Connecticut is a “fault” or “tort” state, meaning the person who caused a car accident is generally liable for the other driver’s property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
But what if one of the drivers involved in an accident is uninsured? According to the Insurance Research Council, 1 in 8 drivers lack basic coverage. The odds of an accident involving an uninsured driver, therefore, are much higher than many would believe. Here is an overview of what may happen to a personal injury claim when the accident involves an uninsured driver.
When the Uninsured Driver Causes the Accident
Let’s say Person A caused the accident, and they’re uninsured. They will then be personally responsible for all damages. However, Connecticut requires all drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage, which may cover a portion of what Person A owes Person B. But Person A would be liable for any amount that exceeds the uninsured motorist coverage.
Unfortunately, obtaining damages from an uninsured driver is not always easy. If the court grants a judgment against Person A, this judgment may provide Person B with several ways to obtain the damages—including wage garnishment, in which the court orders the defendant’s employer to send a portion of their paycheck to the plaintiff. But this still might not result in a satisfied judgment, as most people who drive without insurance have little to no assets or income. No matter what a court decides, it cannot take money from a person who does not have any. This is why carrying uninsured motorist coverage is critical.
When the Uninsured Driver Does Not Cause the Accident
If Person B (the insured driver) causes the accident, Person A (the uninsured driver) might still have trouble obtaining compensation. This is because many insurance companies choose not to cover damages for uninsured drivers—even if they did not cause the accident.
Furthermore, the penalties for driving without insurance can be severe. In Connecticut, a person found driving without insurance is guilty of a class C misdemeanor, which can mean a $500 fine and/or 3 months in prison. An uninsured driver can also lose their license and registration. These consequences exacerbate any damages the uninsured driver must cover, either for themselves or for the other driver.
Personalized Help with Complex Accidents
When an accident involves an uninsured driver, navigating a personal injury claim can become exceedingly complex. At the Law Offices of James A. Welcome, we can help you understand your rights and responsibilities, and we can advocate for your best interests both in and out of the courtroom.