Had An Accident and No Car Insurance?
Personal Injury Attorney
The penalties for driving without valid car insurance is quite significant in many states. The penalties become even more severe, if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident and are not in possession of the required insurance. In such an instance you would need to contract the services of a personal injury attorney to provide a defense on your behalf. Additional information is provided below.
If You Reside in a No-Fault Insurance State
When last counted, there was a total of 12 states that were following the “no-fault” car insurance system.
In this kind of state, when an individual is injured in a car accident, they would usually seek compensation from their personal car insurance coverage. In very rare situations, the injured party would file a lawsuit, and go outside of the boundaries of the no-fault system.
If you happen to reside in a no-fault state and are the person at fault in an accident, and have no insurance, you cannot be named as a defendant in a lawsuit by the other driver, neither can they seek compensation from you. This will be possible only in certain circumstances where the injuries are deemed to be of a “serious” or “significant” nature, as defined by the state, or in situations where medical expenses are in excess of a specific amount, such as $20,000. Should a lawsuit be filed against you, any damages that you are required to pay to the injured person will be out of your own finances, since you would be without insurance. At this point you may have to contract the services of a lawyer, unless you want to provide your own defense. You will not be able to offer the defense that you are unable to pay the specified amount. A judgment will be entered against you, once you are found to be liable and deemed to be responsible for payment of the other driver’s damages.
What If I Live in a Tort State?
The majority of states do not follow the “no-fault” insurance system and are referred to as “tort” states. If you are the person who causes a car accident that results in injury to another person, in those states you can be sued for all the damages suffered by the person from the car accident. The costs could include lost wages, property damage, medical bills as well as any physical or mental pain and suffering. In the absence of an automobile liability insurance policy, you will be held personally responsible for the payment of these damages to the injured person. This means that you will have be make payment out of your pocket. If the other driver is successful in obtaining a judgment against you after the case is tried, there are several options that they can pursue to ensure that they get some or all of the judgment due to them. This could include the garnishing of your wages. Get more information about Collecting a Judgment.
What If the Other Driver Caused the Car Accident?
If another driver is the cause of the accident and you suffer injury, what may be recoverable from the other driver might be restricted, if you did not have your own car insurance.
Many states have a rule referred to as “No Pay, No Play.” The compensation due to you in these states for your injuries is limited, if you are not the holder of valid automobile insurance at the time the accident occurred. While being able to get reimbursement for your medical bills, you will not be able to recover “non-economic” damages such as compensation for any pain and suffering.
The rationale used for this rule is that you should not be able to claim the full benefits of another person’s insurance, if you have not secured the required auto insurance for yourself. The most recent list of “No Pay, No Play” states include the following:
Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance
If you do not possess valid insurance and are involved in a car accident, you may also be subject to criminal or administrative penalties. Fines in almost every state can amount to hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars. The Department of Motor Vehicles also imposes penalties, that may include suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, which could extend for a period of a few months to one year. More information about Car Accident Law on this website