In the U.S., there are a variety of laws that can seem to clash with one another. The laws regarding automobile insurance are no different, with states being split between two major types of insurance law. The two main jurisdictions that exist are known as “fault states” and “no fault states,” and some states even allow citizens to choose which system they would like to proceed under. A majority of states, South Carolina included, adopt a fault-based system of personal injury recovery and auto insurance.
No Fault State
The terms “fault” and “no fault” might make some people uneasy at first, but in truth, the different categories of state law go more to the responsibilities of insurance companies than the outcome of a case. For example, in a no fault state, an individual’s insurance company would cover their own injuries regardless of whether that person was at fault or not. Generally, citizens of no fault states are required to have personal injury protection (PIP), which will deal with any personal injuries resulting from an accident. If an individual wanted to cover property damage incurred from an automobile accident, however, he would need to obtain collision coverage.
Fault states, on the other hand, hold a person who is at fault responsible for any injuries resulting from an accident. In a fault state, the insurance company of a person found to be at fault is responsible for injuries or damages, including, but not limited to:
- medical bills;
- lost wages; or,
- auto repairs.
While damages are handled through the insurance companies, each jurisdiction contains its own regulations, establishing a minimum coverage amount. Generally, these coverage amounts will be divided into three categories. The first category is typically the coverage amount for each injured individual. Next is the coverage amount per accident. Finally, there is the coverage amount for property damage resulting from the accident. In South Carolina, the state follows a split that is often described as 25/50/25 coverage. This means that the coverage limits in South Carolina are:
- $25,000 for each injured or deceased person;
- $50,000 total for a single accident; and
- $25,000 for any vehicle or property damage resulting from the accident.
While these regulations might seem restrictive, it is important to remember that these numbers represent the bare minimum, and that they might not even cover the full extent of injuries or damages sustained in an accident. Should the injuries or property damage exceed the coverage amount of an at fault driver’s insurance, then the injured driver would be able to bring an action in court in order to collect the difference.
Contact an Attorney
The specifics of automotive law can be tricky at the best of times. While getting into an automobile accident is a rough time for everyone involved, you do not have to go through it alone. If you or someone you love has been involved in an automobile accident, then call a skilled attorney at the David Aylor Law Offices for a free consultation.