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What Happens If the At-Fault Party Doesn’t Have Car Insurance?

Getting into an accident is bad enough. Discovering the at-fault driver does not have car insurance is even worse. This can cause an already catastrophic incident to become even more overwhelming. Who will pay for property damage and injuries? The good news is that there are simple and easy ways to resolve this problem. However, it all comes down to your insurance coverage and the feasibility of a lawsuit.

Legal Considerations

In most states, driving without car insurance is illegal. Consequently, expect law enforcement officers to get involved. When this happens, there’s a high likelihood that the person could leave the scene in handcuffs and in the back of a police car. The odds of this increase if someone suffers injuries, someone dies or the at-fault driver caused a lot of property damage.

Repercussions for the Uninsured At-Fault Driver

Likely legal repercussions include suspensions and potential jailtime. However, someone willing to drive without insurance might also have no second thoughts about driving without a license. In catastrophic cases, particularly those involving intoxication or deaths, prosecutors might seek criminal charges. Examples of criminal charges include DUIs or even manslaughter.

Personal Injury Litigation Options

Note that even if a criminal case follows, this is separate from your personal injury case. You may proceed with a lawsuit even if the responsible person is behind bars. Personal injury attorneys help determine whether you have a feasible case and how to move forward. Experienced attorneys also help you gauge whether it’s better to wait for a criminal case to play out or proceed before it does.

Note that, even if your insurance policy is from a no-fault state, the jurisdiction the accident occurs in usually determines whether you can sue and under what conditions. Because the at-fault driver does not have car insurance, if you win the lawsuit, he or she will likely need to pay out of pocket. Some courts might even force the liquidation of assets to facilitate this.

Quite often, the uninsured person is a minor. In these instances, the court might hold their legal guardians fiscally responsible for the damages caused. If the adult has an insurance policy, a personal injury attorney might argue that the insurance coverage should extend to minors in the household.

Insurance Coverage Review

When determining how to pay for medical bills and property damage, take a good look at your insurance coverage. In some cases, your own insurance policy might cover the bills.

Auto Insurance Location

Some states in America operate on an at-fault auto insurance basis while others use a no-fault approach. In at-fault insurance states, in the event of an accident, the insurance company of the at-fault driver becomes responsible for medical injuries. No-fault states require drivers to apply for compensation from their own insurance coverage.

When an at-fault driver has no auto insurance in a tort state, it creates complexities for determining financial liability for injuries. If you happen to have insurance from a no-fault state, even if the accident occurs in a tort state, you might have the opportunity to seek compensation from your insurance policy.

Auto Insurance Coverage

When it comes to no-fault insurance, some states require this coverage while other states allow drivers to opt into it. This type of insurance relies on personal injury protection insurance. It covers the cost of hospital bills, medical expenses, funeral costs and income loss from the inability to work. This coverage may also cover the driver and family members as pedestrians and cyclists in traffic incidents.

Unfortunately, no-fault insurance does not cover vehicle damage. Standard practice is to rely on the at-fault driver’s liability policy. In the absence of this, drivers need uninsured driver coverage to pay for the damages. Most states do not require this coverage, but many drivers carry it because of the high rate of uninsured drivers. Mississippi has the highest rate of uninsured drivers in America at almost 30%.

Drivers also have the option of using collision coverage to pay for damages. Collision coverage is usually a viable option, regardless of who caused the accident. Some collision coverage add-ons also include rental cars. This reimburses drivers for the cost of renting a car while their vehicles undergo repairs.

Moving Forward

If you suffered serious injuries, recovery can feel like an uphill battle. Uncertainty over how to pay for medical expenses and lost income can add to the pressure. An experienced personal injury attorney can relieve this burden by focusing on pursuing possible routes for compensation while you focus on recovery. Contact the team at Fielding Law to discuss your options.