Can You File an Injury Claim after a Crash if You Don’t Have Insurance?
May 10th, 2021|
After a crash that wasn’t your fault, you need money for your repair bills, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You’ve probably heard all about personal injury claims, accident lawyers, and suing at-fault drivers, and that path may sound like the right option for you to cover your overwhelming accident-related expenses. There’s just one problem: you don’t have auto insurance!
Indiana law requires all drivers to carry an active auto insurance policy with certain minimum coverage amounts. That means that even if you weren’t at fault for your crash, you were violating the law by driving without coverage.
You may have even received a citation at the crash scene for your lack of insurance. But does that affect your ability to file a compensation claim against the driver who did cause the crash? Keep reading to find out.
Uninsured Drivers Are Everywhere in Indiana
Almost all states in the U.S., including Indiana, require that drivers purchase and maintain auto insurance with liability coverage. That coverage is designed to pay the accident-related expenses of anyone the policyholder hurts if they cause a crash.
However, one in eight American drivers doesn’t have any auto insurance, and Indiana’s rate is right in line with that, with around 14% of drivers in the Hoosier State being on the road illegally because of a lack of insurance. When those drivers cause crashes that injure others, the victims are often left unable to get compensation unless they have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on their insurance policies.
Indiana Is a “No Pay, No Play” State—but Only for Non-Economic Damages
On the flip side, uninsured drivers also face roadblocks if they’re hurt by negligent drivers due to the state’s “No Pay, No Play” law. This law went into effect on July 1, 2015, and it prevents uninsured drivers who have been previously cited for not having insurance from getting compensation after crashes for non-economic damages such as:
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship and consortium
In other words, any damages that can’t easily be given a financial value are typically off-limits to uninsured drivers who were hurt because others were driving negligently. Indiana is one of only a dozen or so states with this law, but it only affects part of most injury claims, and only for drivers with certain accident and citation histories related to their lack of insurance.
What Previous Citations Make Uninsured Drivers Ineligible for Non-Economic Damages?
The two scenarios that can render uninsured drivers ineligible for pursuing non-economic damages after crashes that weren’t their fault include:
- They were previously involved in an accident and didn’t have valid auto insurance.
- They were required to show proof of their insurance policy within the past five years and didn’t do so.
Economic Damages Are Still Fair Game for Uninsured Drivers
Although uninsured drivers are ineligible to seek compensation for pain and suffering, they can still pursue settlements for their medical bills and lost wages. And because these damages are often the costliest for injured drivers, it’s important for uninsured motorists in Indiana to still pursue compensation after crashes that weren’t their fault. They can improve their chances of getting compensation, even if they didn’t have insurance at the time of their crash, by hiring an experienced auto accident attorney.
Insurance Companies May Be Even Tougher on Uninsured Drivers
If you’re uninsured, you can still pursue compensation for your economic damages after a crash that wasn’t your fault, and there’s a good chance you can even pursue non-economic damages as well, depending on your driving and citation history.
But as always, there’s an uncooperative insurance company standing between you and the money you’re owed. Insurance companies look for any excuse to reduce or deny claims, and finding out that you’re uninsured is just more ammo for them to dismiss you. Don’t let the insurance company deny you the money you need to move forward with your life. Contact the Indiana auto accident lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin today for a free consultation.