What to do if sued for a car accident with no car insurance?
No matter where you live operating a vehicle with no car insurance exposes you to plenty of personal liability. Without car insurance you can be held personally liable for all the damages of a car accident you were determined to be at-fault in. Even in no-fault car insurance states you still have exposure to litigation especially if the damages exceed your policy coverage.
“Car insurance is not only mandatory but also necessary financial protection”
The number of uninsured drivers has reached massive numbers with States like Texas claiming some 30% of drivers are uninsured and while many people simply can not afford auto insurance premiums there are others who just believe they will never get in an accident. For those drivers with limited budgets most states have reduced car insurance requirements for low income families but you have to apply for eligibility to the state programs (the California low cost auto insurance program for example). However if you choose to drive with no insurance or just happen to be driving under a lapsed policy there are still some must-do things if you are involved in litigation to help defend a lawsuit.
Document the Accident
Paperwork is critical since it’s a well known fact people change stories or facts become questionable after drivers leave the scene of an accident. Take pictures and write down all the facts at the time of the accident. Although your handwritten notes surely will not be entered into evidence by a judge they will help with questions your attorney may have at a later date. Some of the most important things to take note of are:
- Exact street address where the accident happened
- Direction of travel for all cars involved
- Note any road signs or key points (like a school zone or left hand turn)
- Names and phone numbers of any witnesses
- Names and phone numbers of any passengers for you and the other vehicles
- And anything else you can think of!
The more information available to a defense attorney the better case you will have to defend against liability. Many car accidents also involve a written police report and this is critical to get your hands on. If a police officer is at the scene make sure you get his card and phone number and secure a formal copy of the police report once it is filed.
Retain Expert Counsel – Do not be your own lawyer
Getting served with a lawsuit can be a scary thing for many people but defending yourself in court against an experienced attorney is only a recipe for disaster. Logic does not always apply in a courtroom and you should retain an expert attorney in the auto accident field. Its probably hard to find a good personal recommendation but most lawyers do offer a free consultation so interview a few potential lawyers and choose one familiar with cases like yours. You can Google terms such as “Car Accident Attorney” or “Auto Accident Lawyer” and Google will most likely display some local search results as a starting point.
Know all your Car Insurance Options
Driving with no car insurance is a big risk and one where many (or all) of your financial assets will be put at risk so instead of exposing yourself to such great personal liability at least consider some form of car insurance. Whether its just a policy which meets state minimum requirements or a lesser policy conforming to special low income car insurance programs by the state. The cost of driving with no car insurance is always far greater than paying premiums on a policy.
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