What To Do If You’re In a Car Accident Without Insurance But Not At Fault In North Dakota

Driving without insurance is a serious offense in North Dakota. You could lose your license if you’re in an accident while uninsured.
Written by Jason Tushinski
Reviewed by Pat Roache
background
If you’re involved in a car accident in North Dakota without insurance, you’ll likely find yourself in serious trouble. You’ll be able to claim damages so long as your proportion of the blame is 50% or less. However, you can still be held liable for a Class B misdemeanor that brings fines, license suspension, and possible jail time.
Car accidents bring enough stress as is, which is why no one needs the extra legal headache of being involved in a collision without
car insurance
. That said, many drivers on North Dakota’s roads remain uninsured. Here’s everything you need to know about what happens if you’re in a car accident without insurance but not at fault in North Dakota.

What to do if you’re in a car accident without insurance in North Dakota and not at fault

To start—it's a crime to drive in North Dakota without car insurance. If you’re
involved in a car accident
, the fact that you’re uninsured can get you into significant legal trouble on top of any accident-related injuries or vehicle damage you might suffer. Here’s what to do if you’re involved in an accident in North Dakota when uninsured.
First things first—don’t leave the scene of an accident. Pull over where it's safe to do so, and check yourself, any passengers, and anyone else involved in the accident for injuries, and call 911 if necessary. Exchange your information with any other drivers involved, including your driver’s license number. Take photographs to document the accident and to use as proof that you were not the cause of the accident.
You might have a strong urge to flee the scene if you don't have insurance, but this can get you into even more serious trouble with North Dakota hit-and-run charges. Here are the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident in North Dakota:
  • Fleeing the scene where property damage occurred is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,500.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident that causes injury due to negligence is a class C felony, and can result in up to 5 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
  • Fleeing an accident scene that involved alcohol and causes death is punishable as a class A felony resulting in up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $20,000.
Collecting damages in North Dakota may be difficult without insurance—even if you’re not at fault—as all drivers must use
personal injury protection
(PIP) coverage before attempting to recover damages from an at-fault driver.
North Dakota is also a No Pay No Play state, which limits the ability of uninsured drivers to pursue damages. Suppose you are convicted of driving without insurance. In that case, the No Pay No Play rule will prohibit you from collecting economic damages (such as for pain and suffering, accident-related stress) from another driver, even if you weren’t at fault.
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Who decides fault in a car accident in North Dakota?

While a police report may help insurers decide who is liable for an accident, ultimately, the insurers have the final say on who is at fault, not the police.
If you can file a claim with another driver’s insurance company for damages to cover medical costs, try to gather as much photographic evidence as possible of the other driver’s liability to help your claim. Photos can be a big help in determining that you were not at fault and should not be held responsible for the other driver’s damages.

Do you need to report a car accident in North Dakota?

You need to report a car accident to North Dakota police if there is a death or injury involved, or if property damage exceeds $4,000. 
If the accident occurs on a public highway, contact the North Dakota State Highway Patrol or county sheriff. If you're involved in an accident in a municipality, contact the local police department. If you’re involved in an accident with an undomesticated animal, and there is minimal damage to your vehicle, you don’t have to call the police.

What if you’re at fault?

If you’re involved in an accident in North Dakota and are at fault, the consequences will be severe. As a modified
comparative negligence law state
, you’ll be financially responsible for your portion of the other driver’s damages if you are deemed 50% or more 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. 
Aside from that, driving without car insurance in North Dakota is a class B misdemeanor, and carries mandatory fines between $150 to $5,000 (depending on whether this is your first or subsequent offense), up to 30 days in jail, and a $50 license reinstatement fee. You’ll also be required to
file an SR-22 form
with the state to prove financial responsibility before you’re allowed to drive again.
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What if you’re hit by an uninsured driver in North Dakota?

In North Dakota, all drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of uninsured/underinsured bodily injury (UMBI) coverage—UMBI covers your medical costs if you are insured and if you’re injured in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. You’re required to use this coverage first before pursuing an uninsured at-fault driver in court for any medical damages.
North Dakota does not require drivers to carry uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) coverage, but insurers must offer it. If a policyholder has UMPD, this coverage pays for vehicle damage (up to your policy limit) caused in an accident by an uninsured or underinsured driver. You can use
collision insurance
to cover the cost of any vehicle repairs needed after an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.

Minimum required car insurance in North Dakota

So, how much insurance are you required to carry in North Dakota? Here are the minimum requirements you’ll need to satisfy to get behind the wheel in the Peace Garden State:
  • $25,000 of
    bodily injury liability
    per person 
  • $50,000 of bodily injury liability per accident 
  • $25,000 of
    property damage liability
    per accident 
  • $25,000 of uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 of uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $30,000 personal injury protection (PIP)
Of course, these minimums are just that—minimums. Most experts recommend buying significantly more insurance than the minimums, to the tune of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident for bodily injury coverage, and $100,000 for property damage liability. Not only will these bigger amounts protect you from most accident circumstances, but they are also affordable to add to your policy.
Even though North Dakota does not require drivers to carry collision or comprehensive insurance, doing so is almost always a good idea.
Comprehensive coverage
protects your vehicle in case it is damaged due to extreme weather or animal damage, which can occur without warning in North Dakota.

Driving without insurance can increase premiums

While it may be financially tempting to drive without insurance, if you’re
caught driving without insurance
, this can significantly increase your future premium. Any accidents or violations will drive up your insurance rate, and that rate will remain high for as long as there are points on your driving record.
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