No-fault laws aim to promote prompt payment for damages sustained in an automobile collision by curtailing or altogether eliminating liability of other motorists. In the world of subrogation, a no-fault scheme transforms traditional claims investigation—where a finding of fault is often crucial—into a maze of tedious statutory analysis to determine where and to what extent recovery rights exist. In such circumstances, the seminal inquiry is often one of priority. To further add confusion to an already complex and atypical situation, most no-fault schemes are riddled with numerous exceptions to the rule, exceptions to the exception, and differing limitation deadlines than those found in a traditional tort analysis.
To explore, protect, and prosecute non-traditional rights of recovery we have developed a working and ever-developing knowledge of the no-fault schemes throughout the country including Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota, Utah, and even Puerto Rico. In so doing, we are often available to pinpoint where priority assertions can be made—a tool available but routinely overlooked in the insurance industry due to these intricate and ever-changing no-fault schemes. In addition, our 50-state purview allows us to evaluate complex situations including accidents occurring within a no-fault state involving a non-resident motorist, or conversely rights of a no-fault insurance carrier when its insured is involved in an accident occurring in a traditional tort-based forum.
In addition, we routinely handle situations where numerous insurers are involved including commercial-vehicle accidents. In such situations, there are often three or more policies at issue and it is not uncommon for one or more of said policies to be issued outside of the no-fault state at issue. This is a shining example of where our comprehensive approach and familiarity with insurance and subrogation schemes throughout the nation works to the benefit of our clients as we are able to evaluate what impact a no-fault regime will have on a policy issued in a traditional-tort based state. Moreover, we look to assert federal law when needed to preempt no-fault statutes and uncover previously hidden avenues of recovery.
The old adage “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” is apropos in no-fault states with a minor adjustment—”what you don’t know can’t help you.” Recovery rights are often available but overlooked in no-fault states, and it is all too familiar that local actors feast off the complexity of no-fault schemes by citing to whichever general rule works to their benefit; irrespective of whether such rule is an actual barrier to recovery for the claim at issue. The maze of rules and exceptions makes challenging such statements difficult to say the least, however our experience and comprehensive knowledge allows not only challenge, but also secure recoveries in the face of such statements.