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What to Do If You’re in a Car Accident with No Insurance

Car accidents can be terrifying ordeals, but when you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver, you may wonder if you can do anything about it. Caputo & Van Der Walde is a trusted law firm that specializes in personal injury cases, including car accidents.

In this article, you’ll learn what to do if you’re in a car accident when the other driver is underinsured or uninsured. Read on to find out what to do in situations involving uninsured car accidents and how Caputo & Van Der Walde can help in these legal matters.

Damaged Car After T-Bone Collision

The Importance of Having Car Insurance

Every California driver is legally required to have the bare minimum of car insurance coverage. When someone is in a car accident without insurance, they can wind up in hot water with the state.

Minimum auto insurance coverage includes $15,000 for injury or death to one person; $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person; and $5,000 for property damage. In January 2025, those minimum numbers will go up, but for now, this is what every driver must have to be insured in California.

Insurance coverage protects you in the event of a crash. While California follows an at-fault insurance model, if you caused an accident or shared some fault, insurance would pay the damages rather than forcing you to pay out of pocket. Likewise, if another driver caused the accident, their insurance coverage would take care of the damages caused by your personal injury.

The Legal Implications of Driving Without Car Insurance in California

The state of California takes driving without car insurance very seriously by imposing fines, impounding vehicles, and suspending licenses and registrations. If someone gets into an uninsured car accident, they could have their license suspended for up to four years.

While the laws are clear, people still drive without enough insurance coverage or any at all. This is why adding on uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is a smart idea. It is important to note that California practices a “no pay, no play” rule that forbids drivers without auto insurance from pursuing non-economic damages such as mental anguish after an accident, even when the other driver caused the crash.

Many people forget to make a payment or renew their insurance coverage. It can be a costly endeavor in California as it usually results in a premium increase upon renewal if you are at least 51% at fault in an accident.

Steps to Take After a Car Accident with No Insurance

The first steps you need to take after a no insurance car accident will depend on who is at fault. If you are not at fault, then the other driver’s insurance company is liable for paying your damages. However, if they are underinsured or not insured, it is wise to speak with a car accident attorney immediately to protect your rights.

The at-fault driver will be held liable for the damages even if they do not have insurance. If they have insurance but not enough coverage, it may not be enough to cover your damages. This will open up the potential for you to file a lawsuit. Things can quickly get complicated when you’re in a situation like this, which is another reason to get legal representation.

Regardless of who is at fault, the steps you take next can ensure your legal rights are protected.

Report the Accident and Get Medical Attention

The first step anyone should ever take after an accident, even when they don’t have insurance, is to check on everyone involved. It is best to call 911 to report the accident and summon emergency medical services to treat anyone with injuries.

You should take quick stock of your injuries, if any, but you should never assume you are fine if you don’t have any visible injuries. There are many injuries that don’t present visible symptoms in the moments after a crash. The sooner you get medical treatment, the better you will be because you will prevent complications. You will also have a valuable piece of evidence in the form of medical records to back up your injury claims.

Remain on the Scene

Drivers that get into car accidents without insurance may be tempted to leave the scene but that would be a foolish move. Leaving the scene of a crash in California has serious consequences that range from misdemeanor charges for accidents with only property damage to felony charges if someone is hurt or killed.

You should make sure you exchange contact information with the other driver. If they refuse to show you their insurance information, let the police know when they arrive.

Avoid Admissions of Guilt

When you’re in a car accident, you may feel compelled to apologize even if you did nothing wrong. Often, those in these situations may say they are sorry even if they were not at fault. Let the accident investigators and reconstructionists determine who caused the crash.

Get Evidence

Photos and videos of the accident scene may be helpful in your uninsured car accident. If anyone saw what happened, be sure to get their contact information and a statement. Even if the other driver was driving without insurance, this does not automatically make them the liable party in an accident.

Protect Your Legal Rights

After an uninsured car accident, it is imperative that you work with an attorney. Since the state follows an at-fault insurance model, you may be blamed for the crash whether you have insurance or not. If you do not have insurance, you will not be allowed to recover damages for pain and suffering. Drivers with insurance in California should seriously consider adding uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to pay for losses in the event of an accident to avoid this type of situation.

Some drivers don’t realize that their coverage needs to be renewed and wind up driving without insurance coverage. Others are struggling to make ends meet and are behind on payments. No matter what kind of scenario you face, a San Jose personal injury lawyer can stand up for your legal rights.

Contact the law firm of Caputo & Van Der Walde to get the legal advice and assistance you need after an uninsured car accident.