What Do I Do if My Insurance Lapses and I Get in a Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has driven uninsured, you’re far from alone. While driving without insurance is best avoided, it’s far more common than most drivers suspect — and it’s only growing more prevalent with time. Data from the Insurance Research Council reveals that 13 percent of American drivers were uninsured as of 2015, compared to just 12.3 percent in 2010. In a few states, the uninsured rate exceeds 20 percent. Many of these drivers have held extensive insurance coverage in the past but let it lapse due to financial concerns or other issues. Others, however, have never maintained proper insurance coverage.
If you’ve suffered an accident while having lapsed car insurance, you face an uncertain future. Depending on the circumstances of your crash, you could be forced to deal not only with out-of-pocket damages, but also insurance rate increases or even lawsuits. Strong legal representation will prove vital during this difficult time, especially as you navigate the unique complications of your case. Below, we detail a few of the most common concerns faced by uninsured drivers involved in car accidents — and a few possible solutions to lighten the burden:
Paying for Damages Out of Pocket
If your vehicle is damaged in a crash, you might think to first contact an auto accident attorney right away, but, unfortunately, you will need to cover all expenses out-of-pocket. Insurance policies enacted after the accident will not cover the damages — you are completely on your own. The financial burden of repairing or replacing your car may be that much greater if you’re hit with fines or legal action. Even the insured driver may struggle to cover accident-related expenses out-of-pocket, as some insurance companies resist paying claims involving uninsured drivers.
Future Insurance Rate Hikes
A lack of insurance at the time of your accident could contribute to the very issue that may have kept you from obtaining insurance in the first place — high rates. In general, insurers assess higher rates for drivers involved in accidents. If involved in an accident while uninsured, however, those same drivers may pay even more. These rates may prompt drivers to avoid future insurance policies, thereby increasing the likelihood of future uninsured accidents.
Car Accident Lawsuits in At-Fault States
Many accidents involving a lack of insurance lead to lawsuits in which the other driver alleges negligence. The other driver may draw on evidence from the scene of the crash to paint a picture of a highly irresponsible motorist — a picture only strengthened by that motorist’s lack of insurance. Exceptional legal advocacy is needed to combat these allegations and demonstrate that the accused driver is not to blame for the accident. Aggressive legal action is not always recommended for insured drivers, however, as the uninsured driver may lack recoverable assets.
Car accident lawsuits are of an area of significant concern in fault states, such as Connecticut. All drivers must carry liability insurance, but if somebody is injured in a car accident, he or she is more likely to secure compensation outside of the insurance process. Additionally, any passengers who suffer injuries due to negligence behind the wheel may also obtain damages. Depending on the number of people present in the vehicle and the severity of their injuries, accident-related lawsuits could lead to considerable damages. Drivers found at fault may lose their savings. Some may even be forced to declare bankruptcy.
What If the Other Driver Was at Fault?
In Connecticut, fault can play a huge role in determining how uninsured drivers fare following an accident. Outcomes may prove more favorable if the other driver is deemed at fault, as his or her insurance may cover the damage. In this situation, your failure to provide proof of insurance at the site of the accident does not imply fault. Your lack of insurance may, however, prompt doubt among officers on the scene, who could unfairly assume you caused the accident. Furthermore, being at the mercy of the other party’s insurer is not necessarily ideal. Insurance companies tend to side with policyholders, who sometimes change their story after they’ve left the scene of the accident.
What About Grace Periods?
If you typically maintain a robust car insurance policy and make payments on time, you may be able to take advantage of a grace period. Although not available for all drivers, this option could provide considerable relief in the event of an accident. Grace periods vary dramatically from one insurance provider to the next, so it’s important to read the fine print and fight for coverage if your situation clearly falls within the bounds of this option. Most insurers will not move forward with claims until policyholders have caught up with necessary payments. For others, unfortunately, any lapse at all is essentially equivalent to lacking insurance whatsoever.
Working with a CT Car Accident Attorney: The Need for Strong Legal Representation
Regardless of the role insurance and negligence played in your crash and its aftermath, it’s important to seek legal representation as you move forward with your car accident case. To begin, keep a log of all details of the accident — and what happened after — to share with your personal injury lawyer. From there, your car accident attorney can help you determine whether you have a viable case — and how best to protect you from the issues highlighted above. Depending on your situation, your attorney may help you deal with difficult car insurance providers or even move forward with a lawsuit. Both processes call for extensive evidence and assertive advocacy. There should never be any question as to whether your car accident lawyer has your back.
There is no substitute for aggressive legal representation in the aftermath of a car accident — especially if you were uninsured at the time of the crash. However, with support from McCoy & McCoy, even seemingly hopeless car accident cases can reach favorable resolutions. As a highly trusted car accident attorney serving New Haven, Greenwich, Hartford, Danbury, and all throughout the state of Connecticut, McCoy & McCoy boasts a history of success in personal injury law. Contact us at your earliest convenience to get started with your free lawyer consultation in CT.