Home / Blog / What Happens If You Get in a Car Accident When You Don’t Have Insurance?

Having a car accident and you’re uninsured is always complicated. Indiana law requires all motorists to carry an auto insurance policy with bodily injury liability and property damage liability. If you don’t have insurance and get into a car crash, you could face greater expenses, including fines, out-of-pocket expenses related to property damage and medical bills, and possible license suspension. Read on as we shed light on what happens when you don’t have insurance and get into a car accident and how an Indianapolis car accident lawyer can help.

The Legal Consequences of Driving Without Insurance

As mentioned earlier, if caught driving without insurance in Indiana, you will likely face severe penalties. These penalties vary depending on whether you have previous arrests. Generally, the legal consequences of driving without insurance in Indiana include:

  • First offense penalties: The first offense for driving without insurance in Indiana gets you a 90-day license suspension. You must also carry an SR-22 certificate for a minimum of three years.
  • Second offense penalties: The second offense for driving without insurance in Indiana results in a $500 fine and one-year license suspension. You must also carry an SR-22 certificate for three years.
  • Third offense penalties: The third and any other subsequent offenses for driving without insurance in Indiana result in a $1000 reinstatement fee. Your license will also be suspended for one year. You must also carry an SR-22 certificate for five years.

Indiana Is a Fault State

Indiana is a fault state. This means filing a car accident claim and how much you receive in compensation depends on who is at fault. If the other driver were at fault, you could file a claim with their insurance company to receive full compensation. Indiana is also a comparative fault state, meaning the damages you recover depend on the percentage of fault you may share for the accident. Provided you don’t bear more than 50% of the fault for the accident, you can file with the other driver’s insurance company. Remember, Indiana has a “No Pay, No Play” law, which limits your ability to recover non-economic damages if you have been cited before for non-economic damages.

Recovery Options After a Car Accident in Indiana

If you get into a car accident in Indiana, you have three options to recover your damages:

Filing a Claim With the Other Driver’s Insurance Company

As mentioned earlier, Indiana is a fault state. If you believe the other driver was more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies can be hard to deal with. They will do everything possible to deny or reduce your claim. By hiring an experienced car accident lawyer Indianapolis residents  can get help to deal with the insurance company so they can focus on recovery.

Filing a Claim With Your Own Insurance

If the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance or you bear more than 50 percent fault in an Indiana car accident, your only available option to recover damages is to file a claim with your own insurance. However, if you are the at-fault driver and have no insurance, you will not have an easy way to recover damages for your losses.

Pursuing a Lawsuit Against the Other Driver

If you don’t have insurance and get into a no-fault accident with an uninsured driver, you can file a lawsuit through an Indianapolis car accident lawyer against the other driver directly. However, before you file the lawsuit, ensure the other driver has personal finances to cover your damages. You won’t get much if you sue a penniless  at-fault driver.

What Happens If the Other Driver Is Uninsured?

Although liability insurance is mandatory in Indiana, not all drivers follow the law. Fortunately, Indiana requires all auto insurance policies to include underinsured motorist coverage and uninsured motorist coverage:

  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM): The UM coverage pays for bodily injury of up to $25,000 for one person or $50,000 for two or more people in one accident in case you get into an accident with a faulty driver without insurance. It also pays for property damage of up to $25,000. 
  • Underinsured Motorist Coverage: The UIM provides coverage of $50,000 for bodily injury for one person.

How Uninsured Motorist Coverage Works

By law, the insurance policies in Indiana include uninsured motorists’ coverage for bodily injury and property damage. Generally, the uninsured motorist coverage pays for your losses if a driver without auto insurance hits you. It pays for medical bills and other expenses for you and your passengers if you are in an accident a driver with no liability car insurance causes. Ideally, uninsured motorist coverage can pay for:

  • Medical bills.
  • Lost wages.
  • Pain and suffering compensation.
  • Funeral expenses.
  • Property damage.

Although Indiana requires that your insurance company offer you the coverage, you can reject this coverage by putting it in writing. 

What Is the No Pay, No Play Law?

The no pay, no play law applies to uninsured drivers who sustain injuries or property damage in a crash. The law states that an uninsured driver at fault cannot collect damages for pain and suffering or physical impairment.

Can Police Reports Help Determine Who’s at Fault?

Police reports cannot be used to determine fault officially. However, they contribute immensely to the final decision. Police reports help strengthen your claim against the other driver. It is essential that you call the police soon after the accident, even if you were driving without insurance. 

What Happens If It Is Unclear Who Is at Fault?

Insurance companies take the lead in determining fault after an accident. They use various resources to determine fault, including police reports, eyewitness statements, photos, videos, driver’s statements, and more. In some cases, the insurance company cannot reach an agreement on fault. When the fault isn’t clear, adjusters from each insurance company negotiate until they reach an agreement. In Indiana, if fault cannot be accurately determined, the fault is split evenly between both parties.

Can I go to Jail for Driving Without Insurance in Indiana?

You can’t go to jail for driving without insurance in Indiana. However, you will likely face costly financial penalties that are greater than paying for car insurance. Experts recommend that you get a policy with uninsured motorist coverage to protect you in case of an accident with an uninsured driver.

Wagner Reese Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help 

If you were involved in an Indiana car accident whether you had insurance or not, it is crucial to contact an experienced car accident lawyer immediately. Our highly experienced personal injury lawyers at Wagner Reese Law Office will help you recover maximum compensation for your damages from the insurance company. Our car accident lawyers in Indianapolis will investigate the specifics of your accident to determine who is at fault. They will also explain your options and guide you on the best way to proceed with your case. Contact us today for a free conversation about your claim.

This content has been reviewed by the attorneys at the Wagner Reese offices.