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In an Accident Not At Fault but No Insurance. Can You Still File a Claim?

| Nov 7, 2018 | Car Accidents

In 2016, the most recent year for which there are statistics, the Indiana University Public Policy Institute published a Highway Safety Fact Book,  Indiana Crash Facts. In that year, 821 people lost their lives in Indiana car crashes. Another 52,591 people were injured, some of them so severely, their lives will never be the same.

Indiana law requires its drivers to have insurance in the minimum amounts commonly referred to as 25/50/25. This refers to $25,000 for bodily injury or death to one person, $50,000 for bodily injury or death to two persons, and $25,000 for the destruction of property.

These coverages apply to just one accident. Unfortunately, not everyone complies with this law.

Of the 4,553,258 licensed drivers in the state of Indiana, nearly 17 percent of them drive without the legally mandated insurance.

If you are one of them and are injured in a car crash, your failure to have car insurance may have a negative impact on the damages you can collect. If you find yourself in a similar situation,  we offer free consultations and can tell you the best way to proceed.

No Other Violation of the Insurance Law Within the Previous Five Years

If you have no record with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) of having been cited for not having insurance during the previous five years, the law will allow you to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance and follow the same car insurance process you would if you had insurance.

There will be no limitation on the amount of damages you can collect, and your personal injury lawsuit will proceed normally.

But, you will be cited for driving without insurance and it will go on your record. This will severely limit your damages if you are in an accident without car insurance anytime in the next five years.

You will still face civil penalties for not having the legally mandated insurance. Your driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days, and you will need to pay $250 to have it reinstated. In addition, for the next three years, your insurer will need to electronically file an SR-22 form with the DMV. This verifies that you are insured for the minimum amount required by law.

Filing a Claim When this is the Second Time in Five Years You Have Been Found Driving Without Insurance

In 2015, Indiana joined several other states and enacted a law that has been referred to as a “No Pay, No Play” law. How it works is that if uninsured motorists are in a vehicular accident, and they have a BMV record of not having insurance anytime in the previous five years, the damages to which they are entitled are limited to economic damages, and, with few exceptions, they cannot collect for noneconomic damages.

According to the statute, noneconomic damages to which drivers in this category are NOT entitled to include costs for:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Physical impairment
  • Loss of companionship, services, and consortium
  • Any other “nonpecuniary” loss proximately caused by the accident. Nonpecuniary means not able to easily put a money value on the loss

According to the statute, drivers will be able to collect for their economic damages, which generally refers to those damages which are actual out-of-pocket costs, or which can readily be converted to a dollar value. These damages to which drivers in this category ARE entitled to include costs for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Treatment and rehabilitation
  • Loss of economic potential
  • Loss of educational potential
  • Loss of productivity
  • Absenteeism (lost wages due to the accident)
  • Support expenses

What Triggers a “No Insurance” Report to BMV

The BMV will act to verify insurance in any of the following instances:

  • The BMV receives an accident report that you were involved in.
  • Any serious traffic violation, either a misdemeanor or a felony.
  • Any moving pointable violation within one year of receiving two other pointable moving violations.
  • Any pointable violation by a driver who previously had his or her license suspended for failure to provide proof of financial responsibility.

If you were injured in an accident that was not your fault, but you do not have car insurance, at Doehrman Buba Ring, we understand your problem without judgment. We have many years of experience helping collect damages for those who have been injured in car accidents. Our Indianapolis car accident lawyers offer a free consultation and will let you know if we can help you even though you are uninsured.

The law requires you to file your claim within a certain period of time after your accident. If the deadline is missed, you lose forever your right to collect for your damages. Do not let that happen. Contact us as soon as possible.

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Thomas C. Doehrman

Thomas C. Doehrman is a founding partner of Doehrman Buba Ring. With more than 30 years of personal injury experience in Indianapolis, Tom has successfully represented countless serious personal injury and accident victims and helped them obtain justice against those who have caused them harm.

Tom is nationally renowned for his skilled representation of persons with traumatic brain injuries and was the President of the Brain Injury Association of Indiana (BIAI)

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