Nearly every U.S. state requires drivers to have auto insurance, and drivers who don’t carry insurance may face penalties. If you’ve been in a situation where a crash occurred and you didn’t have insurance, here’s what you need to know.
Take the same steps at the scene that you ordinarily would.
Start by addressing safety and health. Move vehicles and people to safety if you can, use vehicle lights and flares to warn oncoming traffic, and call 911 or your local emergency number if any injuries have occurred. Get contact information for others involved in the accident and for any witnesses. As in any accident, you should get prompt medical care if you suspect injury. Seeing a doctor as soon as possible improves your chances of a more complete recovery from your injuries.
If you’ve been in an accident without insurance, you may be hesitant to take these steps. You may even have the urge to leave the scene. Leaving the scene of an accident, however, is a crime in many states. It is better to face the penalties of driving without insurance than to compound the problem by leaving.
Understand your state’s vehicle accident laws.
In no-fault auto insurance states, those injured in car accidents typically cannot sue another party, even if that party caused the accident, unless the injured person’s losses meet certain thresholds. Therefore, if you were injured, you may not be able to recovery for your damages. If you were injured and you need compensation but have no insurance, contacting the other party’s insurance company may help you determine whether they have coverage for bodily injuries or property damage caused in an accident.
In an at-fault auto insurance state, also known as a “tort” state, you can recover for your injuries from the driver that caused the accident even if you do not have insurance. Conversely, if you caused the accident, you may face a lawsuit no matter how minor the other person’s injuries or damages. In both at-fault and no-fault states, if you are sued and held liable, you may be responsible for paying the judgment that results. Between medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and other losses, the total judgment amount may be quite high.
If you were injured in the accident, it’s wise to talk to a lawyer to help handle paperwork and other issues. For example, if you need to file a claim with the insurance company of the driver who hit you, your attorney can handle that process so that you can focus on getting better and take care of your family.
Prepare for other penalties you may face.
Since most states require some form of auto insurance, you may also face penalties like fines for failing to comply with the law. Regardless of the state you live in, having insurance is in everyone’s interest, not just yours.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced car accident lawyer. At the Folger Law Firm we are dedicated to helping our clients seek the compensation they deserve. We work on a contingency basis, so you won’t pay fees unless we recover for you. Contact us today to learn more.