Is Maine a no-fault state for car accidents? The answer to that question has merit, if only because Maine is a destination for many people driving here from many different places. For that matter, whether you’re from in-state or from out-of-state, every Maine driver and anyone driving in Maine should know the answer to that question, which is “no.” Maine is not among those states with no-fault auto insurance laws.
What Does a No-Fault State Mean?
Maine is an at-fault state, the laws of which are intended to place blame on the driver who caused the accident. In theory, that sounds pretty straightforward, except for the concept of fault and how it’s assigned, which has bearing on determining liability and negligence that, in some instances, can be shared.
Some places have no-fault insurance, and others do not because, in the US, insurance laws are decided on the state level, which is why some states are no-fault and others are at-fault. There are 12 states that mandate no-fault auto insurance. Depending on where you live in Maine, four of those states—Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania—are but a few hours drive away. It is also of note, given where Maine is situated, that six Canadian provinces operate under a no-fault insurance system. Two of the six—New Brunswick and Quebec—border Maine. Another three—Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Ontario—are far away.
How Does It Affect Out-of-Staters?
That Maine is an at-fault state for car accidents is one thing, but how does it affect those driving in Maine from a place that has no-fault car insurance laws? What does it mean in the event of a car accident in Maine with a driver carrying no-fault insurance? The short answer is that when a car accident happens in Maine, then Maine laws will apply to the accident. That would include the entire claim, its processing and any potential lawsuit. Also, no-fault insurance does not mean you can never be found at fault for a car accident. You can.
Instead, no-fault insurance is more aptly described as a system that determines how an insurance policy covers a driver and how their insurance company pays a claim. In no-fault states, for example, when injured in a car accident, your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage pays for your medical expenses, no matter who was at fault. In at-fault states, the person who caused the car accident pays for damages, including your medical expenses.
As Maine is an at-fault state, which means that the person who causes a car accident is responsible for paying damages, the blame for the accident must be correct. The fault is assigned by physical evidence collected at the scene by the police, as well as by the insurance company or other investigators, and from statements from any witnesses and participants. The responsible party that pays for damages is, in reality, the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident.
This is where the concept of fault and how it is assigned comes into play. In Maine, as in many other places, assigning fault for a car accident can sometimes be relative. More than having to prove who caused a car accident, the negligent party that caused the crash and how much of the blame for the accident must also be determined.
What are “Modified Comparative Negligence Laws”?
Maine has “modified comparative negligence laws,” recognizing that “fault” can be shared in some circumstances. If it is determined that you are partly liable for the accident, you will receive only a percentage of the compensation. Per Maine law, if you are less than 50% at fault, you may only collect the balance of the available percentage. For example, if it is determined that you were 10% responsible for a car accident, you are eligible to recover 90% of the damages. Comparative negligence law also means that if you are 50% or more at fault, you cannot collect any damages from the other driver.
At-fault insurance settlements are supposed to pay for damages caused by the other driver, not leave you partly liable for the accident. It’s in your best interests not to accept any settlement without speaking to a car accident lawyer first. It may be that other factors could have contributed to the accident that you are unaware of, such as a vehicle flaw by the auto manufacturer.
Contact Maine’s Injury Lawyers
If Maine’s “modified comparative negligence laws” have left you frustrated or to make sure that liability for the accident is placed where it belongs, contact the law offices of Hardy Wolf & Downing to speak with one of our experienced car accident lawyers. We offer free consultations and will work on your behalf to ensure you are financially protected after an accident and receive the compensation you deserve.