Can I Still Recover Damages After a Car Accident if I Don’t Have Auto Insurance?
Florida has the highest number of uninsured drivers. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 26.7% of all motorists in the state have no auto insurance. But how does the lack of car insurance affect your ability to recover damages following a vehicle crash in Florida?
Why Drivers Do Not Purchase Auto Insurance
The Florida Statutes Section 324.022 requires all motorists to carry auto insurance. Although a driver’s failure to purchase car insurance may result in penalties – ranging from a fine to a suspension of license and registration – more than 1 in 4 car drivers in Florida are uninsured.
Reasons why motorists do not have auto insurance vary, but in the vast majority of cases, the decision to carry no auto insurance is financially-related. Typically, drivers do not purchase car insurance for the following reasons:
- They cannot afford auto insurance
- They cannot find an insurance company that would agree to offer them any insurance policy (this may happen when a driver has a bad driving record)
- They do not want to waste their time on finding an insurance policy
- They do not trust insurers
If your car crash is reported to the police, you will be issued a ticket for not carrying any auto insurance. But does it mean that you will not be able to recover damages because you do not have car insurance coverage? Not necessarily.
Can You Recover Damages After a Car Crash if You Don’t Have Auto Insurance?
In Florida, state law requires all motorists to carry a minimum amount of car insurance and no-fault coverage, which is also known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. The no-fault insurance coverage pays for your damages and losses following a car crash regardless of fault.
If you get into a car accident but do not have auto insurance at the time of the collision, your ability to seek compensation for your damages may be limited. Typically, uninsured motorists cannot get compensated for the damages and losses that would have been covered under their PIP coverage had they been insured.
However, if your injuries are considered “serious” or “permanent,” you may be entitled to sue the at-fault motorist in order to recover damages regardless of whether you carry auto insurance or not. Serious injuries include but are not limited to broken bones, brain injuries, amputations, severe burn injuries, and others.
When recovering damages through a lawsuit, an uninsured motorist may be able to seek compensation for their medical bills, loss of income, diminished earning potential, pain and suffering, and many other economic and non-economic damages.
If you were injured in an auto accident but did not have car insurance at the time of the collision, it is advised to consult with an experienced car accident attorney to explore your legal options. Also, keep in mind that it is never a good idea to flee the scene of a car crash because you do not have auto insurance. This would only make things worse.
Speak with our Lakeland car accident attorney at The Turnbull Firm to determine whether you can recover damages after a car crash if you do not have auto insurance. Call at 863-324-3500 for a free case evaluation.