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

You face harsh penalties when driving without insurance in Wyoming, which is a misdemeanor. You could face imprisonment, get fined, and lose your license.
Written by Jessica Gibson
Reviewed by Hillary Kobayashi
A car accident is always serious, but if you don’t have
car insurance
in Wyoming, you’ll face severe penalties, such as imprisonment, fines, and losing your license. If the accident wasn’t your fault, you could get compensation from the other driver’s insurance company. 

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

Wyoming considers driving without car insurance a misdemeanor, which will go on your record. If you’re caught driving without insurance and are involved in an accident, matters get very tricky really fast! Here’s what you need to do right after you are involved in an accident if you don’t have car insurance:
Stay at the scene of the accident. You’re probably aware that you’ll face penalties for driving without car insurance, but you’ll make your situation worse if you take off. Wyoming punishes drivers who leave the scene of an accident. You could face:
  • A $750 fine and up to six months imprisonment if property was damaged
  • A $5,000 fine and up to one year of imprisonment if someone was injured
  • A fine and up to 20 years of imprisonment if you are charged with a fatal hit-and-run 
So, what should you do after a car accident? Try to stay calm and stay put. Pull your car over where it’s safe and check that you’re not injured (along with any passengers in your car). 
Then, check that anyone else in the accident isn’t hurt. If someone is injured, try to make them comfortable and call 911 for medical attention if necessary.
Take the time to exchange contact and your driver’s license information with the other driver. They will ask if you’ve got insurance, but be honest and tell them if you don’t. Take photographs of the accident and ask witnesses for contact information, so you can document the accident.
Detailed photos and witness statements make it easier to prove that you weren’t at fault.
If the other driver is at fault and they have insurance, get their insurance information so you can file a claim with their insurance company. Their company will cover repairs to your car or medical bills resulting from the accident. You don’t have to have your own insurance in order to receive compensation
If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you’ll have to get a lawyer and sue them for damages.

Who decides fault in a car accident in Wyoming?

It’s not up to the drivers to assign fault; instead, if the police show up to the accident, they’ll write a report that helps the insurance companies determine fault. If the police aren’t called, don’t worry. It’s up to the insurance company to make a determination.
To help prove that you’re not at fault after an accident, take photographs and ask for witness contact information. This evidence can help prove the other driver’s fault when you file your claim with their insurance company.
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Do you need to report a car accident in Wyoming? 

It’s usually not required if no one was injured or died and the accident caused less than $1,000 of property damage. Just don’t leave the scene without sharing contact information with the other driver—fleeing the scene of an accident is still a criminal offense.
You do need to report it if someone was hurt or died or if the accident caused more than $1,000 in property damage. Contact the local police department immediately. If you’re outside of a police municipality, reach out to the state highway patrol or county sheriff. You’ve got ten days to file a report with the highway department.
MORE: How do driver violation points affect your insurance rates?

What if you’re at fault?

The outlook isn't great if you were at fault in the accident. 
Because Wyoming is a modified comparative negligence state, you’ll be financially responsible for your portion of the other driver’s damages if you are deemed no 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 damages. They’ll hire a personal injury lawyer to demand the money.
This is in addition to the legal penalties you’ll face for driving without insurance. You’re looking at fines, suspension of your license, and imprisonment.

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

We’ve covered what happens if you don’t have insurance, but what if you have insurance and the other driver isn’t covered? If the person at fault in a car accident is uninsured, you will need to pursue them for damages. This can be tricky unless you’ve got good car insurance coverage yourself.
Check your auto policy to see if you have
uninsured motorist coverage
. This might also show up as UMC or even underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) on your policy. This type of coverage pays for your medical expenses and vehicle repairs if you’re hit by an uninsured driver (or if their policy doesn’t have enough
bodily injury liability
) to pay for your medical bills.
You’ve still got options if you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage. You can sue the other driver directly for damages. This can be an expensive option since you’ll have to hire a lawyer. The lawyer will file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. However, there is the risk that the other driver doesn’t have money to pay up, so suing them might be fruitless.
You could also get some financial help if you’ve got
medical payments (MedPay)
coverage. MedPay uses your personal car insurance to pay your hospital bills (up to the policy limits). If your car insurance also has collision coverage, you can file a claim with your own carrier to cover the cost of repairing your car.
Even though uninsured motorist rates are low in Wyoming (the Insurance Information Institute estimates that only 5% of Wyoming drivers are uninsured), uninsured motorist coverage makes it easy to cover repairs and medical bills after an accident.
MORE: How to replace a lost Wyoming Driver’s license
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Penalties for driving without insurance in Wyoming

The silver lining is that you can claim damages after a car accident even if you don’t have insurance. Unfortunately, you’ll still face penalties for driving without insurance in Wyoming. 
According to
Wyoming Statute 31-4-103
, the state can fine you $250 to $750 for driving while uninsured and you can be imprisoned for up to six months—for your first offense!
If this is your second or subsequent offense, expect a penalty of $500 to $1,500 and possible imprisonment for up to six months.
You’ll also have your license suspended after any offense. The police will give you written notice that you have seven days to provide proof of insurance. If you can’t, you’ll lose your license until you purchase insurance and pay a $50 reinstatement fee.
Note that if this is a subsequent offense, they’ll not only suspend your license, but they’ll also take your plates and registration. You’ll also be required to maintain an
SR-22 certificate
for three years after any offense.
The SR-22 certificate is a document from your insurance company showing proof of financial responsibility. It’s not insurance—it’s like a receipt that shows you have insurance. Once you have car insurance that meets Wyoming’s minimum liability requirements, your insurance company will file an SR-22 certificate with the state on your behalf.
To avoid these penalties, you have to have insurance before driving or getting into an accident. You can’t get it later and apply it retroactively, nor can you appeal the charges. 
However, if you had insurance at the time and just didn’t have it on hand, you can take your
proof of insurance
to court and avoid the penalties (the court might charge you a slight administrative fee).

Minimum required car insurance in Wyoming

Every state has a minimum threshold for the amount of insurance they require drivers to carry. Under Wyoming law, drivers have to buy a car insurance policy that includes at least:
This is fairly average liability coverage, although some states require less and others make their residents purchase more. Experts generally recommend that you buy higher amounts so you’re definitely covered in an expensive car accident. 
Consider shopping for a policy that offers $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident for bodily injury liability, and $100,000 for property damage liability. 
Liability coverage is surprisingly affordable, but you can also add comprehensive and collision coverage without paying an arm and a leg.
Collision coverage
takes care of vehicle repairs after an accident, and
comprehensive coverage
includes car repairs or replacements from non-collision incidents.
MORE: Wyoming reckless driving

Driving without insurance can increase premiums

We’ll leave you with a final caution. If you’re
found driving without the minimum liability insurance
, insurers will charge you more to cover your vehicle later. They will designate you as a “high-risk driver”, especially if you have any violations or car accidents on your record. 
All of these factors add points to your record, making you more expensive to insure.
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