Statistics from a few years ago found that one in seven drivers on the road have no car insurance at all. Being involved in an auto accident is traumatic enough, but if the at-fault driver does not have car insurance, the whole situation can feel like a complete nightmare.
Determining fault and figuring out who is going to pay for damages are two factors to examine after a car accident with no insurance by one of the parties.
Protect Yourself from Uninsured Drivers
While most states have laws concerning insurance coverage, many drivers may not be able to afford the cost, especially during downturns in the economy. Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage are options you should have to protect yourself. In fact, some states like California require all drivers to carry this type of coverage. Individuals involved in an accident with an uninsured driver (or even those who are underinsured) are vulnerable to substantial expenses.
Uninsured motorist coverage means that if the other driver does not have insurance, your insurance company will compensate you for your losses even if the accident is their fault.
Legal Penalties for Car Accidents with No Insurance
Car accidents involving drivers with no insurance are a great danger to all other drivers – and pedestrians. Drivers caught operating a vehicle without valid insurance may be fined $100-$200 for a first offense, and between $200-$500 for a second offense.
Additionally, the car may be impounded and towed away in which case it will not be released until the uninsured party obtains coverage and pays all towing and storage fees.
In California, the license may be suspended up to four years. This can happen whether the uninsured driver is at fault or not. Drivers may be able to get their license reinstated after one year if they obtain valid insurance, provide proof of it at the DMV, and pay a reissuance fee.
Civil Costs for an Accident without Insurance
The at-fault party in an accident is responsible for the cost of all resulting damage. This includes damage to all vehicles involved, medical costs for injuries to all parties, and damage public and private property such as street signs and lights, bus stop fixtures, store fronts, etc.
Uninsured coverage does not mean that an individual will be free from paying for their part in the accident. The insurance company paying out the uninsured coverage will likely sue the responsible party to recover their costs.