What To Do After An Accident If The Other Driver Has No Car Insurance
They’ve hit you and they’ve got no car insurance. In a country where one-eighth of drivers are using their cars without insurance, that’s not an unforeseeable event.
In fact, a driver who has no car insurance is more likely to be flouting many other laws.
For example, do they even have a driver’s license? They may also be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. And worse still, the car they’re driving might be uninsured because it has been stolen from its rightful owner.
In any case, being hit by an uninsured driver is one of the worst situations to be involved in on the road. But where do you go from here?
Here, we explain exactly how to act, and what your legal rights are to get justice after an uninsured driver hits your car or property. Find out more about what to do when the other driver has no car insurance below.
Car Insurance Is Compulsory
Just to be clear, car insurance is compulsory for anyone driving in any state of the USA – except for New Hampshire. But even New Hampshire has rules to make sure that the driver at fault pays up for damage to property or personal injury.
Driving without insurance generally carries heavy penalties. In some states, the fine can reach thousands of dollars. In others, you might get your license suspended for driving with no car insurance.
In certain states, like Michigan and Massachusetts, you can even land yourself in jail for up to a year.
You should regularly make sure your car insurance is current and valid. If it does lapse, the gap between insurance periods could make your premium jump by a few hundred dollars too.
But we know we’re talking to honest drivers here. The real problem with uninsured drivers is that you have no idea who is who on the road. You won’t even know until after you get hit whether the other driver has insurance or not.
It’s good to be prepared. Having insurance which will cover you for the cost of repairs to your car is a good idea. Make sure this will still cover you even if the other driver has no car insurance – phone your insurance agent to check if necessary.
But if the worst does happen, and an uninsured driver hits your car, what’s the best way to proceed after the accident?
After the Accident – Safety First
The very first step you should take is to make sure you and all of your passengers are okay. Car wrecks are very unpleasant experiences, even at slow speeds. Check that there aren’t any obvious injuries.
If the cars have been seriously damaged, they may be blocking the road. If that’s the case, and it’s possible, pull your car to one side and encourage the other driver(s) to do the same.
However, you might be unable to move them if the engines or wheels have taken a severe hit. Call for help from the police or another service that can arrange to move the cars.
If the cars are blocking the road and can’t be moved, there’s a risk that other drivers may plow straight into them.
If everyone is OK and the cars have been moved off the highway, it’s time to talk to the other driver.
If You’re Offered Cash, Say NO
If the other driver has no car insurance, you may find that they’re keen to offer you cash right there and then. Don’t take it.
You won’t have any idea how much damage they’ve really caused until a mechanic has assessed your car properly. So don’t let them fob you off. Even seemingly minor damage can actually turn out to be very costly.
For example, if the only visible damage is a bent fender and some broken lights, the offer of a thousand dollars cash might seem tempting. Especially if the accident has made you late for an appointment and you need to be on your way.
The trouble is, there may be damage which isn’t apparent to start. It may turn out that what appears to be a bit of a ding in the body has actually compromised the safety of the entire chassis.
Even when that’s not the case, seemingly small repairs can cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to fix if they’re a tricky job.
There’s a similar problem with injuries. Whiplash is a common injury after a car accident. It’s caused by the head being ‘whipped’ back and forth quickly during impact.
You may feel fine to start with. But many symptoms, such as headaches, neck ache, and even numbness, may not develop until several days later.
If anyone in your car suffers injuries, you may need to sue for restitution. You’ll need a copy of a police report to stand the best chance of success. So be sure to call the police and get the accident logged if there are any injuries.
This will help you mount a personal injury case against the driver who has no car insurance.
Be Polite – But Don’t Admit Fault
Right after the accident, keep your cool. There’s an emotional, as well as a physical, shock to being involved in a car accident.
It’s too easy to get worked up, to blame the other driver and start shouting. While we’d sympathize entirely with this reaction, it’s best to stay calm.
Even if you discover during the conversation that they have no car insurance, don’t get angry.
Be direct – ask for their details (see below for more on that) – but steer away from any conversation about blame. That’s for your insurers to sort out. Of course, if the other driver has no car insurance, that may be for your lawyer to sort out.
But don’t hint that you’re thinking of bringing a legal case against them. Just gather as much information as you can, and be on your way.
Keep to safe ‘small talk’ topics if you’re stuck with the other driver for a while – if your cars can’t be driven. Or if you don’t want to talk to them, make a phone call so you have an excuse not to be talking.
Getting the Other Driver’s Details
Write down the number plate of the other vehicle before you get out of your own, if possible. The sooner, the better. It’s a good idea to always keep a notepad and pen in the glove box of your car, just in case.
Now it’s time to talk to the other driver. You may find that they’re quite reluctant to talk, which can be a sign that they’re uninsured. If they become aggressive, take as much information as you can get, even if that’s just their car license plate.
If you can get away with taking a picture of them on your cell phone, even better – but this may aggravate them further. You don’t want to put yourself and your passengers in harm’s way.
There might be a rare driver who is immediately repentant and gives you their full and accurate details. However, it’s more likely with drivers who have no car insurance that the details supplied will be fake.
That’s why getting the registration plate details is important, as it’ll help to track any dishonest drivers down later on.
In any case, do the best you can to gather as much information on the driver as possible.
What If They Drive Off?
It’s not unlikely that an uninsured driver will try to leave the scene of an accident. If they’re aware of the penalties, they might figure that the less you know, the better!
So do jot down their registration quickly if you can. Also record the make, model and color of their vehicle Take pictures of the cars involved if possible, as well as the surrounding roads to give context. If there are any skid marks, try to take a wide-angle shot of those, plus and debris left behind by the crash.
Note down when and where the crash took place. Finally, have a look around for CCTV cameras in the vicinity. If any are pointing in the right direction, take a note of the business names, and go inside to ask for a contact number too.
If there were any witnesses – other drivers, pedestrians on the sidewalk – get their details too so that they can be interviewed later on if necessary.
If the other driver leaves the scene without stopping, they may be committing a criminal act by leaving the scene of the accident.
If the accident caused injuries, they may even face a felony hit and run charge. The severity of the sentence would probably be compounded by the fact they had no car insurance.
Hiring a Lawyer to Deal With a Personal Injury Case
Your best chance of getting the money you deserve after an auto accident may lie with the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
If the other driver had no car insurance but can be traced, lawsuits can help you to recover the costs of repairing your car. Successful cases can also secure the compensation you deserve after you, or a loved one, are injured in an accident.
Where the other driver has no car insurance, a reliable lawyer could be your best ally.
Is Pursuing a Case Worth it?
When the other driver has no car insurance, it feels incredibly unfair that they will get away without paying a cent towards the damage they’ve caused.
Hopefully, you had insurance to protect against other drivers, but that may have only paid out to repair your car.
If you or a passenger has been injured, it’s worth reaching out to a lawyer to at least assess the case. Even if you were mostly at-fault, the driver with no car insurance may still be liable for certain things.
If you were severely hurt, and medical bills are starting to pile up, a legal battle may be the only way to put things right.
It does take some time and energy to work towards a resolution. But a good lawyer will guide you through the whole process and make it as simple as possible for you – while taking on all of the hard work themselves.
When considering personal injury cases, a good lawyer will assess the circumstances of the accident. They’ll interview witnesses and secure as much evidence as they can prior to a court hearing.
They’ll want the best outcome for their client every time.
Should I Hire a Lawyer?
If you’ve been injured by an uninsured driver, Stephen Babcock is standing by to help you.
Your case — and your future will be our top priority. When we meet with you, we will review your case with you for free and after you hire us you will have Stephen’s 100% Client Satisfaction Guarantee.
If you have any questions about this article or want to visit with a lawyer for free, call Stephen at (225) 500-5000 or contact us here.
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