Car accidents can leave the accident victim feeling confused and helpless. With the help of insurance companies and a personal injury lawyer, such victims would get the appropriate accident compensation. However, when one of the drivers is uninsured, the other motorist could be even more confused, and they would not know which actions to take.
After an auto accident, persons with severe bodily injuries are left with substantial medical expenses that they have to pay. Other additional payments may arise from an accident with an uninsured driver. At this point, the injured party would have many questions, such as “How would I get the right compensation from the fault party?” and “Can I sue the uninsured driver?” etc.
In this article, we would be answering some of the questions that might arise after an uninsured driver accident in Virginia.
- Uninsured Driving in Virginia
- What Should I Do After an Accident With an Uninsured Driver?
- Can You Sue an Uninsured Motorist for Your Accident Losses?
- Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Virginia
- Were You Involved in an Uninsured Driver Accident? Contact CAIL Law Firm for Help!
Uninsured Driving in Virginia
Virginia is a fault state. If a motorist is at fault in a motor vehicle accident, that driver must cover the other party’s medical expenses and damages. These payments are usually made by the motorist’s auto liability insurance carrier or auto insurance company.
Certain residents of Virginia do not have auto insurance coverage for various reasons. Some of them include:
- Lack of expenses or money to get insurance
- They are driving vehicles that they are not legally allowed to drive
- They allowed their policies to expire or lapse
In Virginia, if a driver decides not to get auto insurance, the following actions would occur:
- The uninsured motorist is expected to pay the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) an annual premium of $500 to waive insurance.
- Persons who choose to remain uninsured have 100% legal responsibility for any accident they cause. This means if an uninsured driver is at fault in a motor vehicle crash in Virginia, they will pay for all the costs and damages of the other party from their pockets.
Minimum car insurance coverages in Virginia have a 25/50/20 rule. In other words:
- $25,000 is for physical or bodily injuries or death of one injured person
- $50,000 is for bodily or personal injuries or death of two people
- $20,000 is for property damage liability
What Should I Do After an Accident With an Uninsured Driver?
Getting involved in a motor crash can be very frightening and distressing. However, it can become even more stressful if you can’t make an insurance claim. If you want to avoid being solely responsible for the vehicle damage and other losses, do the following:
Report the Incidence to the Police
After an accident involving a driver with no insurance, you need to report the accident to the police. Even if the driver tries to manipulate you emotionally and dissuade you from filing a police report, you have to avoid being swayed.
If you fail to report the accident to the police, you might not get the necessary payment. Also, failure to involve the police might make it difficult to prove the negligence of the at-fault driver.
Exchange Contact Information With the Uninsured Driver
This is an essential step to take immediately you get in a crash with an uninsured driver. Even if the driver has no insurance details or information, it is still important to get details about the driver. Examples of contact information you can get of the driver are the driver’s name, address, phone number, vehicle details, etc.
Seek Medical Attention
Once you have been cleared from the accident scene, you need to get a thorough medical evaluation. Personal injuries sustained in motor accidents can be very serious if they are not well managed.
Due to the adrenaline rush from the accident, you may not easily detect some injuries at first glance. Because of this, you need to seek professional help to carry out a total medical assessment to determine areas in your body that you could be hurting.
Contact Your Insurance Company and an Experienced Lawyer
Getting in touch with your insurer as soon as you get in a motor crash is one of the agreements in your auto insurance policy. It becomes all the more important if an uninsured driver is in the crash.
If you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault, uninsured driver, you need an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney to help with your lawsuit. Your insurance company and the car accident lawyer would work tirelessly to ensure justice is served.
File an Uninsured Motorist Coverage Claim
In Virginia, auto insurance policies must include uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage is usually the same amount as the driver’s liability coverage, that is, 25/50/20. The only way you might not have this is if you opted out of the uninsured motorist coverage voluntarily and in writing.
The uninsured motorist coverage implies that you can use it to cover your damages if you happen to get in an accident with an uninsured driver. However, there is a time limit to file the uninsured motorist claim. For this reason, it is important to contact your insurance company immediately after an uninsured driver accident.
Can You Sue an Uninsured Motorist for Your Accident Losses?
Yes, you can. Filing a lawsuit against an at-fault driver with no motorist insurance coverage is not an impossible task. However, you should know that even after suing the uninsured driver, there is no guarantee that such a driver is financially capable of compensating you for your losses.
But, because an uninsured at-fault driver might be unable to fulfill the requirements of your lawsuit, you might have to look into suing other potentially liable parties. This means there are some instances where third parties could be responsible for your accident.
The vehicle manufacturer becomes liable if they were aware that the vehicle had a defect and yet said nothing about it. You can sue the manufacturer for being negligent, making them partially liable for the accident.
The mechanic who recently worked on your vehicle or the uninsured vehicle could also be considered responsible for the crash. Mechanics have the responsibility of repairing parts of the vehicle. If they do not carry out this responsibility, malfunctions could occur, thereby resulting in an accident.
Motor Vehicle Owner
There are times when the uninsured driver is not the owner of the vehicle. In instances like this, you can sue the motor vehicle owner for the crash. The vehicle owner let an uninsured driver get behind the wheel, making them partly at fault in the crash. If the vehicle owner failed to maintain their vehicle properly, they might share property damage liability for the crash.
A particular company might have employed the driver of the vehicle. If the uninsured driver you had a crash with was working when the accident happened, then the driver’s employer could share financial responsibility.
Apart from the obvious negligent drivers, working with a seasoned car accident attorney would help you determine who else can be held liable for the motor crash.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Virginia
In Virginia, it is not illegal for a driver to drive their vehicle without having auto insurance. However, driving an uninsured motor vehicle comes with some severe consequences. An uninsured driver might face penalties such as payment of fines and the revocation of driving privileges.
Some of the likely punishments for driving without insurance or at least proof of insurance include:
- A $500 fine
- Driver’s license suspension
- If you want to get your license back, you must pay a fee of about $145
- Suspension of the vehicle’s license plate
- A Class 3 misdemeanor conviction
As a motorist, to avoid these penalties, you should ensure you have auto insurance or pay the $500 uninsured motorist fee. Paying the uninsured motor vehicle fee allows you to legally register your car and drive it without insurance for a year.
Were You Involved in an Uninsured Driver Accident? Contact CAIL Law Firm for Help!
At CAIL, we understand the trauma the automobile accident would have caused. So, while you take a period of time to recover, our experienced attorneys will work on your personal injury claims. If you were in an accident with an uninsured driver, we would work out the process and ensure you get the fitting payment.
CAIL is a personal injury law firm that puts the injured person first. We see our thousands of clients as real people who need help. Our skilled personal injury attorneys would be there until you get a good settlement. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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