Getting into a car accident without insurance is what some people might call a nightmare scenario. But in Indiana, it might not be the end of the world. Even if you’re uninsured, you may still be able to file a claim for your losses (also known as damages).
If you get into a car accident in Indiana without insurance, then your fate depends on who was at fault:
- If the other driver was at fault, then you can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.
- If you were at fault, then you likely cannot file a claim.
Indiana Fault Rules for Car Accidents
Indiana is a fault state. This means that where you file your car accident claim and how much compensation you receive depends on who is at fault.
Indiana is also a comparative fault state. That means that how much you can recover financially depends on the percentage of fault you may share for the car accident.
Recovery Options after a Car Accident
If you’ve been injured in an Indiana car accident, you have three options for recovering your damages:
- Filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company
- Filing a claim with your own insurance company
- Pursuing a lawsuit against the other driver
1. Filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company
If you’re not at fault for your Indiana car accident and you don’t have insurance, you’re in luck. Because you’re not at fault, you have the opportunity to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Who’s at Fault?
How do you know if you’re not at fault? Fault is something the insurance companies will often argue about. Because Indiana is a comparative fault state, you can bear a small percentage of fault and still recover financially through insurance. In Indiana, as long as you do not bear more than 50 percent of the fault for the car accident, you can file with the other driver’s insurance company.
Police reports do not determine fault officially, but they do contribute to the final decision. Some people without insurance try to avoid calling the police after a car accident. However, if you don’t call the police, you’ll find it nearly impossible to recover the compensation you deserve. It’s better to face the consequences for driving without insurance and keep your claim alive then to try to avoid facing reality and weaken your claim in the process.
Consider Customer Service
Beware: Filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company may not be easy. You’re not the insurance company’s direct client, so you may have to deal with long wait times and a frustrating customer service experience. An Indiana car accident attorney can deal with the other driver’s insurance company so you don’t have to.
Legal Consequences for Driving Without Insurance
Lastly, filing with an insurance company doesn’t mean you get out of facing legal consequences for driving without insurance in the first place. Your car accident settlement also won’t cover fees imposed for not having insurance. Additionally, if you’ve been cited before for not having insurance, then Indiana’s “No Pay, No Play” law will take effect. This law limits your ability to recover noneconomic damages (like pain and suffering), even if you weren’t at fault.
2. Filing a claim with your own insurance company
If you’re the at-fault driver in your Indiana car accident, you can only file a claim with your own insurance company. Bearing more than 50 percent of responsibility for a car accident makes you the at-fault driver.
However, if you have no insurance and you’re the at-fault driver, this puts you in a tight spot. Not only will you face legal consequences for driving without insurance in Indiana, but you’ll also have no easy avenue for financial recovery.
Because you’re at fault, your lack of insurance affects not just your ability to recover, but also the other driver’s. Imagine the scenario from their perspective: they were injured in a car accident they didn’t cause, and now they have to file with their own insurance company instead of yours, risking an increase in their premium because of your lack of insurance.
These are just some of the many reasons that it’s important to never drive without insurance. Call your insurance company to make sure you understand when your policy expires and how to renew it. If you don’t currently have car insurance, sign up today. It’s against the law in Indiana to drive without car insurance unless you have enough wealth to cover someone’s costs after a car accident without it. Unless you’re a secret millionaire, it’s time to get car insurance.
3. Pursuing a lawsuit against the other driver
Let’s say you get into a car accident and neither you nor the other driver has insurance. What do you do? If you’re not at fault, you may want to file a lawsuit against the other driver directly.
This is uncommon but not unheard of. What’s important when filing a lawsuit against a driver directly is to make sure that driver has the personal finances to cover your damages. You cannot recover money where there is none. If the at-fault driver is broke, suing them won’t do much good.
What If Fault Isn’t Clear in a Car Accident?
In many car accidents, fault is arguable. Either blame isn’t clear, or both parties may bear partial responsibility for the car accident. Stories change, and someone who apologizes profusely at the scene of a car accident may later insist they did nothing wrong.
If you have no car insurance of your own, then it’s even more important that fault is crystal clear so you can recover money from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Since fault is often murky at best, a local car accident attorney can be a big help as you go through the claims process. Negotiations, proving fault, and obtaining a fair settlement can be difficult without the knowledge and skills of a legal professional, especially if you’re dealing with the consequences of driving without insurance.
Legal Help after an Indiana Car Accident
If you were involved in an Indiana car accident with or without insurance, Hensley Legal Group may be able to help. Our car accident attorneys can look over the specifics of your accident, explain your options to you, and determine how best to proceed with your case. Call us today at 317-472-3333, or contact us online for a free conversation about your claim.