What To Do if You’re in a Car Accident Without Insurance but Not At Fault in Arkansas

If you’re caught driving without insurance in Arkansas, you might face consequences that include hefty fines and a suspended license. Here are the details!
Written by Mary Alice Morris
Reviewed by Brittni Brinn
background
If you are involved in a car accident in
Arkansas
without the minimum insurance required by state law, you can face repercussions for not carrying coverage. If you are not at fault, your costs can be covered by the other driver’s insurance when you file a claim on their liability coverage, but you will still have to deal with the repercussions of driving without your own policy. 
If you don’t have car insurance coverage in Arkansas, hitting the road means taking a big risk, as the consequences of driving without it can be major. If you are involved in an accident, those consequences make an already scary situation even more stressful. 
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What to do if you’re in a car accident without insurance in Arkansas and not at fault

It is illegal to
drive without insurance
in Arkansas without insurance, so even if you are not found at fault in an accident, you will still face legal consequences for not having coverage.
If you have been in a
car accident
and don’t have insurance, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to mitigate some of the stress of the situation.
The first thing to remember: stay on the scene. While you may be worried about the consequences of not having insurance, the repercussions of leaving the scene of an accident (also known as a hit-and-run) are severe, and can make the situation much worse:
  • If the accident results in property damage of less than $10,000, leaving the scene of an accident is considered a Class A misdemeanor.
  • If the accident results in property damage that amounts to more than $10,000, or death or injury, this is considered a Class D felony, punishable by a maximum of six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
So, you definitely do not want to leave after an accident, no matter what the state of your insurance is. Here’s what you should do:
  • If the accident results in property damage: Stop the vehicle as close to the scene of the accident as possible without being in the way of traffic. Then, call 911 if necessary and your car insurance provider. Make sure to exchange information with the other driver or drivers, including, name, address,
    vehicle registration
    numbers, and
    car insurance
  • If the accident results in injury or death: Call emergency services as soon as you are in a safe place near the scene. You will need to wait until the police officers and medical help arrive. You will still also have to exchange the required information and report the accident
It is also a good idea to document the accident with any photos, witness statements, and any other evidence that can help you show that you weren’t at fault. 
The next steps will depend on who is at fault in the accident, and whether or not they have insurance coverage.
If the other driver is responsible and has insurance, then you will be able to file a claim through their
liability coverage
for any property damage or medical bills. If the other driver is at-fault and doesn’t have car insurance, you can file a personal injury lawsuit for the costs of repairs, medical bills, and other economic damages. 
If you are at fault but don’t have insurance, you will still need to accept financial responsibility—more on that later. 
In some states, those who are uninsured cannot sue for their own injuries in these events, even if they are not at fault. In Arkansas, though, this is not the case, and you can file a suit for pain and suffering or any long-term effects of the accident.

Who decides fault in a car accident in Arkansas?

There are two parties who can make the final determination for who is at fault in an accident in Arkansas: your insurance company, and courts of law. This will depend on when and if litigation is necessary for your accident. Oftentimes, the decision of the insurance company will be enough. 
Both the police report and any evidence you gather can help your insurance company determine liability. That includes photos and videos, witness statements, and expert input. Keep in mind though, that the insurance company ultimately decides who is at fault, and it may sometimes contradict the police report. 
If the other driver is at-fault and you do not have insurance, you can present the evidence that you collect when you file a claimwith their insurance company. 

Do you need to report a car accident in Arkansas? 

The answer to the question of whether or not you need to report a car accident in Arkansas depends on the property damage or injury that results. You are legally required to report the accident only if:
  • The accident results in property damage in an amount of more than $1,000
  • The accident results in bodily injury or death of one of the parties
If either of these cases occurs, you must report the accident to the Arkansas Office of Driver Services within 30 days. It is also best to report the accident to the police as soon as possible after the accident.
MORE: Arkansas reckless driving

What if you’re at fault?

If you are found at fault in the accident and you are uninsured, the situation gets a little more complicated. 
Because Arkansas is a
modified comparative negligence
state, you’ll be financially responsible for your portion of the other driver’s damages if you are deemed more than 50% negligent for the accident. If you don’t have insurance, the not-at-fault driver can file a lawsuit against you to recover these damages. 
Arkansas law requires at-fault drivers to accept financial responsibility for the damages and injuries caused by the accident. If you are in an accident without insurance and found entirely at fault and cause $25,000 worth of damage, you will have to pay that $25,000 out-of-pocket. The other driver may also be able to sue for damages and injuries if you are not able to cover the costs. 
Then, there are the additional penalties you will face for driving uninsured. In Arkansas, those include: 
  • A ticket for driving without insurance
  • Suspended registration
  • Removal of your license plates
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • A fine assigned by a judge

What if you’re hit by an uninsured driver in Arkansas?

On the other hand, what happens if you are involved in an accident and have insurance, but find that the other driver does not? That, again, boils down to who is at fault. 
If the other driver is responsible but doesn’t have coverage, you may have to have them pay for your costs directly or file a lawsuit to get that money. This can be a stressful and time-consuming process, which is why many opt for additional coverage on their own policies that can help out in events like this.   
When you purchase a car insurance policy in Arkansas, your provider is required to offer you a few other coverage options, which include: 
You can decline them in writing, but having these on your policy can help cover your medical costs and property damage in the event that you are in an accident with a driver who does not have liability insurance for you to lean on. 
You can also opt for
medical payments (MedPay)
coverage, which can be called upon to cover your hospital bills up to the selected limits. Plus, if you add
collision coverage
to your policy, you can file a claim with your insurance company for car repairs. 

Penalties for driving without insurance in Arkansas

Even though you can file a claim with the other driver's insurance to cover your costs if they are found at fault, you will still face penalties for driving without insurance in Arkansas. 
The exact punishment will depend on how many offenses you have incurred. For the first offense, the fine may be anywhere from $50 to $250. For the second offense, it goes up to $250 to $500. When it comes to the third offense and subsequent ones, there is a mandatory fine of between $500 and $1,000, and you could face up to one year in jail. 
Whether it’s the first or third offense, you will face license plate removal and registration suspension. Plus, you will have to pay a $20.00 reinstatement fee to get your registration back and provide
proof of insurance
or an
Arkansas SR-22
An SR-22 certificate is a form that proves financial responsibility, and it is required after major driving offenses. And while it can help you get your driving privileges reinstated, it will increase your insurance premiums. 
If an accident is involved, you will also face vehicle impoundment and have to pay towing and storage fees. 
The only way to avoid these consequences is by being proactive. Make sure you have an insurance policy that meets the
required state minimum
before you hit the road so that you don’t have to deal with the fallout. You cannot purchase insurance after you are caught driving without it and expect that to help.
However, if you just didn't have proof of your insurance policy at the time, but you were covered then you can appear in court with proof of your policy and may only have to pay a small administrative fee. 
MORE: The penalties for using fake proof of insurance

Minimum required car insurance in Arkansas

So, what coverage do you need to meet the
minimum requirements in Arkansas
? You only need liability coverage that is in accordance with the 25/50/25 rule: 
Keep in mind that if you only carry the minimum and if you are involved in an accident in which you are at fault that results in damages or injuries that exceed these limits, you will still be responsible for the additional costs. For that reason, it’s a good idea to have a policy with higher coverage limits. 
You may also opt for more comprehensive protection in the form of additional coverage. That may include uninsured motorist coverage, comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, and more.
MORE: Everything you need to know about Arkansas’s texting and driving laws

Driving without insurance can increase premiums

Even after you take care of the fines, the paperwork, and all the other immediate consequences of being caught driving without insurance, there is one long-term repercussion that will follow you after: your insurance rates will go up, and stay that way as long as it's on your driving record
If the cost of insurance has kept you from crossing getting coverage off your list, there’s good news: insurance can be affordable—and far more affordable than the consequences of not having it. 
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