I Had an Auto Accident but Don’t Have Car Insurance—Now What?
Perhaps you were involved in a Virginia auto accident which was not your fault, but you are worried because you did not have auto insurance at the time of the accident. In the state of Virginia, you are required to either purchase auto insurance which meets the state’s minimum coverage requirements or pay a $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee, which allows you to drive uninsured for a specified length of time. The $500 fee is paid at the time you register your vehicle. Paying the $500 uninsured motorist fee does not provide auto insurance coverage. If you do not auto insurance and are involved in an auto accident which is your fault, you will be personally liable for any injuries and damages to the other driver.
If you have not opted for this uninsured driver fee and have not purchased auto insurance, you could be ticketed at the time of your accident which could result in a $500 fine and could potentially result in your losing your driver’s license, registration and license plates for a specific length of time. Driving uninsured can also result in receiving an order from the court to maintain proof of auto insurance for a period of three years. In order to have your vehicle registration privileges reinstated, you will pay the $500 fine, purchase auto insurance and pay a reinstatement fee. As far as how not having auto insurance will affect your accident, in theory, it shouldn’t.
If the other driver was at fault and had insurance, then your claim should proceed as normal. In practice, Virginia operates under contributory negligence laws which mean if you are found to be even one percent at fault for the auto accident, you may be denied compensation even though the accident was not your fault. It is essential you have an experienced Virginia auto accident attorney by your side in this situation—otherwise you could find yourself injured with no recourse for recovery.
Why Many Virginia Residents Don’t Have Car Insurance
According to carinsurance.com, about ten percent of those living in the state of Virginia do not have auto insurance. There are a myriad of reasons Virginia residents may not have car insurance, the primary reason being that car insurance is expensive. Following the 2008 recession, there was a significant increase in the number of uninsured motorists across the nation, and those numbers have not rebounded. The second most common reason drivers are uninsured is simply time-related. Most all drivers who have purchased car insurance would classify the experience as time-consuming and frustrating, plus insurance companies tend to push consumers to choose a policy quickly just to be done with the process.
Unfortunately, this leaves many drivers paying too much for car insurance. Many consumers are unfamiliar with the language of insurance and end up being confused when trying to decide the best insurance policy for their specific circumstances. Finally, some drivers are uninsured because they want to believe they will never be involved in an auto accident. The truth is, no matter how safely you drive, there are plenty of drivers out there who do not drive safely. If you are hit by a driver with no auto insurance—and you have no auto insurance—you could find yourself with serious injuries and damages to your vehicle with no way to pay medical expenses and repairs.
What are the Consequences for My Auto Accident with No Car Insurance?
If the accident was not your fault, then as noted above, in theory, the fact that you had no auto insurance should make no difference in how your claim will proceed. In reality, you could face some difficulties as you attempt to recover damages for your injuries and damages to your vehicle, particularly if the other driver also had no insurance. If the other driver did have insurance, then his or her insurance company may be doing all they can to deny your claim by placing some of the blame for the accident on you.
Your Virginia auto insurance attorney will work hard on your behalf to place the blame for the accident where it belongs—on the at-fault driver—and to ensure you receive an equitable settlement which will allow you to pay your medical expenses and have your automobile repaired. If you had no car insurance and had not paid the uninsured driver fee, then you could potentially lose your license, registration and license plates for up to a year.
How Can an Attorney Help Following My Auto Accident with No Car Insurance?
Having no auto insurance at the time of an accident can potentially have some serious consequences, particularly if you have not paid the $500 uninsured driver fee. The highly experienced auto accident attorneys at Tronfeld West & Durrett want to help you through this difficult time, just as we have helped many others in your situation. Contact Tronfeld West & Durrett today to have your questions answered and to help you map out a plan of action.