Were You In A Car Accident Without Insurance, But You’re Not at Fault?
Car accidents occur all the time, especially in big cities like New York. A car accident is an experience that nobody wants to go through. There are many things that you have to take into account and then getting compensation for your damages can be complicated in some cases.
Fortunately, most people can receive compensation from their insurance companies for their injuries and other damages. But, what happens if you get involved in a car accident with no insurance, but you were not at fault? The answer to this question depends on the laws of the state where you live.
In some states, you will be able to recover compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company, whereas in other states you will have to pay for your accident-related expenses out of your own pocket. Keep in mind that even if you were not at fault, you can still face penalties for driving without an insurance policy.
The severity of the penalties will vary depending on the regulations in each state, but they often range from fines to jail time.
Is it illegal to drive without Insurance?
In most states, it is illegal to drive without auto insurance. Auto insurance demonstrates financial responsibility in the event of a car collision, which is required in all states. States that do not require auto insurance as financial responsibility evidence, require drivers to prove with assets that they can pay for damages or medical bills in case they get involved in a car accident.
Due to the importance of having auto insurance, individuals that do not carry auto insurance can face different penalties. For example, in New York, fines can range from $50 up to $2,000. The amount of money will increase if the motorist has more convictions for the same reason, or has been involved in a car accident.
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can revoke the uninsured driver’s license and vehicle registration for up to one year. Additionally, the uninsured motorist will have to pay $750 to the DMV to restore their license. Finally, you could also face jail time that can range from 15 days up to one year.
Imprisonment does not normally apply for a first offense but if you have more than one uninsured driving conviction you can possibly face jail time.
Is an uninsured driver automatically at fault after a car accident?
No, even if you carry no auto insurance, fault will always be determined by the events that lead to the accident. However, if you are at fault the consequences will most likely be worse. Even if you are not at fault, you could still be penalized or you will have to pay for your own damages out of your own pocket.
Can an uninsured driver receive compensation for a car accident injury?
If the uninsured driver is not liable for the accident, it is possible to recover compensation for their medical expenses, property damage, emotional distress, and other out-of-pocket expenditures. However, depending on the rules and regulations of each state, this can be more complicated in some states than others.
Similarly, the damages that can be recovered will vary in each legislation.
Who pays for a car accident if I don’t have insurance and I’m not at fault?
In states where the negligent driver has to pay for all accident-related expenses, you can file a claim with their insurance company or you can initiate a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party.
In a lawsuit, the judge may award the plaintiff compensation for their medical expenditures, property damage, lost wages, emotional distress, and other damages. On the other hand, in no-fault states, like New York, the law indicates that each driver has to file a claim with their own insurance company to recover compensation from their own damages.
Every driver must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. This insurance policy pays for medical bills, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses, regardless of who is at fault. Therefore, the uninsured motorist will have to pay for their own accident-related expenditures.
An accident victim can only step out of the “no-fault” system and file a personal injury lawsuit if they can demonstrate that their injuries are severe.
Car accident without insurance and not-at-fault: Can I sue?
In “at-fault” states you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. Keep in mind that if you go to court, you will most likely need the representation of an experienced personal injury attorney.
In “no-fault” states, like New York, you need to meet the requirements to step out of the no-fault system. For example, New York State laws allow car accident victims to file a lawsuit if they suffer a severe injury.
Here is a list of injuries considered serious:
- A fracture
- Loss of a limb
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss of a body organ, function, or system
- Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
- A significant limitation of the use of a body function or system
- Medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature that prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment
- Significant disfigurement
What should I do after a car accident?
No matter if you have auto insurance or not, after a car accident it is crucial to keep calm, gather as much evidence as possible and contact a car accident lawyer. Every car accident is different, therefore it is important to seek professional legal assistance. An experienced attorney will be able to help you get the best outcome possible. At Greenberg & Stein P.C., our lawyers have dealt with all kinds of car accident cases. No case is too small or too big for us. We are fully committed to assisting our clients to receive fair compensation for their injuries. If you have recently been involved in a car accident, do not hesitate in contacting us. Call us at 212-68-2535 to schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers to review your case.