Fault and No-Fault

“I do not think I can express how much it means to me that you took me under your wings! You did such an excellent job and went above and beyond.”

Emily and Adam Miller, Pine Island, Minnesota

Fault, No-Fault, and Comparative Fault are important concepts in connection with accidents.  However, these terms are often misunderstood.  This section defines these terms and shows how they are important in the evaluation of your case.


Fault means that in order to recover your losses, you must prove that the other driver/person did something wrong that caused the accident:  The accident was their “Fault”.

“Fault” is almost always required to recover general losses such as pain and suffering.  In order to recover losses—including pain and suffering—under these insurance coverages, you must prove “Fault”:

  • Property Damage Insurance (PD) if you do not have Collision Insurance
  • Liability Insurance or Uninsured Motorist Insurance (UM)
  • Underinsured Motorist Insurance (UIM)
  • Umbrella Insurance


No-Fault means that you may recover certain specifically defined losses without having to prove that the other driver/person did something wrong that caused the accident.  You may recover certain specifically defined losses regardless of who was at fault—even if your fault caused the accident.

In order to recover certain specifically defined losses under these insurance coverages, you are not required to prove “Fault”

  • Property Damage Insurance (PD) if you do have Collision Insurance
  • Minnesota No-Fault Insurance (Car or Truck)
  • Medical Pay Insurance (Car or Truck in Iowa and Wisconsin or Property)
  • Worker’s Compensation Insurance (Work)

Pain and suffering is not covered by “No-Fault” Insurance.  Proof of fault is required to recover pain and suffering.

Comparative Fault

Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin all use Comparative Fault to determine recoverable losses.  Comparative Fault means that the fault of all parties involved in the accident are evaluated—by comparing percentages of fault—in order to determine your recoverable losses.

Your recoverable losses are reduced by your percentage of fault.  A simple example of Comparative Fault might be evaluated like this:

Plaintiff           50%

Defendant       50%

Under these circumstances, you will recover 50% of your recoverable losses.

However, if your fault is greater than 50%–even 51%–you will recover nothing.

Interpreting and applying the concepts of Fault, No-Fault, and Comparative Fault are often complex and depend on the specific facts of your case.  The insurance companies have much more knowledge and experience in interpreting and applying theses concepts than you do.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident or truck accident, you need to concentrate on one thing — getting on with your life.  Let our experienced team handle the insurance paperwork including claim forms, reports, authorizations, and requests for recorded statements.

We offer a free consultation, so you have nothing to lose by contacting us firstFor a free consultation:

Email us at contactus@kauffmanlawfirm.com or

Call us at 507-285-5350 or 877-285-5350

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