If You’re in a Car Accident and Uninsured
If you don’t carry mandatory car insurance, you could face penalties even if the accident wasn’t your fault.
If you ‘re driving without valid car insurance and you ‘re involved in a car accident, here ‘s what to know at the beginning :
- The fact that you’re an uninsured driver doesn’t have any effect on a key element: who was at fault for the accident.
- If you are found at fault, you’ll likely be personally on the financial hook for any injuries and vehicle damage resulting from the crash (since you don’t have an insurance policy in place to cover those losses).
- If the other driver is at fault for the accident, the fact that you’re uninsured could limit your ability to get compensation for your car accident injuries and related losses.
What Should I Do After an Accident If I’m Uninsured?
The most crucial thing to do is stop and stay at the accident scene until you ‘ve taken proper action. There are consequences for driving without indemnity, but those picket in comparison to the penalties that can result if you leave the fit of an accident ( including condemnable reach and run charges ), particularly if anyone is hurt in the crash. here are more steps to take :
- Call emergency medical services if anyone seems to have suffered significant injury.
- Call local law enforcement to the scene.
- Exchange information with anyone involved in the accident.
- Be careful what you say at the car accident scene. Don’t admit fault for the accident, and don’t discuss any details about the crash.
- Get the names and contact information of any witnesses who may have seen what happened.
- Take pictures of the accident scene, the position of the vehicles, and anything else that might help tell the story of how the accident happened.
Get more tips on what to do after a cable car accident.
It ‘s important to keep things in position here. It ‘s against the law to drive without indemnity ( or without proof of “ fiscal duty ” for an accident ), but the fact that you ‘re uninsured is n’t going to come into play when it comes to figuring out who was at fault for the accident .
What If the Uninsured Driver Is Not at Fault for the Car Accident?
If you were injured in a car accident caused by the early driver, there may still be certain restrictions on what ( if anything ) you can recover against that driver, if you did not have your own car indemnity .
several states have some variation of a “ No Pay, No Play ” police. In those states, if you did not have valid automobile insurance in place at the fourth dimension of the accident, you ‘re limited in the types of compensation you can receive for your injuries, and in a few states ( like New Jersey ) you ca n’t recover anything at all against the at-fault driver. In states like California, you ca n’t recover “ non-economic ” damages like compensation for annoyance and hurt, but you can still get reimbursed for your medical bills .
The reasoning behind “ No Pay, No Play ” laws is that if you do n’t have the ask car insurance that could provide broad compensation to another person, then you should n’t be able to claim the full benefits of person else ‘s policy if you ‘ve been the victim of a car accident .
What If I’m at Fault for the Accident?
The answer here depends on whether you live in a no-fault car insurance express, or a country that follows traditional defect ( or “ tort ” ) principles when it comes to car indemnity .
If You Live In a No-Fault Insurance State
More than a twelve states follow some version of what ‘s known as a “ no-fault ” car indemnity system .
In a no-fault state, if a person is injured in a car accident, they ‘re generally required to seek recompense for economic ( out of air pocket ) losses directly from their own cable car policy company. only under very limited circumstances can the injured person step outside of the no-fault system and file a lawsuit .
so, if you live in a no-fault submit and you do n’t have indemnity, flush if you ‘re at fault for the accident, the early driver credibly ca n’t name you as a defendant in a lawsuit and seek compensation directly from you. merely in limited circumstances is this possible—specifically, where injuries are deemed “ serious ” or “ significant ” under the state ‘s brink definition, or when checkup expenses exceed a certain total, such as $ 20,000.
If a lawsuit is filed against you, because you do not have insurance you will be looking at paying any damages to the hurt person out of your own pocket. You may besides be faced with hiring a lawyer at your expense, unless you want to try to defend the subject yourself. It is no defense to these lawsuits to tell the court, “ I ca n’t pay that come. ” If you are found apt after a trial and you are ordered to pay the other driver ‘s damages, a judgment will be entered against you ( more on this below ) .
If You Live in a “Fault” Car Insurance State
States that do not follow a “ no-fault ” insurance system—this means the huge majority of states—are called “ tort ” states. In those states, if you cause a car accident and another person is injured, they can sue you for all damages resulting from the car accident. This could include medical bills, lost wages, property price, and physical and mental annoyance and suffer .
If you do not have an automobile liability insurance policy, you are personally responsible for paying these damages to the hurt person. In other words, you will have to pay them out of your own pocket. If the case goes to trial and the other driver obtains a judgment against you, they have a act of options available to try to get some or all of that opinion satisfied, including garnishing your wages in some cases .
Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance
If you are in a car accident and found to be driving without valid insurance, every submit will impose a fine of hundreds or even thousands of dollars. In addition, the Department of Motor Vehicles in most states will besides impose penalties that include the suspension or revocation of your driver ‘s license, normally for a period from a few months to one year .
In New York, for example, if your vehicle is uninsured and is involved in an accident :
- the state’s DMV will revoke your driver license and vehicle registration for at least one year, and
- the state’s traffic court will fine you up to $1,500, and
- you’ll need to pay the DMV a $750 civil penalty to restore your driver license.
Get more details on penalties for driving without insurance ( from DrivingLaws.org ) .
Getting Help After a Car Accident
If you ‘ve been in a cable car accident while driving without insurance, you might be in for a fight on a number of potential fronts. If the other driver ( or their policy company ) is trying to put the incrimination for the barge in on you, there ‘s a lot at impale for you financially, specially if the other driver was badly injured. On the other hand, if you think the accident was the other driver ‘s fault, you could be in for an uphill battle in trying to pursue an wound call as an uninsured driver .
No matter the specifics of your situation, you might want to start by reaching out to a car accident lawyer in your area. An feel lawyer can consider the specific circumstances of your situation and explain your options. You can use the tools on this page to connect with a nearby lawyer. Answer a few questions and you ‘re tied eligible for a free case evaluation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it Illegal to Drive Without Insurance?
Yes. In every express, vehicle owners are required to comply with “ fiscal responsibility ” rules, meaning they need to be able to demonstrate their ability to pay for injuries, vehicle damage, and other losses stemming from a car accident. The overpowering majority of fomite owners meet these “ fiscal duty ” requirements by purchasing sealed minimal amounts of car policy coverage .
What’s the Cheapest Car Insurance?
The most cost-efficient direction to insure a vehicle while complying with the law is to buy cable car indemnity coverage that meets the plain minimal of what ‘s required in your state. In many states, that means buying only liability coverage ( which applies to injuries and fomite damage incurred by other people in an accident caused by you ). While this scheme will save you money in the short term, keep in mind that liability coverage ca n’t be used to cover your own cable car accident injuries or damage to your own vehicle .
What if Neither Driver Has Insurance?
After an accident in which both drivers are uninsured, there ‘s more at stake on both sides when it comes to establishing fault for the accident. That ‘s because the at-fault driver will find themselves on the personal fiscal hook for the early driver ‘s car accident damages, and they ‘ll besides have to find a way to cover their own losses ( hopefully they have health policy to take cable car of any medical bills for cable car accident injuries ). Although continue in take care hera that the “ No Pay, No Play ” laws we discussed above will likely apply to both drivers, meaning both may face difficulty getting compensation for the full spectrum of their losses resulting from the accident .
Category : car insurance questions