In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to drive without vehicle liability insurance. The state’s financial responsibility law is in place to ensure the victims of an accident you cause have a way to recover compensation for their damages. If you do not have car insurance and you get into a wreck, you might be able to recover damages—as long as you did not cause the crash. If you did cause the car accident, you may be personally responsible for victims’ economic losses—and their pain and suffering if they carry full tort coverage or meet an exception to limited tort rules.
Will I Have to Pay for the Other Driver’s Damages?
In Pennsylvania, the driver of the other vehicle must first turn to their no-fault coverage to pay a limited amount of their medical care. If their injuries were minor, this may cover all of their related bills. However, if you caused the crash, they can still hold you personally liable for their lost wages, property damage, and other damages.
Pennsylvania does not require drivers to carry an uninsured and underinsured motorist policy as a part of their mandatory auto insurance coverage. However, if they do have this type of policy, they can file an uninsured and underinsured motorist claim. This is often the easiest way to recover compensation after a crash with an uninsured driver.
Their other option is to file a personal injury lawsuit against you and hope you have the assets and available resources to cover their damages. If they win in court, you could be on the hook for thousands of dollars.
Can I Recover Compensation If I Did Not Cause the Accident?
If another driver caused the crash, a 2012 court decision allows you to recover compensation for your economic losses and expenses. To request payment for your damages, you can file a claim based on their auto liability insurance coverage. This is true even if you do not carry a no-fault policy or liability coverage.
In Corbin v. Khosla, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that an uninsured motorist can hold the at-fault driver liable for their damages. Under this decision, you have the same rights as a driver who opted for limited tort coverage when purchasing insurance.
This means you can file a claim based on the at-fault driver’s auto liability policy and recover your economic damages. You could get compensation for:
- Any unpaid medical bills;
- Lost wages;
- Ongoing care costs;
- Future lost wages and benefits;
- The repair or replacement of your car; and
- Other related out-of-pocket costs.
If you believe the other driver caused your car crash but you do not have insurance to cover the damages, a car accident lawyer from Berger and Green may be able to help you recover the compensation you need to pay your related expenses and cover your losses.
Will I Face Penalties for Driving Without Insurance?
Even if the other driver caused your car accident, your uninsured status will likely come to the attention of the police who respond to the accident. This means you might face penalties for driving without insurance.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), these penalties include a possible vehicle registration suspension and fines.
If you did not have insurance coverage for more than 30 days, or you drove at any time without insurance, you could face a three-month suspension of your vehicle registration. This means you will need to turn in your registration and tag, and cannot operate the vehicle until:
- 90 days pass;
- You provide proof of current insurance; and
- You pay a PennDOT restoration fee.
A Civil Penalty
As an alternative to a registration suspension, you may choose to pay a civil penalty of $500. Once you pay this penalty, you can continue to drive your car, as long as you also provide:
- Proof of current insurance; and
- The required PennDOT restoration fee.
How Can I Talk to a Car Accident Attorney About My Crash?
At Berger and Green, our car accident team can help you understand your options for compensation and how best to pursue the money you need based on the facts of your case. We offer free case reviews and consultations and can explain the strengths and challenges we see associated with filing an insurance claim on your behalf.
If we feel you have a strong case against the at-fault driver, we will handle the entire process for you on a contingency basis. This means you pay no attorney’s fees unless we win your case.
Call us today at 412-661-1400 to get started.