When you're involved in an auto accident and the other driver was at fault, you typically still have the right to sue for compensation for damages and losses you sustain, even if you don't have auto insurance. However, several states have instituted a rule that could prevent uninsured motorists from getting what they're owned. Here's the lowdown on this unexpected development.
No Pay, No Play
Every state requires drivers to purchase auto insurance, and you will be subjected to a myriad of consequences if you're caught driving uninsured. In the last couple of decades, about 11 states have implemented a rule severely limiting the type of damages uninsured accident victims can recover. In Missouri, for instance, you cannot recover non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, even if the other driver was 100 percent at fault.
The thinking behind this law is that people who don't contribute to the risk pool by obtaining insurance shouldn't be able to profit from it since they wouldn't be able to pay other victims' damages if they (the uninsured) were the liable parties in auto accidents. Regardless of the reasoning, at the end of the day, this means you won't be fully compensated for your injuries if you live in a state with this law and aren't insured.
Getting Around These Laws
At the moment, the only way around these no pay, no play laws is to qualify for an exception. For instance, the rule may not apply to you if your insurance company cancelled your policy without properly notifying you. Another exception is if you get involved in an auto accident with an intoxicated driver. If your case falls into one of the exceptions allowed by your state, you will be able to sue for and be awarded all your damages and losses.
Alternatively, another way to avoid this issue is to get the defendant to settle the case as soon as possible. Sometimes insurance companies or liable drivers will agree to pay the damages and losses without first checking to see if you have insurance, especially when it is clear the defendant was at fault. If you're lucky and the other party fails to do his or her due diligence before cutting a check, you may be able to get your full compensation.
For more information about no pay, no play laws or help litigating an auto accident case, contact an attorney, such as Loughlin Fitzgerald P C.