North Dakota’s No Fault Benefits Explained

In the 33 years I have been exclusively practicing law representing accident victims and their families in personal injury and wrongful death cases, most matters involve a motor vehicle that provides “automatic” coverage for accident-related medical expenses, payment of some lost wages, and payment for various other items, including funeral expenses. These benefits are called “no-fault” benefits or sometimes referred to as “personal injury protection benefits” or shortened to “PIP” benefits. 

The Vogel Law Firm provides full-service personal injury and wrongful death representation across North Dakota, and you should contact one of our Personal Injury Attorneys as soon as possible after the accident. While the answers below summarize the law, they are not intended to fully address every scenario.  To be safe, you should contact our office as soon as possible for a free consultation. Below are some of the common questions we answer regarding North Dakota no-fault benefits: 

After My Accident, I Was Told North Dakota Is A “No-Fault” State. What Does That Mean? 

The term “no-fault” means the company insuring a 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 accident. Anyone who is injured in a motor vehicle accident must first look to the company that insured their own personal vehicle(s) at the time of the accident. Even if you were not operating or occupying the vehicle you owned and insured at the time of the accident, that is still the policy you look to first for payment of these 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.  From this total, the insurance company will pay all necessary and reasonable medical expenses, will pay up to $150/week for wages lost, and will pay up to $15/day as replacement services the injured person would have performed around the household.  There is no separate amount for each category.  When the benefits paid total $30,000, the no-fault benefits are exhausted.   

 What Happens If The Accident Causes A Death Instead Of An Injury? 

The basic no-fault benefits in North Dakota following a death related to an accident are $150/week to the surviving dependent family member as partial reimbursement for the decedent’s lost income.  The insurance company will also pay $3,500 for 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 and will continue until the benefit total is exhausted. 

Can I Purchase Additional No-Fault Coverage Beyond The Basic Amount Of $30,000? 

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. Additional coverage may protect you from catastrophic medical expenses exceeding the minimum amount of $30,000 as required by law. 

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 you are walking or biking, the insurance company for the striking vehicle will pay your no-fault benefits, in addition to paying you for the value of your personal injuries and property damage. 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. These 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. 

If I Accept Payment Of The No-Fault Benefits, Am I Waiving My Right To Make A Personal Injury Claim Or Wrongful Death Claim? 

No! Compensation for your personal injuries or a wrongful death claim are not impacted by your receipt of no-fault benefits.  You will be compensated separately for these and other items of damages as part of a personal injury and/or wrongful death claim you bring against the people/companies responsible for the accident and resulting injuries, death, and losses. 

Because every collision involves several different and varying levels of insurance coverage interacting and playing off one another, you should contact one of our Personal Injury Attorneys as soon as possible after your accident.  

If you have a personal injury claim or a claim for the wrongful death of a loved one, don’t hesitate to call the Personal Injury Attorneys at the Vogel Law Firm. We are here to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call our office today at 701-237-6983 to schedule a consultation. 

H. Patrick Weir Jr. and Rob Manly, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorneys