It is illegal to drive a vehicle without valid insurance in most states in the U.S., with Virginia and New Hampshire being the only exceptions.
Whether it is mandatory in your state or not, carrying an insurance cover is an excellent way to protect yourself from liability. In other words, having an insurance cover means you will not have to pay the claimant from your pocket if you are responsible for causing a traffic accident.
What Happens When You Are Not at Fault?
If you are not at fault for the accident, you may be eligible for compensation even if you did not carry an insurance cover. However, your failure to carry an insurance cover may limit the amount of compensation you recover.
Most states follow the “no pay, no play rule.” This law argues that if the roles were reversed and you were the one at fault, you would not compensate the other driver since you are not covered, thus limiting the amount of compensation you can recover.
If you suspect someone else is to blame for injuries suffered in a crash, you may want to talk to a skilled car accident lawyer, such as Jeff Brody, from Finkelstein & Partners, to weigh your odds of recovering damages.
What Happens When You Are At Fault?
If you are at fault, you could find yourselves in a much bigger problem. Besides paying for the damages suffered by the other driver, you will have to deal with your damages, too, including medical bills and property damage.
Drivers in no-fault states can have a much easier time because they are only required to pay for their damages while the other driver recovers damages from their insurance provider. However, the at-fault driver may be required to compensate the other driver if damages exceed the other driver’s insurance coverage limits.
Steps To Take After a Car Accident
1. Seek Medical Help
Irrespective of your insurance coverage status, your health comes first after an accident. So, ensure you call 911 to alert Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), paramedics, and firefighters.
Calling 911 will also bring the police to the scene to file a report. The medical and the police report you obtain will be critical pieces of evidence in your case.
2. Gather All The Evidence You Can
Irrespective of who is at fault, it is essential to gather all the evidence you can at the accident. Evidence can be video footage of the scene, photos, witness statements and contacts, the other vehicle’s license plate number, and the other driver’s personal information.
This information can be very helpful to your lawyer when building your case. Even as you gather evidence, you must not admit fault; act or talk in a manner that implies fault.
3. Get a Skilled Lawyer
Causing an accident without insurance can have a huge toll on your finances if outcomes are not in your favor. It is best to have a lawyer with you to ensure your rights are protected and minimize the damages a case can cause.
If you are not at fault, it is also important to hire a lawyer to ensure that you recover what is rightfully yours under the circumstances.
4. Recover or Pay Out Damages
Once the claim follows due process, the last step is compensating the other driver for the damages caused if you were at fault in the accident. If the other driver was at fault, they or their insurance company would have to pay for your damages based on your circumstances.