Got in a Car Accident and Don’t Have Insurance? Here’s What to Do
Auto liability insurance is a required prerequisite for driving a motor vehicle in most states. Driving without insurance can lead to fines, the loss of your driver’s license, and potential jail time. If you are driving without insurance and cause an accident, you will be required to pay for damages out of pocket. In such an instance, you could easily be held liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damages. Also, if you get injured, you may have no avenue for recovering any economic losses, on top of being personally injured. Needless to say, driving without insurance is never a good idea. However, if you do get involved in an accident while driving without insurance, recovering compensation isn’t always a total impossibility — there may be other ways for you to seek damages.
If you are involved in an accident in New Jersey and you are uninsured, no matter if you caused it or were the victim of the accident, New Jersey law is tough on uninsured drivers. That’s why, to give yourself a fighting chance to recover a compensation, it’s essential you contact an attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Your attorney will be able to review your case and determine the best way forward. Here at the Law Office of Fredson Statmore Bitterman, we can review your case free of charge to help determine if you could be compensated for your injuries, or at least not be held personally liable for injuries you may have caused other people. Contact us for your free consultation today.
No Pay, No Play
New Jersey maintains “no pay, no play” rules for drivers involved in accidents. If you are uninsured, this rule sets that an uninsured driver can seek damages from the other driver’s liability policy (in cases where the other driver caused the accident) — meaning you can seek damages for medical bill and economic losses — however, an uninsured driver cannot seek damages for any non-economic losses, like loss of quality of life and pain and suffering. To quote Caviglia v. Royal Tours of America, 842 A.2d 125 (Sup. Ct. of N.J. 2004). N.J.S.A. § 39:6A-4.5:
“New Jersey statute bars uninsured motorists that are injured, drivers under the influence that are injured, or acting with the intent to injure himself or others while operating a vehicle from economic and non-economic recovery from the tortfeasor.”
What to Do If You Get in a Car Crash and You Have No Insurance?
The first thing that’s going to be needed to be determined is who is at fault in the accident. If it is determined that you were at fault, you won’t be able to recover damages for any medical bills you have from the other driver’s liability insurance. You also won’t have financial recourse for your property losses/damage or personal injuries. Lastly, the other driver can take you to court and sue you for further damages or injuries. If you have no auto liability insurance you will be held personally responsible for paying if they win their lawsuit. Driving without insurance can easily ruin you financially, not to mention in other non-economic ways, like getting personally injured.
Are You Really Uninsured?
You may think you are totally uninsured, but you may actually be covered without realizing it. The first thing to look at after (if not before) an accident is if you have some peripheral insurance coverage. For example, if you are driving someone else’s car with their permission, their liability insurance will typically cover you.
Other Options for Recovering Compensation
If you cause an accident while driving without insurance, there may be other insurance options you can use to help. For example, if you have health insurance, it can be used to pay for any medical bills, once you have paid the deductible. Another avenue for recovering compensation in cases where you have no insurance is when there is a third-party responsible, like the manufacturer of your car’s brakes, if their defectiveness were the cause of the accident. In cases of a non-severe accident, you may also offer the other driver a cash payment to repair the damage to their vehicle and don’t go through the insurance system at all.
You Need a Car Accident Attorney
If you are involved in a car accident in New Jersey while uninsured, no matter if you caused it or not, you face an uphill battle recovering compensation. That’s why it’s essential that you get in contact with a car accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident, to get your case reviewed and to determine if there is a way for you to get compensation for your injuries and to avoid being held liable for injuries you may have caused to other parties.
At the Law Office of Fredson Statmore Bitterman, we carefully review each case that is brought to us, and are capable of opening an investigation to help determine fault. We will look at all potential sources of insurance available, other avenues of liability, and help negotiate with the other party to protect your rights as much as possible in this difficult situation. It may be difficult to get compensation for injuries if you cause a car accident while driving without insurance, but it’s not impossible. Contact Fredson Statmore Bitterman in New Jersey to schedule your free legal consultation.