All drivers in California are required to carry car insurance. If you cause an accident, your liability auto insurance covers any injury-related costs incurred by the other party. Your UIM or PIP coverage can be used to pay for your losses, regardless of fault. Failing to carry these coverages could mean that you cover all accident-related expenses out-of-pocket.
If you cause an accident and don’t have insurance, you could face heavy penalties. You could also harm your chances of compensation if you weren’t at fault and got injured. Here is everything you need to know about what to do in a car accident without insurance.
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Driving Without Insurance
As mentioned, all drivers in California are required to carry insurance. Simply put, it is illegal to drive in the state if you are uninsured. You could face hefty fines, penalties, and a civic liability if you cause an accident. You could even face a possible license suspension.
Besides these obvious repercussions, driving without insurance can affect your compensation claim in several ways. Common scenarios include:
If You Live in a Tort State
States like California that do not follow the no-fault system are called tort states. If you cause an accident in a tort state, the injured party can sue you for damages related to the accident. This could include medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering.
You could still be held liable for damages if you cause an accident and do not have insurance. Ideally, you might be forced to make these payments out of pocket. The court could offer you several options, including garnishing your wages.
Paying damages out of pocket is expensive. It could set you back hundreds or thousands of dollars in legal fees and reimbursement. If you fail to make the payments, you could be held in contempt of court.
If You Were Not at Fault
California is one of several states that applies a ‘No Pay, No Play’ rule. You might be eligible for compensation in situations where the other driver caused the accident. However, if you had no insurance coverage at the time of the accident, your case could be subject to certain restrictions.
Under the ‘No Pay, No Play’ rule, you are limited in the types of damages you can receive if you did not have valid auto insurance at the time of the accident. You could pursue economic damages but cannot recover non-economic losses like pain and suffering, mental trauma, and loss of consortium.
Talk to a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer
If you are sued for a car accident and don’t have insurance, you could be forced to pay the settlement out of pocket. On the other hand, if you were injured, you could face a hard time recovering compensation for your losses. This is why it is important to discuss what to do in a car accident without insurance with an expert attorney.
Not having insurance presents a problematic but workable case. If you find yourself in this situation, contact us to discuss your case with an expert Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyers.