California ranks 10th in the nation when it comes to the number of uninsured drivers on the road. In fact, 16.6 percent of drivers in California don’t have vehicle insurance.
If you’re in an accident and don’t have insurance, you might be afraid and have no idea what to do next. Don’t panic!
Keep reading for our ultimate guide to navigating vehicle crashes in California with no car insurance.
Understanding Vehicle Insurance in California
In California, it’s illegal to drive without vehicle insurance.
The State of California requires drivers to carry a certain amount of liability insurance that covers damages you cause to other people and property. You have to prove that you have liability insurance to register your car with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
When you purchase car insurance, the carrier will report this to the DMV. They will also report you if you stop paying your premiums and let your policy lapse.
It’s worth noting that if you don’t own your car, your lender might require you to carry additional insurance that covers damage to the vehicle.
If You Were at Fault for the Accident
Driving without insurance in California is a big risk.
If you cause an accident, you can’t recover damages from the other party. However, if you were injured in the accident, you also won’t have any assistance through medical payments on your own insurance.
If you cause an accident and don’t have insurance, you may be able to avoid the insurance system by offering the other driver a cash payment for their damages. This is usually only reasonable when the damages are minimal.
It’s important to note that even if the other driver has coverage for uninsured motorists through their own insurance policy, they can still sue you for damages. This means that your personal property and assets could be at risk.
If You Were Not at Fault for the Accident
If you were not at fault for the accident but don’t have vehicle insurance, you are limited in what you can recover.
In California, this is called the “No Pay, No Play Rule.”
Even if you weren’t at fault for what happened, the fact that you didn’t have your own insurance puts you in a jeopardizing position. Technically, it is illegal to drive without insurance. For this reason, the State limits what you can recover.
You can’t recover what are called non-economic damages. This means that you can’t pursue the other party for damages including pain and suffering and loss of quality of life.
If you are involved in an accident and found to be driving without insurance, you could face legal repercussions. These include fines and potentially a suspended license.
You Might Have Insurance
One thing you may not have thought of is whether the car you were driving has insurance.
Remember that insurance follows the car rather than the driver. So if you don’t have your own insurance, but you borrowed someone else’s car with their permission, you may actually have insurance for the accident.
If you were driving a friend or family member’s car and they allowed you to use it, you may very well have insurance through their policy that can be used to pay for damages.
Other Ways to Recover Compensation
If you don’t have your own vehicle insurance and you weren’t driving someone else’s car as we described above, you still may have other avenues to recover compensation.
The best example is health insurance. If you have a health insurance policy, you can use this to help pay for your medical bills. Keep in mind that you will need to meet your deductible.
Another example is the involvement of a third party. If a third party was responsible for the accident, you can pursue them for compensation. For example, if the crash was due to a vehicle defect, you may be able to recover compensation from the vehicle or part manufacturer.
What You Need to Do Right Now
If you were in an accident and have no vehicle insurance, you need to talk to an attorney who specializes in these kinds of cases right away.
An attorney who specializes in vehicle accidents and knows the law in California will be able to inform you of your options and help you make the right decision about what to do next. This is especially important if the accident involved injuries.
If you caused the accident, you could face civil liability and be stuck footing the bill for the damage. If you didn’t cause the accident but didn’t have proper insurance, you could have a hard time recovering your damages.
Having an attorney on your side will give you the best chance at recovering your economic damages and getting the compensation you deserve.
Choosing the Right Attorney
The attorney you choose will impact your chances of winning your case.
It’s important to choose an attorney who has years of experience, a proven track record of results, and a true passion for helping people like you. Remember that everyone makes mistakes.
A good attorney understands that and will help you fight for your rights.
Were You in an Accident and Don’t Have Insurance?
Accidents happen and sometimes things don’t go as planned. Even if you have the best intentions, you can end up in an accident when you don’t have vehicle insurance. The bottom line is that you need to talk to a lawyer ASAP.
Click here to contact us today to schedule your free consultation.