A tort state is one in which at-fault drivers in a crash are responsible for paying the other driver's medical expenses. The at-fault driver must also pay for additional damages, such as loss of wages and "pain and suffering."
States tend to be either a tort state or a
no-fault state. Most states are under a tort system; only 12 states are referred to as “no-fault.”
Under the tort system, someone must be found to be at fault for causing the accident. The at-fault party is then held responsible for the damages sustained. Comparative and contributory negligence laws help to determine fault and if one or more than one driver can be found at fault for an accident.
Tort states require drivers to carry
liability insurance to cover injuries they cause to others and for damages they cause to someone else’s car, house, fence, etc.
The details and regulations for a tort system vary from state to state. Find out about your state's tort or no-fault system by contacting your state’s
insurance regulatory body for consumer information.
For example, some states have options such as
full or limited tort that you can choose when obtaining your car insurance policy. With limited tort, you normally cannot sue for pain and suffering unless you sustain a serious or permanent injury.
If you live in a tort state, you may not be required to buy additional car insurance coverages, such as personal injury protection and medical payments coverage. In that case, it's up to you to decide whether to buy extra coverage. You may decide to rely on your health insurance to cover potential car crash injuries instead of buying extra medical payments coverage. Contact your health insurance company if you are unsure about your coverage.