There’s nothing quite as unfortunate as both having an accident and getting hurt. To make matters worse, injured parties are often forced to handle paperwork without knowing if an insurance provider will compensate them or not. It’s time consuming and often a major headache. In the end, you hopefully get some form of financial compensation out of the wait. This will at least make you feel a little bit better about the incident due to insurance helping you get back on your feet. However, not everyone that is involved in an accident is insured. So, what if you didn’t have insurance to help you in a time of need?
It’s a truly terrifying thought, but you could suffer a serious financial burden if you are not insured or the party at fault for your injury is not insured. Drivers are not supposed to be on the road without insurance, but the truth is that people tend to break a lot of driving laws in general. With the cost of insurance plans nowadays, it is not surprising that some will opt to take the risk of driving without insurance. Measuring the risk vs the benefits is always tricky. However, when the risks become a reality, you need to know if you can still get compensated and what to do to get it, even if you are uninsured.
No Pay, No Play
The first thing to understand is the “No Pay, No Play” Law or rule (“NPNP”). The NPNP is a basic law at its core: if you don’t pay for insurance, you don’t get the full insurance coverage. This is the worst-case scenario, and will come into effect if you are either the victim or the cause of the accident. If you are the victim without insurance, you may not be able to claim for damage compensation such as pain or suffering, but may be able to get reimbursement for medical bills or property damage.
There are currently 10 states that use the No Pay, No Play law. These states are: Alaska, Kansas, Louisiana, North Dakota, New Jersey, Oregon, Michigan, Oklahoma, Iowa, and California.
Outside of the “No Pay, No Play” States
Now, if you live outside of a NPNP state, it does not mean you automatically gain access to full benefits and claim status while uninsured. Every state has different laws for people without insurance, and each state must be researched and studied to know what you can expect if you are uninsured. Currently, most states still have you pay for any lawyers, bills, etc., but are very vague on what terms you can claim compensation.
Handling an Accident Without Insurance
If you have taken the time to browse through any of our past blog posts regarding accidents, it is likely that you have come across our general procedural guidelines for how to handle an accident. If you are uninsured or dealing with an opposing party that is uninsured, these guidelines are even more important to follow. For starters, you should make sure everyone is safe following the accident. Call 911 regardless of injuries in a situation where there is an uninsured motorist. While this will likely lead to a ticket, leaving the scene of an accident can only hurt the uninsured driver’s case even more. Be sure to exchange contact information and avoid discussing details of the accident until the police arrive. If dealing with an uninsured motorist, it might be wise to ask to see his/her driver’s license. After the accident, try to avoid giving recorded statements to any insurance companies, regardless of what side you are on.
We have gone over both the NPNP states and the non-NPNP states, but always keep this in mind: Every state has different laws. Even if a state is under the NPNP law or rule, that does not necessarily mean you cannot file for compensation. It just means you may have a harder time gathering a case. Same thing with outside those states. Just because you are outside an NPNP state, does not mean you will automatically be able to claim compensation. The best way to know for sure whether you are able to claim for compensation and be accepted is to hire a lawyer that specializes in accident recovery. Although it may be costly, it is your surefire way to knowing if you are able to claim for compensation, as well as your chances of receiving it, and how much to claim.
Even if you are not insured, contact our attorneys for legal assistance today.