Here’s What Happens if You’re in a Car Accident Without Insurance and At Fault
If you’re in an at-fault car accident without insurance, you’ll have to pay out of pocket to cover damages and injuries to the other driver and you may face fines and other penalties, as well.
While insurance is mandated in most states, two states—New Hampshire and Virginia—do not require it. Still, driving uninsured isn’t worth it. Any cost savings you might get from not paying for insurance in the present moment can be obliterated if you’re in an accident.
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Read on to find out more about what could happen if you’re in an at-fault accident when you’re uninsured.
- Getting in an accident without insurance in a state that requires insurance
- You’re in an accident state with no-fault insurance
- You’re in an accident in a state that doesn’t require insurance
- Affordable insurance with Jerry
Getting in an accident without insurance in a state that requires insurance
If you’re caught driving uninsured in any state other than New Hampshire or Virginia, here are just some of the penalties you might face:
- License suspension
- License revocation
- Jail time
You’re deemed at fault in an accident in a state requiring insurance
If you’re uninsured, involved in an accident, and deemed at fault in that accident, you are in deep trouble.
Not only will you face potentially heavy fines for driving uninsured, but you’ll be responsible for any damages and/or injuries suffered by the other driver. You’re also vulnerable to being sued by that other driver.
You’re at fault but you have no money
Even if you have very little or no money, you can still be sued by the other driver if you’re at fault in an accident.
If you can’t pay damages awarded to the other driver, you could be subject to wage garnishment. In this case, your employer is required by court order to withhold your earnings for payment of a debt—in this case, for damages awarded to the other driver.
Other driver at fault in a state requiring insurance
Even in such a circumstance, you’re limited in what you can collect from the at-fault driver if you don’t have insurance. To add insult to injury, you’ll still be penalized for driving uninsured.
You’re in an accident state with no-fault insurance
If you’re deemed at fault in a state with no-fault insurance, each party goes to their own insurer for damages.
In a severe case, you may be forced to pay damages to the other driver. If you’re uninsured, you’d have to pay those damages out of pocket.
MORE: In a no-fault state, who will pay for my damages if I’m in an auto accident and don’t have insurance?
You’re in an accident in a state that doesn’t require insurance
If you’re uninsured and involved in an accident in New Hampshire or Virginia, you’re not in a good spot. Just because these two states don’t require insurance doesn’t mean there can’t be severe consequences for both parties involved in an accident.
Deemed at fault in a state not requiring insurance
If you’re in an accident and deemed at fault in one of these two states, you’ll be responsible for damages to the other driver’s vehicle and medical expenses if they’re injured. The other driver can also sue you—and since you aren’t insured, guess who’s responsible for those legal fees? You.
If the accident is especially severe, it will be reported to the state DMV, at which point you could lose your license or worse.
As is hopefully obvious, the financial consequences of driving uninsured can be severe—even in a state that doesn’t require car insurance.
Key Takeaway Even if your state doesn’t require insurance, being deemed at fault in a serious accident means you could lose your license.
Deemed not at fault in a state not requiring insurance
Even in the “best” case scenario where you are not at fault, you still may be on the hook to pay for damages to your own vehicle if the other driver also isn’t insured.
You could file a third-party claim against the at-fault driver, but beware of the state’s statute of limitations. You won’t be able to wait forever before deciding to take the other driver to court in an attempt to win damages.
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Frequently asked questions
Is it worth suing an uninsured driver?
It depends. If your damages and injuries are severe and you are legally advised to pursue the other driver, it may be worth it to you. If you’re thinking about suing, always consult a lawyer to determine the best course of action.
How do I deal with an accident with no insurance?
Dealing with an accident without insurance isn’t easy.
If you live in a state other than New Hampshire or Virginia, you could be penalized for driving without insurance, adding insult to injury. If you’re in an accident and at fault, you are vulnerable to covering the other driver’s expenses out of pocket, which can be financially crippling.
Even if you’re deemed not at fault, you will be limited in what you can collect from the at-fault party, which could leave you facing a significant financial burden.
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