Car accidents with an uninsured driver can happen at any time and any place. On top of that, there are rare instances where the drivers involved in a car accident are both uninsured. If you experienced the latter, this article will help you understand the things you should know following the accident.
Several Reasons Why a Driver May Be Uninsured
In most states, driving without any insurance is illegal. However, there are still uninsured drivers present on the roads. In fact, according to studies, about 1 out of 8 drivers does not have any car insurance. Reasons behind that may include the following:
- They are unable to acquire a driver’s license
- They possess an invalid driver’s license
- Their insurance policy has lapsed
- They decided not to secure any insurance policy
What to Expect
Since most US states require all drivers to have insurance, both uninsured drivers in an accident may face fines and legal consequences, such as jail time or revocation of driver’s license. Besides that, settling a car accident with both uninsured drivers can get very complicated. In most cases, it all boils down to who is responsible for the accident. Factors in determining who is responsible may include:
- Driving under the influence (of illegal drugs or alcohol);
- Reckless driving;
- Distracted driving;
- Failure to follow traffic rules.
If injuries were suffered during the crash, the at-fault party’s health insurance might cover the expenses. However, if property damages have occurred (such as the loss of use of the car or repairs), it is better to seek a lawyer’s advice.
Moreover, there are instances where the at-fault driver may give cash as compensation to avoid a lawsuit. If this is the case, it is never good to accept any offered amount on the spot. It is essential to evaluate the accident first before accepting any form of resolution regarding the matter.
In an at-fault state, the driver responsible shall compensate the injured party through the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This means that the at-fault driver’s auto insurance shall shoulder all medical expenses and other damages. Hence, if you are an uninsured at-fault driver, the injured party might file a lawsuit against you.
However, if you live in a no-fault state, the injured party might not file a case against you depending on the severity of the injuries and damage. This is because there is a certain threshold that needs to be met to sue in a no-fault state. If that threshold is not met, the injured party’s own insurance company will cover the injuries and damages suffered during the accident.
It is different if you live in a state with a “no pay, no play” law. States with “no pay, no play” law prohibits the right to sue on certain damages. These include mental suffering, physical pain, and emotional distress. Besides that, the uninsured driver may have to pay enormous deductibles for repairs before they can sue for property damages. States who follow this law are Alaska, California, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Oregon.
Suppose you are uninsured and you live in San Diego, California. You won’t have any right to sue for mental damages, for example, even if you exhaust all of your resources and hire an accident injury attorney in San Diego since you belong to a ‘no pay, no play” state. This is also the case if you live in New Orleans, Louisiana, or Salem, Oregon.
You are governed by the laws of the city where the accident occurs.
What to Do
- Seek Medical Help: It is crucial to attend to your injuries after a car accident. Documented actual injuries are a great help in getting compensation. Without proper documentation, it would be difficult to sue the at-fault driver. Moreover, as mentioned earlier, health insurance may cover medical expenses for bodily injuries.
- Collect Evidence: Aside from getting medical documents to support compensation for injuries suffered, it is also vital to collect other documents that will help the case, such as police reports and witness’ statements. You can also take pictures of the scene, the status of your car after the crash, and your injuries. Gathering as much evidence as possible can help you in the process of receiving just compensation.
- Consult a Lawyer: It is vital to find a lawyer who is an expert on local laws since things can get complicated. A lawyer will provide valuable advice on the steps you should take to resolve the matter. Furthermore, a lawyer will help you understand the situation you are in, as well as the advantages and disadvantages you have.
Car accident cases are complicated enough, and getting involved with no insurance is even more troublesome. Besides that, being caught behind the wheel while uninsured also has legal consequences. Therefore, it is wise to follow the law and protect yourself with auto insurance.