According to the Insurance Research Council, approximately 12.6% of drivers drive without insurance. Driving without insurance can have serious repercussions. Insurance is required by law to ensure drivers are held financially responsible for any damages they cause if an accident occurs.
If you are in an accident without insurance, you will lose your license for up to twelve months. This may have further consequences in the case that your job requires you to travel for work. You may also face fines and penalties based on the state the violation occurred.
If you’re found responsible for the accident, you’ll likely need to pay all damages for all parties involved. In the case of severe accidents, you may have to declare bankruptcy. Insurance serves to protect you financially and ensures the stability of your financial situation.
If the Other Party is at Fault
When the other party is found to be at fault, you can make a claim, requesting compensation for your vehicle and personal injuries. You may negotiate to receive the full amount of your damages. Hiring an attorney will give you a higher chance of receiving a greater settlement. However, some state laws limit what you can recover from the at-fault party if you were uninsured at the time the accident occurred.
Even if you hire an attorney, you may still have your license revoked. You may also lose your car registration and face jail time depending on the state where the accident occurred. If you were at-fault, you’ll have to pay for all damages and may also face a lawsuit filed by the injured party(s).
Even if you buy car insurance the day after the accident, insurance policies only apply to accidents that happen after you buy it. Furthermore, uninsured drivers will have trouble finding cheap car insurance rates when they shop for a policy.
In a No-fault State
Drivers make claims through their own insurance for minor injuries, no matter who caused the crash. This means that other people may not be able to sue you for medical costs unless their injuries are severe. However, each state has its own set of rules and limitations in regard to legal actions.
Those with no insurance may be limited in what they can sue the at-fault driver for, depending on the state. In no pay no play states, uninsured drivers are prevented from suing for special damages. These include physical pain, emotional distress, and mental suffering. Uninsured motorists in no pay no play states may face a massive deductible toward repairs before they can sue. The following States have no pay no play laws: Alaska, California, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Oregon.
Most US states except Alaska and New Hampshire require every driver to have car insurance. Alaska doesn’t require insurance in areas of the state where registering your car is optional. New Hampshire doesn’t mandate auto insurance for residents with clear driving records. However, in order to waive auto insurance requirements in these states, drivers must prove that they have enough financial stability to cover damages in the case of a car accident.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
If you drive without insurance, whether it’s due to an accident or getting pulled over, you will face a wide range of consequences depending on the location. For example, in Texas, first-time offenders will receive a fine of about $175. However, in Minnesota, the same offense could result in a fine of up to $1,000 and 90 days in jail. You’ll also lose your license and have your vehicle’s registration revoked.
Violations in Utah
For an initial offense, you’ll face a fine of $400 and for a second offense $1,000. If the court determines that you are economically unable to pay the fine, the court may reduce the fee and have a surcharge. For a first offense, your driver’s license/privilege will be suspended until you can provide proof of insurance. For a second offense, you’ll lose your license and driving privilege’s for a year. Furthermore, Authorities will impound your vehicle for 180 days with fees of $15 per day. You must pay the financial fees in order to get your car out of the impound lot. Reinstating your license will cost $30 and reinstatement your car registration will cost $100. Also, you will face a court security surcharge.
What if I live in a No-fault State?
No-fault states limit lawsuits in regards to auto accidents where the at-fault driver doesn’t have auto insurance. The injured party(s) can only open a lawsuit against you if their injuries are significant and exceed the state’s threshold. Additionally, if the plaintiff (the injured party filing the lawsuit) has medical expenses exceeding a certain amount, they can open a case against you.
In the case that the plaintiff can file a lawsuit against you, you can sue you for all damages they suffered from the car accident including medical bills, lost wages, property damages, as well as pain and suffering.
If you did not have valid automobile insurance at the time of the accident, you can only receive certain types of compensation. You can’t recover non-economic damages like compensation for pain and suffering; however, you can still receive compensation for your medical bills.
The reasoning behind this rule is that if you don’t have the required auto insurance that could provide full compensation to another person, then you shouldn’t be able to claim the full benefits of someone else’s insurance if you’ve been the victim of a car accident.
I Didn’t Have Proof of My Insurance at the Accident
You should keep proof of insurance such as the policy ID card in your vehicle. Some states even allow you to show proof of insurance on your smartphone. However, if you cause an accident and can’t prove you have auto insurance, you may receive a citation. Legal authorities may remove this citation if you later provide proof of your insurance.
Were you or someone you know involved in a recent auto accident? Call Auto Accident Care Network now at 801-683-1948 to connect with a live care advocate. Our team at AACN can connect you to trusted attorneys and doctors to schedule a free legal consultation, a free thirty-minute massage, and a no-cost medical exam!