What happens if the at-fault party doesn’t have car insurance depends on several factors. These factors include the severity of your injuries, the value of your case, and your level of insurance coverage.
According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), drivers who cause an accident without having insurance will lose their license for a year or more and face fines of up to $1,500. However, these penalties go to the state and will not help you pay for your medical treatment, lost income, and other losses.
You should consider speaking with a New York car accident lawyer about your case if the at-fault party does not have auto liability coverage. An attorney can evaluate your legal options and help you determine your next steps to seek compensation to cover your expenses.
For Victims with Non-Serious Injuries, Your No-Fault Insurance May Provide All The Compensation You Need
In many cases, what happens if the at-fault party doesn’t have car insurance is no different than what might happen if they did have the required liability insurance. This is because, for many accident victims, specifically those who have suffered non-serious injuries, the totality of their compensation will come from their personal injury protection (PIP) policy.
Under the state’s no-fault car accident laws, accident victims turn to their PIP policy for compensation for certain accident-related expenses. This policy provides up to $50,000 in coverage that includes:
- Medical expenses based on a published schedule of fees
- About 80 percent of your lost wages up to $2,000 a month
- Up to $25 a day for other related expenses
Victims can only pursue a fault-based claim when they suffer injuries considered “serious” under New York law—such as broken bones, permanent injuries, or injuries that cause significant impairment for 90 days or more—or if their expenses exceed the limits of their PIP policy.
Filing a Claim Based on Your Uninsured Motorist Insurance Policy
If you meet the criteria for holding the at-fault driver accountable, but they do not have insurance, you will file a claim based on your uninsured motorist policy. New York law requires this coverage as well.
According to the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), you should have an uninsured motorist policy that will provide additional compensation if you exceed the limits of your PIP coverage. This policy will provide bodily injury coverage of at least:
- $25,000 for bodily injury
- $50,000 for wrongful death
If you were a passenger in the vehicle, you could qualify to file a claim with the driver’s policy. If you were a pedestrian and do not have this type of coverage (for example, because you do not own a car), you could qualify to use the policy of a family member who lives in the same house as you.
In this seemingly bizarre circumstance, you might think, “Wait, I was hit by a car that was uninsured, I don’t have car insurance, so my claim goes against the policy of a relative I live with?”
People are often immediately concerned about the possibility of a premium increase to the relative’s auto policy. This should not be a concern, as that policy had no fault associated with the claim.
An uninsured motorist claim attorney can help answer any questions you might have, and how the circumstances mentioned above relate to your particular situation.
Taking Legal Action Against the Uninsured Driver
You do not lose the right to take the uninsured, at-fault driver to court just because they do not have auto insurance. If you qualify to pursue a fault-based claim, you also have the option to name the driver as a defendant in a personal injury civil suit.
Generally, if supplemental underinsured motorist (SUM) coverage is available to you—that is, the coverage that permits you to make an uninsured motorist claim—that would be the preferred route. Most drivers who have no auto insurance also have no assets to collect against even if you win your lawsuit.
By accepting SUM benefits, you would assign your rights to sue the at-fault driver to the SUM insurance carrier but, again, that is probably the preferred option. Your attorney can discuss this with you during a free, no-obligation consultation.
Per New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules (CVP) §214, you only have a limited time to file a lawsuit. In addition to this statute of limitations, claims and lawsuits are also governed by other deadlines. Gathering witness statements or surveillance or dash-cam video as soon as possible, and before they potentially become unavailable, should be treated as the important time-sensitive factors that they are.
The sooner you contact an attorney, the greater the opportunity for them to build the strongest case possible on your behalf.
Let Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. Handle Your Accident Claims
When you hire Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. for your New York car accident case, our team will work with you to prove your claim and seek the compensation you qualify to recover. We can help you identify options if the at-fault driver does not have car insurance. Our team will:
- Keep you updated on your case
- Identify liable parties
- Communicate with all parties for you
- Gather vital evidence
- Determine a value for the case
- Fight to win the best possible outcome for you
We will review your car accident case for free and represent you on a contingency-fee-basis. You pay us nothing upfront, and we only collect our fees if we win your case. We represent traffic accident victims on Long Island or elsewhere in the New York metropolitan area.
To learn more, reach out to Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. for your complimentary consultation today. Call (516) 932-0400.