In most of the United States, it is illegal to drive a car without proper insurance. There are consequences for being caught without insurance that vary depending on where you are. Some states charge first-time offenders a fee of at least $100, while other states may sentence first-time offenders up to 90 days in jail. Not having coverage will also cost you more for the damages you caused and will restrict the claims you can make.
If you have car insurance but do not have proof of it with you during the time of the accident, you may get a citation for not having the paperwork with you. The citation may be dismissed if you are able to provide proof of insurance in court. In some states, you can show proof of insurance on your smartphone.
As a precautionary measure, you should keep your policy ID card in your car at all times.
What Happens if You Get Into a Car Accident Without Insurance
If You are Responsible for the Car Accident
If you are the driver responsible for the accident, you may be sued by the victim of the accident to cover the damages, medical expenses, as well as any emotional distress. You will also have to pay for any damages caused to your vehicle out of pocket.
Generally, an insurance provider would cover these costs and raise your minimum monthly payment for a period of time in exchange. However, that wouldn’t be an option in this case.
Depending on the severity of the accident, you may also have to report the accident to your state’s DMV.
If You are the Victim of a Car Accident
If you are the victim of a car accident, what you are allowed to sue the driver responsible for will be limited. You would go through with filing a third-party claim to the other driver’s insurance. In the event that the other driver is also uninsured, they would be personally responsible for fulfilling the claims.
Again, the laws vary from state to state. Some states have what is known as the “no pay, no play” law.
“No pay, no play” laws prevent victims without car insurance to sue for damages that aren’t quantified with a dollar amount. For example, physical pain and emotional distress would not be something an uninsured victim could sue the other driver for.
Additionally, uninsured drivers in “no pay, no play” states may also be charged with a large deductible towards repairs to their vehicle before they can go forward with suing the driver responsible for the accident.
States with “no pay, no play” laws:
- North Dakota
- New Jersey
Being in a car accident without insurance, regardless of whether you were responsible or the victim, will also raise the rates if you are to apply for coverage in the future.
Car insurance could save you thousands of dollars in an accident. It would cover the cost of damages and legal fees, however, your rate could still rise after being in an accident. Without proper coverage, you could have to sacrifice your assets if you aren’t able to pay for the damages and additional fees out of pocket.
Head on over to our blog for more free legal advice about personal injuries, including car accidents. If you are interested in learning more information about Freeman & Freeman or scheduling a free evaluation, please contact us. You deserve to know your rights and receive proper protection and we are here dedicated to assisting you every single step of the way.