What to Do if You’re in a Car Accident Without Insurance but Not at Fault in Oklahoma

If you drive without car insurance in Oklahoma, you could face 30 days in jail.
Written by Mary Alice Morris
Reviewed by Jessa Claeys
background
Driving without car insurance is extremely risky, and in
Oklahoma
, you could face steep penalties if you’re caught. But if you’re not at fault for an accident you’re involved in, you may be able to collect compensation for damages you suffer—even if you aren’t insured. 
If you think you can slide by without
car insurance
, think again. Getting pulled over or being involved in a car crash is stressful for anyone—even those with car insurance. But without coverage, it’s a potential legal nightmare. 
Read on to find out what to expect after an accident while uninsured, as well as how to get (and stay) on the right side of the law.

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

Let’s be perfectly clear—it is against the law to drive without car insurance coverage in Oklahoma. It puts other drivers at risk of a lengthy financial catastrophe if you’re at fault, and it puts you at risk of going to jail, losing your license, and more. 
But if you are involved in an accident in Oklahoma and you don’t have car insurance coverage, here’s what to do.
First of all, just stay put. Do not flee the scene. You should only move your vehicle if it’s still driveable and you need to get to a safer location out of the way of traffic. For instance, if you’re in a fender bender in the middle of the street, it is okay to pull over onto the curb if you can. 
But don’t leave the scene of the accident. It will only make a bad situation worse. Here are the possible consequences you could face for committing a hit-and-run in Oklahoma:
  • If a vehicle is damaged but no injuries are caused, you could be guilty of a misdemeanor attached to a $500 fine and up to one year in jail.
  • If you flee an accident that results in a non-fatal injury, it’s a felony with steeper penalties, including a $1,000 fine and up to two years in prison.
  • If the accident results in a death, you could face a felony charge that carries penalties including up to $10,000 in fines and up to 10 years in prison.
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The bottom line is, if you’re in an accident without insurance coverage in Oklahoma, stay there and do what you would do if you had insurance. Once your vehicle is in a safe location, check yourself and your passengers for injuries, and check on anyone else involved in the accident. 
If necessary, call 911 for medical assistance or to control traffic while inoperable vehicles are moved from the roadway. Also, document the accident. Take photos and make notes of what exactly happened. 
Information collected immediately after the accident can help you establish that you were not the driver at fault. And if you weren’t at fault, and the other party in the accident has car insurance, you can still file a claim for your damages. 
For a time, Oklahoma was a “No Pay, No Play” state. That meant that drivers without insurance involved in an accident were prohibited from claiming non-economic damages like pain and suffering unless the other party was proven to be intoxicated. Today, many states follow the “No Pay, No Play” rule, but in 2014, Oklahoma’s Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. 
That means if you’re not at fault, you can claim economic and non-economic damages, even if you didn’t have the legally required amount of insurance coverage. 
MORE: Oklahoma Car Accident Laws

Who decides fault in a car accident in Oklahoma?

Documenting the accident with photos and detailed notes can help establish who was at fault, but be mindful that other parties involved will document the accident, too. If law enforcement responds to your accident, their documentation can also help determine who was at fault. 
But when it comes to insurance claims, the
insurance adjuster
will ultimately determine who shares what percent of the blame. That means it’s the insurance company that determines fault in an accident. This is why your documentation is so important. 
After an accident in which you’re not at fault, you will
file a claim
with the other party’s insurance company. This claim should include evidence you’ve gathered, such as photographs, that indicate the other driver’s liability. This evidence can also help you avoid being held responsible for the other driver’s expenses. 

Do you need to report a car accident in Oklahoma? 

In many cases, you are required to report your accident in Oklahoma. But not every accident needs reported. If you’re in a minor vehicle accident that causes less than $300 in damage to either car, you and the other driver can simply exchange your information and begin the insurance claims process. 
However, if there is an injury or fatality resulting from the accident, you are required by law to report it immediately to law enforcement. 
If the accident causes no injuries but does cause more than $300 worth of damage, you don’t need to report it immediately. However, you do need to make a report to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety in writing within six months of the accident. 
And regardless of the extent of damages or injuries, Oklahoma law requires you to exchange the following information with the other party:
  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Your driver’s license information
  • Proof of insurance if you have any
MORE: Oklahoma reckless driving

What if you’re at fault?

If you were at fault in an accident with no insurance, or even just partly at fault, things can get pretty hairy pretty quickly. Per
Oklahoma's comparative negligence law
, you’ll be financially responsible for your portion of the other driver’s damages if you are deemed 51% 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. 
If both parties are equally at-fault in Oklahoma, each sharing 50% of the liability, then neither party can receive compensation for their losses. The only people who can file a claim for compensation are those who share less than half of the blame. 
So if you’re found to be 51% at fault in an accident, and the other driver is 49% at fault, the other driver is entitled to have 51% of the cost of their damages paid by you. This typically would be payable by your insurance, but without insurance coverage, you could be sued for the compensation.

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

If you’re insured but the at-fault driver in an accident is uninsured, you’ll have to attempt to recuperate your damages directly from the at-fault party. That likely means a lengthy, complicated legal process. 
If you’re lucky, the uninsured driver will have the resources to pay the compensation you’re owed. But it’s likely that someone who doesn't pay for car insurance probably doesn’t have the money to pay for damages due to an accident. Even if the court orders them to pay, you may never be able to collect what’s owed if they simply don’t have it.
That’s why you should consider
uninsured motorist coverage
and underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage isn’t mandated in Oklahoma, but insurance companies are required to offer it, and it’s pretty inexpensive. It will cover expenses caused by an uninsured driver or cover the portion of
bodily injury liability
remaining after an accident with an underinsured driver. 
You could also opt-in to
medical payments (MedPay)
coverage. It’s also not required but is available in Oklahoma and will help with medical bills resulting from an accident. And if you carry
collision coverage
on your car, you can file a claim with your own insurance provider to take care of any vehicle repairs. 
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Penalties for driving without insurance in Oklahoma

If you’re driving without car insurance in Oklahoma, you’re running a big risk. If you’re pulled over or in an accident and have no coverage, you’re facing up to $250 in fines and up to 30 days in jail. And if you’re in an accident, you’ll lose your license and registration for at least one year, and your vehicle could be impounded.
To get your license and registration back after an accident with no insurance, you have to show proof of current insurance, plus pay $575 in various fees. And that’s just to get your license and
vehicle registration
reinstated. 
If you’re not in an accident, but pulled over without insurance, you could still lose your license and registration. You’ll be given 10 days to get car insurance coverage. If you can’t show proof of your policy after that, your license and registration will be suspended by the same terms as those outlined above after an accident. 

Minimum required car insurance in Oklahoma

If you’re ready to get car insurance coverage in Oklahoma, here is the minimum that you’ll need: 
  • $25,000 of bodily injury liability per person 
  • $50,000 of bodily injury liability per accident 
  • $25,000 of
    property damage liability
    per accident 
While getting this will fulfill what’s required by law, the coverage won’t go far in any but the most minor accidents. That’s why many experts recommend purchasing additional coverage to protect yourself against out-of-pocket expenses. 
You should also be aware that these minimum coverage amounts do not apply to any damages you suffer. They are only liability policies, which means they’ll only pay to compensate other parties for damages when you are at fault. They do nothing to protect you or your own car
For your own protection, consider getting
comprehensive coverage
and
collision coverage
. Together, these policies will protect your car if you’re in an accident or if it’s damaged by a non-collision event, like vandalism, theft, fire, or a natural disaster.

Driving without insurance can increase premiums

Finally, you want to get car insurance because if you’re caught driving without it, it will actually make your future insurance rates even more expensive. Driving without car insurance coverage can cause providers to deem you an “at-risk driver,” which means your premiums will automatically be higher.
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