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September 13, 2023

Auto Accident Without Insurance: What Next?

by Evan Breaux | Auto Accidents | 0 comments

Car accidents are horrendous and the aftermath could be complicated if the person at fault in an accident doesn’t have auto insurance. Driving without insurance is illegal in the state of Louisiana and hence being liable for an accident without any insurance will expose you to penalties. 

Car accidents are one of the main risks of operating a vehicle on shared roads. The average American can expect to be in at least one car crash in their lifetime. Car crashes can lead to property damage, bodily injury, emotional harm, PTSD, and even death—which is why auto insurance was created as early as 1897.

The first auto insurance policy in America was purchased in Dayton, Ohio by Gilbert J. Loomis, who wanted to protect himself in the event that his car, which he had built himself, damaged property or injured or killed someone.

That was a good idea since there were no vehicle safety standards, driver’s licenses, or driving schools at the time! Now, 136 years after the first gas-powered automobile was patented in 1886 by Karl Benz, we have driver’s licenses, laws that govern the roadways, driving school, and traffic court. 

Yet even with all these laws meant to keep us safe, with the number of cars on the road continually increasing each year, the number of car accidents also increases. Auto insurance plays a crucial role in protecting drivers and car owners from financial loss related to property damage, medical bills, legal fees, or lost income.

Every driver operating a vehicle in the US is legally required to have auto insurance. In Louisiana, drivers must have liability coverage on any automobile they own. Under Louisiana law, each vehicle is required to have coverage for up to $15,000 in bodily injury to one person, $30,000 in bodily injury to more than one person in a single accident, and $25,000 in damage to someone else’s vehicle or property.

This liability coverage is a requirement, but other types of insurance are optional, including medical payments coverage, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, comprehensive coverage, and collision coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage is not required in the state of Louisiana but is highly recommended, especially in an urban area like Greater New Orleans, which has a high percentage of uninsured motorists. 

According to a study by the Insurance Research Council, in 2019 Estimated Percentage of Uninsured Drivers in Louisiana was 11.7%, even though the state requires drivers to carry car insurance.

If you are in a car accident and someone does not have auto insurance, it’s possible that you are the uninsured driver. It’s also possible that the car you hit or that hit you was driven by an uninsured driver.

Let’s dive into the article to know what happens if you get into a car accident without insurance or what happens to uninsured drivers in an accident

Another Post: Difference Between a Truck Accident and Car Accident

What Happens If You Don’t Have Car Insurance and You’re At Fault in an Accident?

Whether or not you were the at-fault driver, if you were in an accident, first, call the police—even if you do not have insurance. It’s important that you are honest about your lack of insurance so that you don’t have additional charges of fraud. Exchange information with the other driver, take photos and videos and remain calm. 

If you are the at-fault driver in an accident and you are uninsured, a person injured in the crash can sue you for all damages that person suffered and all costs incurred. This could include medical bills, lost wages, property damage, physical injuries, hospital bills, and emotional suffering. 

If you do not have an automobile liability insurance policy, you are personally responsible for paying these damages to the injured person. In other words, you will likely have to pay them out of your own pocket or through your wages.

Before operating a car without proper insurance coverage, educate yourself on the risks you are taking. For example, you may face criminal penalties, or be subject to fines ranging from $500 to $1,000

Drivers without auto insurance may have their vehicle impounded, their registration revoked, their license plates canceled, or their driver’s license suspended. If you are caught falsely claiming to have insurance when you do not, this is considered fraud, and you may have your license revoked for a year or more.

What Happens If You Have No Insurance But the Other Driver Was At Fault?

If you are not at fault in an accident, but you are uninsured, you will encounter restrictions on what you can recover against that driver. In Louisiana, the law known as “No Pay, No Play (LA. R.S. 32:866)” prohibits uninsured motorists from collecting the first $25,000 in property damages and the first $15,000 in personal injuries. 

The main reason Louisiana has this law is to encourage all drivers to have, at the minimum, liability insurance. It’s also meant to ensure drivers who break the law by driving without insurance are not rewarded when they get into crashes, and that drivers who obey the law by purchasing auto insurance are not punished by not being compensated if the other driver didn’t have liability coverage. 

In other words, if you don’t have the required auto insurance, Louisiana law asserts that you should not be able to receive the full benefits of someone else’s auto insurance policy, even if you are the victim of a car accident that was the other driver’s fault.

However, it is important to note that the “No Pay, No Play” law does not apply if the at-fault driver broke certain laws, like driving while intoxicated, intentionally causing the accident, or fleeing the scene; if the at-fault driver is from a different state with different laws; if the at-fault driver was committing a crime or fleeing after committing a crime; or if you were legally parked when the collision occurred.

If you are seriously injured in a crash caused by someone else but you don’t have auto insurance, you can still get compensation in some circumstances. 

Reach out to the attorneys at Breaux Law Firm to discuss your case and learn more about your possible compensation. Each case is different, and our experienced personal injury attorneys can help walk you through the legal process. 

What Happens If You Get Hit by Someone Without Insurance?

If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, there are a few possibilities of what happens next, but they depend on which driver is at fault. 

Whether or not you were the at-fault driver, if you were in an accident with an uninsured driver:

  • First, call the police. Next, exchange information with the other driver. This will likely be when you learn that the other driver does not have auto insurance. They might be panicked about fines and costs they will now be held responsible for. 
  • Do not accept money or other bribes! The uninsured driver might try to offer you money to avoid legal repercussions. However, there is no way of knowing fully what your damages or injuries will amount to, so do not accept money, even if it seems like a good deal or their story is compelling.
  • Focus instead on gathering the details of the accident, documenting it with photos and video. This is especially important if fault cannot easily be attributed to one driver or the other. 
  • Contact your insurance company right away to inform them you were in a car accident with an uninsured driver. Provide your insurance company with the contact information of the other driver.
  • If you have uninsured motorist coverage in your auto insurance policy, your insurance provider will step in and help cover costs for bodily injuries to you and your passengers, along with your medical expenses, loss of income, and other related expenses, all of which is typically covered by the other driver’s liability insurance.
  • If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, you could take the at-fault driver to court to sue for the expenses you incurred.
  • To determine if this is the best course of action for you, you’ll want to consult with the personal injury attorneys at Breaux Law Firm, who can assess your case. We’ll help you receive compensation for the damages you sustained when you were hit by an uninsured driver. You will pay no costs for the initial consultation or during the whole process; we are paid only if you win your case.

Handling an Uninsured Driver Accident Lawsuit in Louisiana

Usually, the at-fault driver’s insurance covers the compensation for victims’ medical bills and property damages. In the event of a car accident when the at-fault driver does not have auto insurance, the victim needs uninsured motorist insurance to cover the cost or you have to sue the uninsured driver for damages. For suing an uninsured driver for damages contact experienced car accident lawyers to have a smooth legal procedure towards the lawsuit. 

This type of case can be complex and uninsured drivers might not agree to pay the compensation directly. A skilled lawyer can guide you on what to do next for the best result and support you to go back to your normal life without any trouble.   Attorneys will handle the details of your lawsuit and deal with the accused driver and insurance company to recover the compensation you deserve without any dilemma.

Why Breaux Law Firm?

In the aftermath of a car accident with an uninsured driver, personal injury lawyers can provide necessary legal advice. With a lawyer on your side, he or she can protect you legally by handling all correspondence with authorities, insurance agents and adjusters, and the uninsured driver. The attorneys at Breaux Law Firm are experienced in personal injury law and are ready to fight for you as if you were part of our own family. As a family-run business, respect is one of our key values. Our reputation speaks for itself; we are ready to fight for you.