What Happens if the Person Not at Fault in an Accident Has No Insurance?
Getting into an accident can be stressful, and it can lead to expensive damages. In some states, your insurance covers your own injuries, while in other states, the at-fault driver’s insurance covers the accident. These rules can complicate how you get compensation, especially if you don’t have insurance after getting injured in a car accident.
In most states, the victim of a car accident can still seek compensation if they do not have insurance. However, the rules in your state might change how you can get compensation. In no-fault insurance states where you have to rely on your own insurance, you could be out of luck if your injuries do not qualify you for a lawsuit. Otherwise, you could be entitled to file a lawsuit or an insurance claim against the driver who hit you in an at-fault state.
If you were injured in a car accident, talk to a lawyer about your case. Our Arlington car accident attorneys have decades of experience helping victims get compensation for their injuries after car accidents. For a free legal consultation, contact us today at (817) 476-1797.
Can Victims Sue for Car Crashes if They Don’t Have Insurance?
After a car crash, victims often have one major question: Can I sue for my injuries? The answer to this question depends heavily on the rules in your state and what limitations are placed on victims.
States usually fall into one of two categories when it comes to car insurance rules: no-fault states and at-fault/tort states:
In no-fault states, each driver is required to carry insurance that can pay for their own injuries regardless of who caused the crash. This means that insurance companies and courts do not need to deal with issues of fault before getting injured people compensation. In these states, victims are not typically allowed to sue since they have insurance that will pay for their needs. However, if the injuries are severe enough, meet certain definitions (e.g., “permanent”), or involve damages over a certain amount (e.g., $10,000), then the victim can sue for their injuries.
In at-fault states, also known as “tort” states, victims are entitled to sue the at-fault driver no matter what – and drivers carry insurance to protect themselves from having to pay claims out of pocket. In this system, most states require every driver to carry insurance so that there is some pool of money available to pay for injuries that might be too expensive for the average person to cover without insurance.
Other Insurance Systems
Some states have special rules that might work differently. In some states, the presumption is that everyone has no-fault insurance, but you might be able to opt-in to get tort coverage that allows you to sue. Other states work the other way and assume everyone has at-fault insurance, but they allow you to buy first-person benefits, such as PIP (personal injury protection) and medical pay coverage to pay for your injuries and expenses after a crash.
Ultimately, the question of whether you can sue at all as a victim will depend on whether you’re in a no-fault state or an at-fault state. If you are in a no-fault state, you might not be able to sue – whether you have insurance or not – unless you meet certain thresholds. In at-fault states, you typically have no limits on your right to sue, whether you have insurance or not.
What is Insurance “No Pay No Play” Rules for Car Accident Victims
Almost all states require drivers to carry car insurance. Without insurance, everyone would be suing each other all the time for even minor fender bender cases, and courts would likely be overrun with car accident claims. The availability of insurance typically allows claims to get filled faster and without as much hassle and without as much wait time. However, insurance only works if everyone has it. In order to help ensure this, some states use “no pay no play” rules to limit a driver’s right to sue if they don’t have insurance.
No pay no play rules are not common; only a handful of states use them. These rules exist both in no-fault states – which want to make sure each driver can take care of themselves after a crash – and at-fault/tort states – which need everyone to be able to cover injuries they caused.
No pay no play rules essentially seek to punish drivers who do not have insurance by limiting their ability to collect damages through the courts. Even in at-fault states where you can sue instead of relying on insurance, failing to carry your own coverage means facing limitations on that right to sue if the state has a no pay no play rule.
How Car Accident Insurance “No Pay No Play” Works
Each state with no pay no play rules has slightly different rules. In some states, the rules are extremely strict and drivers who do not carry insurance cannot sue in court after a car accident, even if they were the victim. Other states limit the right to sue only if the driver – either now or in the past – committed a DUI, felony driving violation, or act of violence involving a vehicle. Other states limit what damages are recoverable, with many blocking access to non-economic damages (e.g. pain and suffering). Other states that limit damages might reduce how much you can claim in personal injury and property damages (e.g., by blocking the first $15,000 of damages for injuries).
If you were hurt in a car accident and you don’t have car insurance, check with a car accident lawyer in your state about what limits might be placed on your right to sue. In some no pay no play states, victims can still sue if the other driver was extremely reckless or caused an accident while driving drunk. Knowing your rights is important, and a lawyer can help advise you.
Call Our Car Accident Lawyers for Help with Your Case
If you were hurt in an accident, call our Dallas car accident attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm today. Our injury lawyers can often help victims find the right path to compensation whether you have insurance or not. For a free case consultation, call us at (817) 476-1797.