Indiana state law requires you to carry minimum liability insurance before you hit the road. If you drive without insurance, you can face criminal consequences for your misconduct. That said, driving without insurance does not automatically make you at fault for any accident you get into. Personal injury lawyers can still investigate an accident and assign fault based on negligence.
With that in mind, you can hold another party liable for your car wreck losses even if you drive without car insurance. While you may still face severe fines for driving without appropriate coverage, you can work with a Vaughan & Vaughan car accident lawyer in Indiana to hold another party financially accountable for your accident recovery.
Assigning Fault After a Car Accident
Set questions regarding car insurance and its impact on your post-accident life aside for a moment. Who assigns fault after a car accident, and what methods do those parties use to come to their conclusions? Most of the time, the responsibility for assigning accident fault falls to the insurance companies involved in the accident.
Police reports can also include a precinct’s opinion as to which party involved in the accident caused the crash. Both of these parties rely on evidence found at the scene to determine what kind of negligence drove a particular party to violate the duty of care owed to the other.
A law firm’s investigators can rely on similar evidence to either challenge or affirm accusations of fault. The evidence that most often appears in car accident cases can include the following:
- Video and photo footage of an accident
- Statements from witnesses
- Accident recreations
- Expert witness input
- Cell phone data
- Black box data, if applicable
No party can assign fault for an accident without having evidence of negligence on hand. Your lack of car insurance at the time of an accident is a form of negligence, but it is not the kind of negligence that can make you automatically responsible for a crash.
You Must File a Car Accident Claim After a Collision
Indiana requires any driver involved in a car accident to report that accident within ten days, as stated by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. If you do not fill out an accident report, you may have to contend with accident-related fines, particularly if you left the scene without exchanging information with another impacted party.
The only time you don’t have to fill out an accident report is when the accident in question results in less than $1,000 in property damage. Even then, you should consider filing a report, as doing so may allow you to secure damages for your other losses.
What does this have to do with whether or not you carry insurance? In short, you should not avoid filing an accident report even if you suspect that you may get in trouble for failing to carry the state’s minimum required liability coverage. The consequences of not filing a claim can vastly outweigh the value of you doing so.
Reacting to Your Car Accident
If you don’t have insurance and you get into an accident, your first instinct, after assessing your injuries and checking on your passengers, may be to panic. The consequences of driving without insurance are, after all, designed to discourage you from doing so. That said, you need to take concentrated steps if you want to keep your paths to legal action open in the future.
Stay at the Scene
Whatever you do, do not flee the scene of the accident. Even if you and the other party agree not to call the police, exchange information, and check on possibly-injured parties before going your separate ways. If you don’t make an effort to do this, you may be accused of a hit and run.
Hit and run accidents bear significantly more severe consequences than driving without insurance. As such, it’s important to stay at the scene until either you and the other party come to an agreement or the police arrive.
Document Your Losses
Provided that neither you nor any of your passengers are severely injured, you should use the time you have at the accident scene to document your losses. Take pictures and gather statements from bystanders. The more evidence you have of the financial burden an accident may place on you, the easier it may be for you to argue for compensation in civil court.
You can also use this time to contact an Indiana car accident lawyer. Our attorneys can join you at the accident scene and mediate with police officers on your behalf. While we can’t get involved with criminal charges, we can manage your communications and ensure that you maintain your right to later pursue a civil case for car accident damages.
Discussing Your Legal Options After a Car Accident
Failure to carry the state’s minimum liability coverage can see the state suspend your license for up to 90 days. You may then have to pay a fine of $250 to have your license reinstated. The more times you’re caught driving without insurance, the more severe that suspension and fine can become, according to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
Personal injury lawyers cannot help you challenge accusations of criminal misconduct on the road. What we can do is help you sue an at-fault party for car accident damages. You have the right to file a personal injury claim, take that claim to court, and either pursue a civil trial or negotiate for a settlement.
That said, your right to damages gets limited if you don’t have insurance. You may not file for non-economic damages if you did not have insurance at the time of your accident or have a history of driving without insurance. Indiana refers to this as its “No Pay, No Play” policy. You can, however, recover financial support for your medical bills, vehicular repairs, and lost wages.
Let’s Investigate Your Recent Car Accident Together
You can face long-lasting legal consequences if you take to the road without the appropriate insurance. Still, you can file a complaint against another person should the other party’s negligence result in a dangerous accident. You can work with Vaughan & Vaughan to assign fault for your losses and demand the compensation you need to recover.
Our car accident attorneys in Indiana cannot help you address any criminal charges you face for driving without insurance. You can, however, turn to our team for help building a personal injury claim against an at-fault party after a car wreck. Contact us through the Vaughan & Vaughan contact form or by calling our office, and we can get your first case consultation on the books.