behalf. In the event you do communicate with the other driver’s insurance company, do not offer any additional details and answer their questions as directly as you can. Do not give them any specific details regarding your injuries, and do not give permission to a recorded conversation or statement. Don’t just sign away on all releases they hand you, and do not accept a settlement without first consulting one of our lawyers.
If you have suffered injuries due to another driver’s negligence, it’s important to contact an attorney right away. These accidents can be very expensive, and although another insurance company may cover some of your costs, you may be left with extra fees and bills that you were not expecting. Contact one of our experienced car accident attorneys today. At Larson Law Firm P.C., we will answer all your questions and help guide you along every step of the way. Call our office in Minot or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We also serve clients in Bismarck and Fargo.