Almost every U.S. state requires auto insurance from drivers. If you were in a car accident without insurance, you could face severe consequences, including high fees and license suspension. If you caused the collision, you may have to pay for the damages and the other driver could sue you to recover compensation.
Being involved in a car accident as an uninsured driver can be confusing and stressful. However, you don’t have to handle the legal aftermath alone; our car accident attorneys can offer legal guidance and protect your rights.
Understanding Your State’s Insurance Requirements
Driving without insurance will create problems in most states. The majority of states set minimum coverage requirements for drivers. These requirements typically include liability insurance, which covers damages and injuries to others in an accident for which you are at fault.
For example, South Carolina has the following automobile insurance requirements:
- Bodily injury liability insurance: Drivers must carry a minimum of $25,000 for bodily injury per person and $50,000 for all the injured individuals in a crash.
- Property damage liability insurance: South Carolina motorists must have a minimum of $25,000 for property damage in a collision. This helps cover the damage caused to someone else’s vehicle and other property.
- Uninsured motorist coverage: This pays the policyholder’s damages after a collision with an uninsured driver. Drivers are required to have coverage that equals the minimum amount of liability coverage.
If you live in a state where car insurance is optional, it is still in your best interest to be insured; otherwise, you will be responsible for the damages you caused.
Also, the victim could sue you for financial compensation. Depending on the severity of the collision, you may face penalties like a license suspension and fines.
The Penalties for Driving Without Insurance Coverage
If you do not meet your state’s auto insurance requirements, you could face penalties (even without being involved in a car crash). Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may face steep fines, jail time, and a suspended or revoked license.
The penalties for driving without the minimum mandatory auto insurance vary by state. Furthermore, these will continue to increase based on the number of your offenses.
In South Carolina, you could face the following penalties for driving without auto insurance:
|First Offense||Second Offense||Subsequent Offenses|
|Fine||$100-$200 fine or 30 days in prison; $600 uninsured motorist fee||$200||—|
|Time in Prison||30 days if not fined||30 days; a combination of time in prison and fines||45 days – 6 months|
|Daily Fine||Assessment of $5 per day for lapse in mandatory coverage; will not exceed $200||Assessment of $5 per day for lapse in mandatory coverage||Assessment of $5 per day for lapse in mandatory coverage|
|Driving Privileges||Registration and licenses suspension||Registration and licenses suspension||Registration and licenses suspension|
Does It Matter Who Was at Fault for the Car Accident?
Who was responsible for the collision may matter, depending on your state’s fault laws. If you are unsure what laws apply to your case, a car accident attorney can help you better understand the legal framework.
If You Were at Fault
In states with no-fault insurance laws, like Florida and New York, the injured driver recovers damages from their own insurance, regardless of who was at fault. However, if their policy does not cover all their accident-related expenses, you would owe them money.
If you caused a collision as an uninsured driver in an at-fault state, you may have to cover the damages caused. For example, if the accident occurred in South Carolina, the at-fault driver is liable for the damages. Consult a lawyer to learn more about your financial responsibilities.
If the Other Driver Was at Fault
In an at-fault state, you would not be liable for damages if the other driver caused the collision. However, if your state has mandatory insurance requirements, you will still face penalties for driving without coverage.
A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help Uninsured Drivers
If you were involved in a collision and have no auto insurance, you may feel overwhelmed by dealing with the aftermath. How this incident impacts your life depends on various factors, including state laws and the severity of the crash.
A car accident attorney can guide you through the legal process and protect your interests. Your lawyer will:
- Help you understand your rights and obligations.
- Help navigate the legal complexities of the case, ensuring compliance with state laws and procedures.
- Negotiate on your behalf with the other driver’s insurance company.
- Provide representation in court if the other driver decides to file a personal injury lawsuit against you.
- Working to minimize the potential legal and financial consequences.
- Gather evidence, interview witnesses, and investigate the crash to build a strong defense or support a claim for compensation.
- Advocate for your interests and protect your rights throughout the legal process.
A car accident lawyer can be a valuable ally for uninsured drivers after a collision. Your attorney can handle all aspects of your case while you focus on recovering.
Seek Legal Guidance After a Car Accident Without Insurance
If you have been involved in a crash and do not have insurance, seek legal guidance as soon as possible. Without insurance, you could be personally liable for any damages or injuries during the crash.
A lawyer can help you navigate the legal process, negotiate with the other party’s insurance company, and potentially reduce the amount you owe. Acting quickly and seeking legal guidance to protect yourself and your financial future is important.
Contact The Thumbs Up Guys to schedule a free legal consultation. We will answer any urgent questions and evaluate your legal options.