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

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When an accident occurs, and the at-fault party does not have car insurance, the victim can be in serious financial trouble. This is why carrying uninsured motorist coverage on your policy can prove invaluable. 

This type of coverage steps in to pay for medical bills when involved parties lack insurance. Additionally, collision coverage can also mitigate damages occurring from such incidents.

Due to the sheer complexity of the situation, it’s vital to know your legal options if you’ve been in an accident involving uninsured parties.  

How Common Are Uninsured Driver Accidents?

Despite bodily injury liability and other types of insurance being a legal requirement across most states, uninsured drivers, and uninsured driver accidents, are surprisingly common:

  • There are around 29 million uninsured motorists in the U.S. [1]
  • Approximately 1 in every 8 drivers on the road doesn’t carry car insurance. [2]
  • In Mississippi, nearly one-third of all motorists (29.4%) were driving without coverage in 2019. [2]
  • Michigan followed close behind with a rate of 25.5% uninsured motorists in 2019, showcasing how prevalent the issue is. [2]
  • In Illinois, the estimated proportion of drivers without insurance was around 11.8% for that same year. [2]
  • It’s estimated that about 14% of U.S. drivers were uninsured in 2022. [3]

These figures underscore a persistent issue on our roads where a significant number of accidents involve uninsured or underinsured drivers. 

Immediate Steps to Take After a Car Accident

After being involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver, it’s essential to take immediate steps not only for your safety but also to protect your legal rights:

Report the Accident to the Police

The first thing you should do is report the accident to law enforcement. A police report is crucial as it serves as a factual record and can be instrumental in any insurance claims or lawsuits.

Seek Medical Attention

After a car accident, it’s common for many drivers to overlook the importance of seeking immediate medical attention. 

Most drivers may feel fine initially and choose not to visit a doctor, but injuries from collisions can often have delayed symptoms because of shock and adrenaline. The best course of action is always to get evaluated by medical professionals as soon as possible following any vehicle accident.

Notify Your Insurance Company

Inform your insurer right away, mentioning that the other party lacks coverage from a car insurance policy. This detail significantly influences how your claim will be handled. 

Gather Information from the Driver

Exchange information with the other driver involved, such as full name, contact information, and vehicle description. Also, get the other driver’s license plate number and write down details about the vehicle.

Review Your Insurance Policy

Examine your own insurance company plan for uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, which is designed to step in and cover losses caused by an uninsured at-fault driver.

Avoid Quick Financial Arrangements

Resist making or accepting any on-the-spot payments with the other driver; such actions can lead to complications later in the legal process. 

For expert advice following an incident with an uninsured driver, it’s essential to consult with an attorney who understands these particular types of accidents and uninsured motorist coverage. An experienced lawyer can outline a strategy for navigating through claims or possible litigation following your accident. 

What Options Do You Have When Injured by an Uninsured Driver?

When dealing with injuries caused by a driver without insurance, it’s crucial to review the options available for covering your property damage and medical treatment costs, among other losses and damages. 

Despite the lack of insurance coverage from the at-fault party, there are remedies that could help alleviate your financial burden. 

So, what happens if the person at fault in an accident has no insurance? 

Having your own uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage is a critical element of your auto insurance company policy that safeguards you when hit by a driver lacking sufficient insurance. 

This portion of your insurance policy steps in to fund vehicle repair costs, medical expenses, and possibly even lost wages due to serious injuries from an accident. If you have collision coverage, this could help you get necessary repairs for vehicle damage caused by the other driver.

It’s vital not to delay filing your uninsured motorist claim with the insurance provider, as there may be time constraints that require claims to be handled promptly after an accident. 

If the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, and you lack coverage yourself for such situations–or your existing insurance doesn’t adequately cover all incurred damages–another viable option could be to file a lawsuit directly against the negligent driver.

Taking legal action can potentially compensate for damages that won’t be covered by a car insurance company. However, it’s important to consider the financial state of the defendant; even if an award is won in court, the reality is that they may not have sufficient assets or the financial ability to pay you. 

What Happens If You Have No Insurance But the Other Driver Was At Fault?

Being involved in car accidents when you lack car insurance coverage can present complications, even if the other driver was at fault.

Depending on your state’s laws, driving without car insurance could lead to legal consequences such as fines or license suspensions. Additionally, your uninsured status might also influence any compensation claims made following an incident caused by another party. Understanding the potential consequences and how this affects your claim is essential.

If you’re involved in an accident while uninsured, the specific consequences can vary drastically by state.

In Illinois, you may face a $500 fine and potential suspension of your driver’s license for up to three months. Indiana imposes similar measures with fines up to $250 and suspensions as long as 90 days. 

Kentucky enforces stricter penalties—fines can be imposed in the amount of $500 with potential jail time of up to 90 days and registration suspensions lasting for as long as a year. Missouri’s penalty stands at a minimal $20 fine and driving privileges may be suspended until valid proof of car insurance coverage is provided. 

In Michigan, getting caught driving without car insurance can lead to a fine of up to $200, and drivers run the risk of license suspension for as long as 30 days. They can even face jail time up to one year. 

In Wisconsin, the fines for an uninsured driver involved in an accident can reach $500, though there is no license suspension or possible jail time.

In many states, your ability to collect damages is impacted if you don’t have insurance, typically through laws known as “no pay, no play” laws. These laws focus on discouraging individuals from driving without adequate insurance by limiting their capacity to seek compensation if they experience injuries in an incident where another insured driver is at fault.

No pay, no play laws don’t prohibit uninsured drivers from pursuing rewards for economic harm such as medical costs or damage repair, but they do present a major roadblock when it comes time to demand compensation for non-economic suffering like pain and distress. 

These laws vary by state. 

In Indiana, if an individual is involved in a motor vehicle accident caused by another party and sustains bodily injury or property, they are generally not barred from recovering damages like costs for medical treatment or auto repairs. 

However, state law does prohibit recovery of non-economic damages like pain and suffering if the injured party is uninsured and has a previous violation. If you were uninsured and in an accident, it’s a good idea to speak with an Indiana car accident lawyer experienced in claims involving an uninsured driver. 

Missouri takes a similar stance to Indiana regarding compensation for an uninsured motorist. In Missouri, an individual who was operating their vehicle without auto insurance at the time of a motor vehicle accident can pursue claims covering economic expenses—these include incurred medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.

However, uninsured victims cannot file claims for any non-economic damages. Ultimately, the best way to determine what you’re entitled to is to speak with a Missouri car accident attorney right away. 

Michigan stands out for its particularly stringent approach toward uninsured drivers involved in accidents. If an individual suffers injuries in a vehicle accident and fails to comply with state-mandated auto insurance regulations at the time of their incident, they typically cannot recover economic or non-economic damages from the at-fault driver. 

If you end up in this position, contact a Michigan car accident attorney as soon as possible. 

While some states are no-pay, no-play, most aren’t—meaning you can still receive a payout if someone else causes the accident, but you don’t have insurance. 

For example, Illinois is not a no-pay, no-play state. This means that being uninsured doesn’t preclude drivers involved in accidents where another party is at fault from receiving compensation for damages—including non-economic losses.

While many states still provide a pathway to obtain compensation for accident-related expenses even if you are uninsured, driving without insurance is risky and simply isn’t a good idea. 

Whether you’re in an accident with an uninsured negligent party or you’re the one driving without insurance coverage, it’s crucial to seek guidance from legal professionals.

Request a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Uninsured Motorist Case!

Jonathan Rosenfeld, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer

Navigating the aftermath of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver can be overwhelming and confusing. Understanding your own insurance coverage and getting appropriate compensation in such scenarios requires professional help.

Having uninsured motorist coverage gives you a safety net, but that doesn’t make negotiating with an insurance company any easier when you have to file a claim against your own policy.

That’s where Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers comes in⁠. With a thorough understanding of both uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, our team will negotiate on your behalf to ensure you get the full benefits available under your insurance policy. 

If necessary, we will help you file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. If you’ve been in an accident, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule your free consultation. 

Call Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers at (888) 424-5757 or contact us online today to find out how we can help you.

Resources: [1] Value Penguin, [2] Insurance Information Institute, [3] Insurance Research Council

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