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What Is a No-Fault State?

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  • Written By: Alicia Sparks
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 14 April 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A no-fault state is one that does not require proof of fault to determine the end result. Perhaps the two most common examples of no-fault law include no-fault insurance and no-fault divorce. Citizens of no-fault countries, states, and provinces argue there are pros and cons to these laws, but ultimately the advantages and disadvantages depend on each individual situation.

In terms of insurance, no-fault insurance policies are most common among automobile insurance providers. If a person has a no-fault auto insurance policy, it means that his own insurance company will compensate his losses, regardless of who or what party was at fault for the accident. Going further, his insurance company will also compensate his passengers.

Several countries encompass no-fault insurance policies, including the United States, Canada, and Australia. Typically, whether or not a state or province within a country or region has no-fault insurance laws is left to the discretion of that state or province. For example, in the United States, New York, Florida, and Oregon are no-fault states while Virginia, California, and Texas are not. Some states or provinces, like Kentucky and Pennsylvania, offer policyholders the option to choose whether they want no-fault insurance or a traditional insurance policy. Of course, each no-fault state or province also outlines its own requirements regarding no-fault insurance, such as how much each policyholder is obligated to purchase.

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When it comes to divorce law, a no-fault state is one that does not require proof of fault of either party for a marriage to be dissolved. In other words, one person in the marriage can file for divorce without having to provide any evidence that the other person committed a breach of the marriage contract. A no-fault divorce is similar to no-fault insurance in that no one has to prove fault, but the outcome typically doesn’t result in compensation.

Several countries throughout the world offer some form of no-fault divorce, including the United States, Canada, and Russia. Naturally, the details of this divorce law vary by country and even state and region. For example, in Australia, the married couple must first be separated for 12 months. In Sweden, the couple must spend a contemplation period of between six and 12 months if there are children younger than 16 involved. Similar to no-fault insurance laws, no-fault divorce laws can be left to the discretion of the no-fault state or province.

Every no-fault situation has its pros and cons, depending on the exact circumstances and the parties involved. For example, many people argue a pro to no-fault insurance is that the injured parties are guaranteed compensation, while a con is that those same parties are usually restricted from seeking additional compensation through civil court. This means if the compensation provided according to requirements of the no-fault state is not enough to cover the damages, the injured party cannot seek additional compensation. The same is true of many no-fault divorce laws. As long as certain requirements are met, a divorce is granted, but under the terms of that no-fault divorce each party’s right to legal defense becomes limited.

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