After my collision, I was told North Dakota is a “no-fault” state. What does that mean?
The term “no-fault” means the insurance company for each vehicle is required to pay the economic losses suffered by the operator and/or passengers of its insured vehicle. It doesn’t matter who was “at fault” for causing the collision; anyone who is injured in a motor vehicle collision must first look to the company that insured the vehicle they were occupying for benefits.
What are the “no-fault” benefits?
The basic no-fault benefits in North Dakota for economic losses resulting from an accident consists of a pool of money totaling $30,000.00. From this total, the insurance company will pay all necessary and reasonable medical expenses, $150/week for lost wages, and $15/day to replace any household services lost because of the accident-related injury. There isn’t a separate amount for each category. As the expenses are incurred and benefits are paid, the payments will continue until the total of all benefits paid has exhausted the basic $30,000.00 benefit.
What happens if the collision causes a death instead of injury?
The basic no-fault benefits in North Dakota will pay $150/week to the surviving dependent family member for the decedent’s lost income and will pay $3,500 toward the funeral, cremation, and burial expenses. A benefit of $15/day is also available to replace any household services the decedent would have performed while alive. These benefits will be drawn against the basic no-fault benefit total of $30,000.00.
Can I purchase additional no-fault coverage beyond the basic amount of $30,000.00?
Yes. When renewing your policy, talk to your insurance agent and request that additional economic loss benefits (“no-fault coverage”) be added to your policy. You may purchase additional coverage up to a total of $80,000.00.
Am I entitled to no-fault benefits if I am hit by a car while I am on my bike or walking on the road?
Yes. If you are struck by a motor vehicle that is insured at the time of your accident, the insurance company for the striking vehicle must pay your no-fault benefits in addition to paying you for the value of your personal injuries. Keep in mind that by law, the no-fault benefits are owed automatically but payment for your personal injury claim under the liability coverage is optional. They are two separate and distinct parts of the same policy.
If you are struck by a motor vehicle that was not insured at the time of the accident, and you are insured under a policy of insurance for your own vehicle or one owned by a member of your household, then your personal insurance carrier will provide your no-fault benefits.
* These answers summarize the law and are not intended to fully address every scenario.