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Los Angeles Law Blog

By stephen of Kristensen, LLP posted in Car Accident on Monday, November 23, 2020.
Can I receive compensation after a car accident if I don’t have insurance?

Auto insurance is an essential form of coverage specifically in place to help protect you from financial distress following a car accident. Every insurance company and policy is different, but at the end of the day it’s a valuable asset to utilize if you do ever find yourself involved in an accident. In California, state law requires all drivers to hold auto liability insurance and keep proof of the insurance on them at all times when driving. Even with this, some people still proceed to drive without insurance, which can make receiving compensation in an accident quite difficult. It isn’t impossible, as there are some exceptions where uninsured drivers could receive compensation from a car accident.

 

No pay, no play

In California, every driver is required by state law to have at minimum a 15/30/5 liability policy – $15,000 for injury or death to one person in an accident caused by you, $30,000 for injury or death for more than one person in an accident you caused, and $5,000 for property damage in an accident you caused. Further, California operates under a “no pay, no play” law in regards to whether someone can obtain compensation or not. This law essentially means if you don’t have valid auto insurance that can fully compensate another person, you shouldn’t be able to claim full compensation from someone else’s insurance, even if you’re the victim – the key word being “full”.

 

What can I receive if the other driver is at fault?

If you’re driving uninsured when you get into a car accident, at the fault of the other driver, you may be able to claim compensation if the accident results in property damage or injury. It’s well within your rights to seek damages in anything regarding economic loss, which includes both medical bills and vehicle repairs. On the other hand, some accidents result in non-economic damages as well, this includes loss of quality of life, as well as pain and suffering. In the case that you’re driving uninsured, non-economic damages are not something you would be able to pursue compensation for – even though the other driver is at fault.

 

Can I receive compensation if I cause the accident?

When a car accident occurs, whoever is deemed at fault will be responsible for any related damages. If you’re driving uninsured and cause an accident, you’ll be responsible for covering these costs – this includes both your own medical and related damage expenses, as well as the other driver’s and any passengers’ they may have, if applicable. Further, the other person(s) involved in the accident have the right to take legal action directly against you for the damages, which can put your personal assets at risk.

 

Unfortunately, some drivers may not even know that they’re driving uninsured. For example, it’s possible for coverage to lapse without the policy holder being aware. It is important to note, however, there is a possibility of being compensated – such as if the accident is caused by a third party, or if you carry health insurance. Representation that specializes in this area is often essential in navigating the complexities of these situations in order to minimize financial risk and loss. If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto collision where one of the involved drivers was not insured, reach out to our office to set up a free consultation.