If you were not insured at the time of a car accident, your legal rights will unfortunately be limited. You will have fewer options to recover for damages suffered and less protection from claims filed against you. These consequences will be more or less severe depending on your situation.
There are four main scenarios for a person who is uninsured at the time of a car accident. They are listed from worst-case scenario to best-case scenario.
1) You were uninsured and at fault.
If you are at fault, the other party will be in a position to make claims against you directly. Without the protection of insurance, this puts you in a very vulnerable situation. You may have your driver’s license suspended. You would be personally liable for any court judgment against you.
2) You were uninsured and both you and the other party were at fault.
In this situation, you and the other party share responsibility for the accident. As a result, you may be able to make claims against the other party. However, you are still vulnerable to the claims made by the other party and again, do not have insurance as a source of protection.
3) You were uninsured, but not at fault, and the other driver was uninsured and at fault.
Here, you would be fortunate enough not to have to defend yourself against the claims of the other party. However, when you bring claims against the other party, his or her lack of insurance will make it more difficult to recover damages. This is because you will have to recover from the other party itself, rather than an insurance company. It is always best practice to have car insurance, as many policies provide coverage for damages that the at-fault party cannot or does pay. This is called uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. You need to have this coverage on your policy.
4) You were uninsured but not at fault, and the other driver was insured and at fault.
In this situation, as the party not at fault, you will be in a position to recover from the at-fault party’s insurance. However, it is still wise and prudent to have car insurance at all times. Washington state law requires it. There is a substantial fine of at least $450 for not having auto insurance, even if you weren’t at fault.
If you have been in a car accident and want to explore your legal options, please contact Abeyta Nelson Injury Law toll free at (800) 927-2845, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.