November 5, 2023
What Do I Do if The Other Driver Doesn’t Have Car Insurance?
By Jonathan Damashek
When you’re in a car accident, you expect the at-fault party’s insurance company to cover your damages. However, the situation can become complex if they don’t have car insurance. You should know that you still have options for recovering compensation after a motor vehicle accident, even if the at-fault party doesn’t have liability insurance coverage.
New York’s Insurance Requirements
New York requires all drivers to have multiple types of insurance. According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), all registered drivers must have at least:
- $25,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for death per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 per accident
- $10,000 in property damage for a single accident
This 25/50/10 liability insurance will cover damages of another person if you are at fault in a crash.
Additionally, you must have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage) that will cover medical expenses no matter who is at fault. Specifically, PIP will cover $50,000 or more (depending on the policy limit you purchase) of medical bills, economic losses, and death benefits.
Penalties for Not Having Insurance in New York
If you do not have the minimum required insurance in New York, you will face penalties. If you are stopped or have a crash without insurance, you may receive a fine of between $150 and $1,500. There is an additional $750 civil penalty fee if your license is revoked. Your car may also be impounded, and your driving privileges could be revoked for up to three years. You may even face up to 15 days in jail.
Optional Insurance in New York
You may also opt to have other insurance that can cover your damages, such as:
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM) – This will cover your damages if the other person does not have insurance or they do not have enough to cover all your losses.
- Comprehensive Coverage – This covers your damages to your vehicle caused by a non-collision event that is outside of your control, such vandalism or fire.
- Collision Coverage – This will cover the costs of fixing your car if you are in a crash and the other person’s insurance will not cover damages or are at fault.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Insurance?
Your uninsured motorist (UM) insurance may cover some of your damages after a crash with someone who does not have insurance. The purpose of UM coverage is to make sure you have a way to cover your damages.
UM insurance will typically cover bodily injury as well as property damage. It acts like third-party insurance. Although it is your own insurance company, you will file a claim and prove your damages to get the money you need.
Since even your own insurance company is trying to make money, you need to work with a car accident lawyer who is familiar with UM insurance claims. This will ensure your own insurance company won’t improperly deny or delay your claim.
What If There Are Multiple Liable Parties?
If there are multiple parties who may be liable for your accident, you have even more options to recover compensation. You may have to file multiple insurance claims and let the companies fight out who will ultimately pay for your damages.
If you take multiple at-fault parties to court, a jury might determine the percentage of fault for each party, and they would be responsible for that percentage of damages.
What If I Am Partially at Fault for the Crash?
New York follows the rule of comparative negligence. That means that if you share some fault for the crash, you can still recover compensation for your injuries up to the percentage that the other party was at fault. In fact, you can get money no matter how much fault you share.
For example, if you were 60% at fault in an accident, you can recover 40% of your damages from the other party. If you were 20% at fault, you can recover 80% of your damages.
What to Do After a Crash with an Uninsured Driver
If you are involved in a crash with an uninsured driver, it’s important to take certain steps to preserve your right to get compensation later.
You should immediately call the police and report the accident. You will need a police report about the accident to prove the other driver was at fault and didn’t have insurance.
Get Medical Treatment
Don’t worry about who will pay for damages right away. You should always get medical treatment after a crash. Your PIP insurance or UM/UIM coverage can cover your medical bills. Getting prompt medical treatment will prove that you were injured and provide a basis for the severity of your injuries.
Record the Scene
Take pictures and videos of the accident scene before moving any of the vehicles. Make sure you get pictures of damage to the vehicles and any signs, traffic lights, and roadway markings.
Get Information from the Other Drivers
Get contact information and driver’s license numbers or license plate numbers for anyone else who was involved in the crash. They may be reluctant to give you that information if they don’t have car insurance, but the police will get the same information for the accident report.
Get Contact Information for Witnesses
If there were any witnesses or passengers in the vehicles, you should collect their names, phone numbers, and email addresses. Your car accident lawyer will want to contact them to get statements about what happened.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
One of the most important steps after an accident with an uninsured vehicle is to contact a car accident attorney who is familiar with uninsured and underinsured accidents. These crashes pose unique challenges, and you will need to act fast to get the money you need to cover your losses.
Call a New York Car Accident Lawyer
When you’ve been involved in a crash and the other driver doesn’t have insurance, it’s important to find a lawyer who has experience dealing with uninsured motorists. You need someone who understands New York uninsured accident laws. The law firm of Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. not only has the knowledge, but the experience to handle your claim. Call us today at (212) 490-5700 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation.