If you are involved in a car accident without insurance, then you will likely deal with some serious consequences. You could face a variety of criminal penalties, depending on which state the accident occurred in, and you could be personally liable for the other driver’s expenses if you are at fault for the accident.
The best way to avoid these problems is to make sure your auto policy is valid and up to date. But if you do have a car accident without insurance in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C., you should strongly consider contacting a qualified car accident attorney at Ashcraft & Gerel. You may still be able to seek compensation if the accident was due to someone else’s negligence – even if your lack of insurance makes the case more complex. Call Ashcraft & Gerel today at 844-680-0339 to request your free case review today!
What Does It Mean To Drive Without Insurance?
Each state has specific regulations dictating the minimum amount of auto insurance that drivers who live in that state must carry. If you do not have a valid, up-to-date policy that meets these requirements, you are considered an illegally uninsured driver. It’s also illegal to knowingly allow someone else to drive your uninsured vehicle or to drive someone else’s uninsured vehicle.
In Maryland, drivers must have auto insurance policies that cover at least $30,000 in bodily injury per person, with a $60,000 cap per accident. The minimum coverage for property damage is $15,000.
In Virginia, limits were recently increased for policies written or renewed after January 1, 2022. Drivers must have coverage for at least $30,000 in bodily injury per person, with a $60,000 cap per accident. The minimum property damage liability coverage is $20,000. However, Virginia allows drivers to operate without insurance under certain narrow circumstances: Drivers must pay the DMV a $500 waiver fee each year and agree to 100% personal liability for any car accidents they cause, which can be a very expensive proposition.
In Washington, D.C., drivers need to have a minimum of $25,000 coverage for bodily injury per person, with a $50,000 cap per accident. The minimum for property damage coverage is $10,000.
What Are the Penalties for Driving Without Insurance?
Depending on which state you live in, you may be facing heavy fines, suspension of your registration or license, or even jail time for repeated violations.
In Maryland, drivers will face a $150 fine for the first 30 days of their insurance lapse, with $7 added for each additional day, up to the potential maximum fine of $2,500. A first criminal conviction could carry penalties up to 5 points on your license, a $1,000 fine, and up to a year in jail. Those penalties could be up to double for a second conviction (another 5 points, a $2,000 fine, and two years in jail), and you may also lose your license plates and be unable to register a vehicle.
In Virginia, if you are uninsured or have not paid your annual $500 insurance waiver, you could have restrictions placed on your license and vehicle registration. You will also have to pay a $600 non-compliance fee and a $45 reinstatement fee. You may also have to regularly provide proof of auto coverage and provide proof of financial responsibility via an SR-22 Form for a minimum of three years.
In Washington, D.C., uninsured drivers can expect to have their registration and license suspended. You will be fined $30 if you are pulled over and cannot produce proof of insurance on the spot, and like Maryland, will have a fine of $150 for the first 30 days of your insurance lapse, with $7 added for each additional day up to the potential maximum fine of $2,500. You will also have to pay a license reinstatement fee of $98.
If you are facing penalties for driving without insurance, contact our qualified car accident attorneys to see how we can help.
What if You Get Into a Car Accident Without Insurance?
Maryland and Virginia are at-fault states, which means you can seek compensation from the at-fault driver after a car accident. All three states also follow the legal concept known as contributory negligence, which means that if you share even a small fraction of the blame for a car accident, it will be more difficult to recover compensation from the other driver. That’s why it’s so important to enlist the aid of a qualified car accident attorney with deep expertise in this area.
Washington D.C. is a no-fault state, which means that no matter who caused the accident, each driver’s insurance company is responsible for paying their policyholder’s medical expenses and specific damages. This allows people involved in a car accident to seek compensation directly from their own insurance provider instead of going after the other driver’s insurance. The purpose of these no-fault laws in Washington D.C. is to make the claims process easier, reduce legal battles, and ensure quick medical coverage for accident victims.
Regardless of fault, you will be cited for lack of insurance and face the relevant penalties described in the previous section. But any additional consequences will largely depend on establishing fault for the accident. If you are at fault, you will be personally liable for all damages out of your own pocket and could potentially face wage garnishment, increasing debt, or even bankruptcy if you cannot afford to cover medical expenses, vehicle repair/replacement, and other expensive damages.
If your car accident lawyer can establish that the other driver is at-fault, you can still receive compensation from them. But considering the penalties you will face regardless of fault, having valid auto insurance is the best way to help ensure maximum compensation when you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence.
Contact Ashcraft & Gerel if You Need Help With an Uninsured Car Accident
There’s a lot of reasons why you may not have auto insurance. Maybe it’s not affordable in your current situation, or a simple memory lapse prevented you from renewing your policy at the appropriate time. We’re not here to judge you. We’re here to help protect your rights and ensure you receive justice when you’ve been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, regardless of your insurance status.
For more than 65 years, Ashcraft & Gerel have been helping victims in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. navigate the complex legal process after a car accident with diligence and compassion. Call us today at 844-680-0339 to request your free case review.