Automobile Accident Compensation

Volume II: Payments by Auto Insurers

by James K. Hammitt


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Automobile accident victims may receive financial compensation from several sources, depending on the rules of their state. This report analyzes closed insurance claims data to describe the effects of interstate differences in liability rules and insurance regulations on the compensation payments made under automobile no-fault and liability insurance policies. No-fault payments are usually equal to the claimant's economic loss, and no-fault claimants generally receive at least partial payment more quickly than liability-insurance claimants. Liability-insurance payments also cover most claimants' economic losses, and frequently include payment for general damages (e.g. pain and suffering) which, while highly variable, often exceed economic losses. Alternative liability rules have only modest effects on the number of victims who obtain payment under a liability policy.

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