You usually will not be covered for property damaged to your vehicle if you do not carry a comprehensive car insurance policy. Conversely, if the other driver is the one “at fault” for the accident you have the right to claim the costs of vehicle repair as well as the cost of towing your vehicle, from the driver who is negligent. Even if the “at fault” driver does not carry insurance, you can still claim property damage against them.
When the other driver was the cause of the accident because you did not have your car insurance it is very likely there will be limitations and restrictions on what you can claim against the driver. “No Pay, No Play” is a rule several states have adopted. In basic terms, if you did not have valid auto insurance when the accident occurred, most likely you can get reimbursed for medical bills but not for claims where you assert non-economic damages, for example, pain and suffering. This rule was reasoned by considering you should not have the full benefits of someone else’s insurance when you cannot offer them to the other person to be fully compensated. Currently, the following states have adopted “No Pay, No Play”:
- North Dakota
- New Jersey
No Fault Insurance States
In a “No Fault” state (and there are currently a dozen of them) when a person is injured as a result of a car accident, they have to claim compensation from their own insurance company. Only in minimal situations does the no-fault system not apply – you then have to file a lawsuit to proceed. It also means if you lack insurance, the other driver is unable to name you as a defendant in a suit to seek compensation directly from you. There are very few exceptions to this rule but where injuries are determined to be significant or severe as defined by definition in the threshold of the state or when a certain amount is exceeded in medical expenses, for example, $20,000.
However, you may face having to pay damages as a result of a lawsuit brought against you out of your pocket, and you will need to hire an attorney at your own expense. If the judgment is made against you, you will be ordered to pay the other drivers damages if found to be liable after a trial.
The majority of states have not adopted the “no-fault” insurance system and are known as “tort” states. So, if you are at fault in an auto accident and another party is injured, they can sue you for the full damages they suffered as a result of the car accident. For example, these could include lost wages, medical bills, mental and physical pain, and suffering and property damage.
Without liability insurance, you are personally responsible for the payment to the injured party of these damages. If a judgment is obtained against you, the other party has many options to get that judgment satisfied, including the garnishment of your income from work in some instances.
Penalties For Driving Without Carrying Car Insurance
Many states will also impose administrative and criminal penalties if you are driving without insurance and are involved in a car accident. You will be facing fines of hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars. Additionally, the Department of Motor Vehicles in many states may also impose other penalties including the revocation or suspension of your driving privileges, from a period of a few months to over a year.
I Was In A Car Accident With Insurance And It Wasn’t My Fault. The Other Driver Has No Insurance, What Now?
Firstly, as soon as you can following a car accident report the accident to your car insurance company so you can get an understanding of how your coverage applies. In situations where you have suffered severe injuries not covered by insurance, you may need to hire an attorney but let’s look at cases where you have insurance but the other driver who is at fault does not have car insurance, does not have enough car insurance or situations where you may not be able to identify who the driver was.
Sadly, when you are involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, the chances are you will have to look at your own insurance company to cover your damages. While a few states require Un-Insured Motorist (UIM) coverage, many policies do not feature it, but in most states, insurance companies are required to offer it. UIM in most cases may not exceed the total of your liability coverage. For example, if you have $75,000 in total liability coverage per accident, you cannot carry more than that amount in UIM coverage. Sadly, many drivers drive illegally by not carrying insurance – so the best way to protect yourself is to ensure you carry plenty of UIM coverage.
In the case of an accident with an underinsured motorist, Under-Insured Motorist coverage (not a requirement in all states but at least offered in all states) will kick in after the other drivers insurance has paid out and will make up the shortfall for your vehicle damage and injuries, as well as other losses that transpired from your accident. It is vital to understand many insurance companies have a time limit of when policyholders can make uninsured and underinsured motorist claims (sometimes it is no more than 30 days following the accident) so you want to give this your first attention as soon as you have learned the other driver has no insurance or is underinsured.
It is primarily relevant to realize that collision coverage does not apply to a financial loss from injuries and only covers the cost of getting your car fixed (to the maximum limits of your chosen coverage) Collision coverage is an addition that may be added to your insurance policy at an additional cost to yourself. If you are the victim of a hit and run situation as well as facing damages from an uninsured driver, the value of this coverage cannot be underestimated.
When you have been in an accident, you have the option to file a lawsuit against an uninsured driver, but this is dependent on whether you live in a traditional negligent state or a no-fault state. In no-fault states, each driver is responsible for their insurance, so your ability to sue is very restricted. In a traditional negligence state, also known as a tort state, there is still no guarantee toy will be able to collect even if you obtain a judgment against the at-fault driver. Sadly, many people who are uninsured or underinsured do not have the finances or assets for you collect.
Speak With Our Car Accident Lawyers In Mesa, Arizona Today
The amount of your settlement you receive, to a large extent, depends on getting the right legal help. Our personal injury attorneys will ensure you have the finest comprehensive representation. Every year we help our clients that have been in a car accident get the legal results and compensation they deserve. If you need help with a car accident settlement, speak with our car accident lawyers in Mesa and we can help you with the right legal advice so you can move on with your life.