Dealing with a car accident can be difficult before even getting to insurance issues. Drivers who get into accidents without insurance subject themselves to a number of worrying consequences, depending on the laws of the state that you are in.
If you were involved in a car accident without insurance, you still may be able to file a lawsuit for recovery if you can prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident. Your damages could include compensation for your hospital expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, you could also face government-imposed consequences such as license suspension and fines, even if you were not at fault. A few states don’t have insurance requirements or have alternatives available, but you should be aware of the drawbacks of these options before electing to drive without insurance. No matter what you are dealing with, you should always use a lawyer to help you minimize the damage from an uninsured accident.
Columbia Injury Lawyers can answer any questions you may have about your situation after getting into a car accident without insurance. No one should ever have to tackle these complex legal issues on their own. Our experienced car accident insurance attorneys are waiting for your call. To get started, give us a call today at (803) 451-4000.
What If You Are Not at Fault for an Accident but Don’t Have Insurance?
If the other driver or a third party is responsible for causing the accident, you likely won’t be responsible for covering their damages, such as medical expenses and property damage. However, you should be aware that the government may still take action on your misconduct. This includes many of the consequences that are common if a driver is found to be driving without the legal requisite insurance coverage. Such consequences may include a license suspension, fines, and vehicle impounding.
You may also be involved in an accident where there is no fault. If such a situation occurs, you will be responsible for the out-of-pocket expenses associated with the accident, such as your own medical bills or vehicle damage.
Further, obtaining car insurance can be more expensive for a driver with a recent accident history, even if the prior accident was not that driver’s fault. Conversely, if you already have insurance when you are involved in an accident, your insurance rates may go up according to the terms of your plan, but the increase is rarely as significant as it would be if you were obtaining a new plan from scratch.
There is some good news, though: you will still be able to file a lawsuit to recover damages for your injuries caused by the accident, even if you did not have insurance at the time. This is contingent upon your proving that the other driver was behaving negligently or recklessly behind the wheel, and that their behavior caused the accident and your injuries.
You can obtain damages for your lawsuit that will cover your medical expenses, such as ambulance fees, hospital procedures and stays, surgeries, and physical therapy. If your injuries prevent you from working, you will be compensated for lost wages and any decreased earning potential as a result of your long-term recovery. If your injuries cause you additional pain and suffering, your compensation will rise proportionally according to your loss of enjoyment of life and the hindrances to your personal life that your injuries may create.
Car Insurance Requirements in South Carolina Compared to Other States
South Carolina drivers must meet state-mandated minimums for insurance coverage before getting behind the wheel. Acceptable policies must have enough coverage to satisfy the following amounts:
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person
- $25,000 for property damage
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
Your car insurance coverage will likely account for a family member driving your vehicle or if you are driving a rental vehicle. You are also required by South Carolina law to obtain uninsured motorist coverage, which covers your damages if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver or are the victim of a hit and run.
Most states have laws that require drivers to obtain some minimum level of car insurance. There are some states that have alternative requirements in place that you can satisfy by paying a non-refundable fee to the government. However, this fee will not cover any of your damages if you are involved in a car accident. Most people who are involved in accidents and are unable to pay damages may have their driver’s licenses suspended and registrations revoked.
Additionally, some states allow drivers to provide “proof of financial responsibility” that covers the driver in any car instead of obtaining car insurance for a single vehicle. Where available, this requirement is typically satisfied by purchasing a bond from the state. The bond is meant to represent the fact that the driver is in the financial circumstances to be able to pay out of pocket for any damages that may arise in a car accident. The purchase value of the bond will be the cap on how much it can cover in damages. However, if the driver causes the accident, they will be required to repay the cost of the damages plus interest added over time.
Injured in a Car Crash? Talk to Our Attorneys Today
At Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers, we recognize the difficulties of dealing with any car accident, let alone an accident without insurance. Call (803) 451-4000 to schedule a consultation with one of our Columbia car accident attorneys today.