Sometimes, drivers in California get into car accidents no matter how careful they are. It can get more complex when the person who caused the accident is uninsured. Most states require drivers to carry liability insurance, but some drivers only keep it long enough to register the vehicle and then cancel it. Several things could happen if someone gets hit by a driver without insurance coverage.
Research by the Insurance Research Council in 2011 found that 1 in 10 drivers in the U.S. had no insurance in 2009. The report showed that 28% of drivers carried no insurance in Mississippi followed by Florida, Tennessee, New Mexico and Oklahoma. During hard economic times, the number of drivers without insurance increases.
When the Other Driver Isn’t Insured
Since laws vary, what happens to uninsured drivers depends on the state. If the state has tort, or no-fault, laws, the at-fault driver’s insurance pays the claim. Drivers without many assets are likely to have coverage, and drivers who win claims may not be able to recover all damages. Under states that have no fault-based laws, the drivers involved have to pay for damages they caused regardless of fault.
No-fault laws limit a person’s power to bring claims against the at-fault driver. To avoid damages caused by uninsured drivers, drivers have the option of adding uninsured driver protection to their policies. This covers a driver’s medical bills and lost wages. Drivers may litigate in some no-fault states to recover the remaining damages.
Motor vehicle accidents often cause financial losses as well as physical and psychological damage. If the at-fault driver’s insurance provider refuses to pay or offers an unfair settlement, a victim may retain legal assistance to help negotiate a fairer settlement.