Driving without insurance is a risky proposition and, in nearly every state, is also against the law. Despite this fact, some people will find themselves in the unfortunate situation where an accident has occurred and they are uninsured. This sort of incident could be catastrophic if the uninsured driver was at fault, but even an accident where the uninsured driver isn't to blame can cause some anxiety. Can an uninsured driver hit by an insured driver file a claim? The following article provides information in response to this question and highlights common concerns.
Although insurance requirements are extraordinarily common in the United States, there are some jurisdictions in which drivers are offered the option of providing financial security in case of an accident that serves as the functional equivalent of insurance. These statutes generally refer to the "financial responsibility" of drivers. Common insurance alternatives include the maintenance of a bond or a certificate of deposit of money or securities in an amount specified by the state.
If you reside in a state that permits the maintenance of a bond or certificate of deposit in lieu of insurance and have such an account, you can proceed to file your claim against the insured driver without concern about your lack of insurance. It should be noted, however, that an insurer would retain agents and attorneys that would normally negotiate and, if necessary, litigate the matter in order to come to a fair settlement. If you are uninsured, you may wish to hire an attorney to perform these tasks on your behalf.
When an uninsured driver is hit by an insured driver they may still face some consequences for their lack of insurance.
If your state has an insurance requirement, or if you are unable to comply with the insurance alternatives, you can still file a claim against an insured driver. However, insurance companies are very likely to report your lack of insurance to the state. Most states that have a requirement that you maintain a minimum amount of insurance. Failure to do so typically results in the revocation of the driver's license for a period of time, sometimes a year or more.
The consequences of your lack of insurance may have already arisen by the time you contact an insurer. Depending on your state's laws and the circumstances of the accident, a police officer may have come to the scene and written a report. This will be helpful in pursuing your claim against the insurer, but it also means that punishment for driving without insurance is virtually certain.
Another important consequence of the accident and your insurance claim is that the other party may seek to claim damages against you. However, this may happen regardless of whether you proceed with your claim. If the insured driver carries an uninsured/underinsured policy they may proceed with a claim against their own insurer, or if they feel that they will be able to collect a judgment they may proceed with a claim against you personally. In some jurisdictions your liability may be limited to the deductible of the insured driver's policy.
Need to File a Car Accident Claim? Talk to an Attorney First
An uninsured driver hit by an insured driver faces some potentially difficult communications with the insurance company. How you will be impacted by an accident depends on your state's laws and the details of your particular accident. A competent injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed and handle many of the communications with the insurer on your behalf.
Contact a qualified auto accident attorney to make sure your rights are protected.