If you were not at fault for an accident but do not have insurance, you can still file a legal case against the liable party and try to recover monetary compensation from them.
The liable party might try to make things difficult for you. For example, they might use your lack of coverage against you. A Tacoma car accident lawyer can look for evidence on your behalf and work to prove that you are eligible for damages.
Seeking Accident Damages When You Do Not Have Insurance
In some ways, the process of pursuing compensation is the same whether you are insured or not. In both cases, you can:
- Hire a car accident attorney to explain and protect your rights
- Build a casefile with evidence showing that the other party caused your accident
- Calculate how much your case is worth and send a demand letter asking the liable party to pay that amount
- Take your case all the way to court, though many cases settle before that point
Filing an Accident Case Under Difficult Circumstances
You do not have to have a “perfect” case to file for compensatory damages. If someone else’s negligence caused your injuries, you have the right to expect them to pay for it, even if:
- You are uninsured.
- The police never showed up at the accident scene, or they did show up and then failed to give the other driver a citation.
- No one else witnessed your accident.
- The liable party claims you are partly or totally liable.
Challenges of Seeking Accident Compensation Without Insurance
The fact that you are uninsured may cause some difficulties as you file a case for damages, but these challenges are not insurmountable. Your personal injury lawyer can help you by:
- Emphasizing how dangerous and reckless the liable party’s actions were
- Collecting evidence that shows how much you have suffered because of the accident
- Getting in touch with the at-fault party’s insurer and working hard to persuade them to pay you a fair settlement
- Helping you get car insurance coverage to show that you are making an effort to comply with the law
Your Rights as Someone Who Did Not Cause the Accident
As the victim of another party’s negligence, you should not have to pay for their bad behavior all by yourself. You can:
- File a legal action to get the money you need, assuming that you start within your state’s deadline. For example, you have up to three years to begin such a case in Washington State, according to RCW § 4.16.080.
- Have your lawyer manage your case for you while you focus on recovering from your injuries
- Ask for as much compensation as you need to cover all past, present, and future financial losses
- Ask for as much compensation as you need to cover your physical and mental injuries, whether they are temporary or permanent
For a free legal consultation, call 206-558-5555
Car Insurance: How It Works and Who Needs It
Car insurance laws vary from state to state, with each state setting its own standards regarding:
- Minimum coverage amounts
- What types of insurance are needed
- What kinds of vehicles must be insured, and under what circumstances
- Exceptions to mandatory insurance requirements
Car Insurance in Washington State: An Example
According to the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner, the only type of auto insurance that drivers are legally required to purchase in that state is liability insurance. This kind of coverage will pay for any damage that the driver does to someone else’s person or property.
Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance will pay for any damage that you yourself sustain in an accident, regardless of who was at fault. Some states make PIP insurance mandatory, but Washington is not one of them.
In other words, even if you did have the coverage legally required by Washington State, it would not pay for your own damages.
What if an At-Fault Party Does Not Have Insurance?
If both you and the at-fault party have insufficient coverage (or no coverage at all), your only option for recovering compensation is to sue them personally. This could compel them to pay your damages out of their own pocket or through the sale of valuable assets, such as a house.
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage is available (and, in some states, mandatory) to cover accidents caused by uninsured or missing drivers. You can consider purchasing such insurance to protect you in future accidents.
What if Someone Claims You Were at Fault for the Accident?
Just because you were not at fault for an accident does not mean that the other party will not try to place the blame on you anyway. If this happens, you would have to prove that their claims are false. Otherwise, you could be stuck paying for their damages out of pocket if you do not have insurance.
Protecting Yourself After an Accident
Getting into a car accident is always scary, but getting sued for an accident you did not cause while having no insurance can make things even more stressful. Here are some actions you can take to safeguard your rights after a crash:
- Get medical help immediately.
- Document the scene exactly as it is at the time of the crash by taking plenty of pictures and getting the names of any witnesses.
- Minimize what you say and who you say it to. In general, you should answer questions from the police, your doctor, and your lawyer, but no one else.
- Share everything you know about the crash with your attorney, even if you are afraid it might not paint you in a favorable light (that includes the fact that you are uninsured).
- Ask your lawyer plenty of questions so that you understand your rights and are comfortable taking action based on those rights.
Let Us Seek Accident Compensation From the At-Fault Party’s Insurance
If you were not at fault for an accident but do not have insurance, Jackman Law Firm wants to hear from you. Our team can look into your accident and figure out the best way to fight for your damages. Call us today and find out why we are a law firm worthy of your trust.