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What To Do: Uninsured at The Time Of a Car Accident

two men kneeling while inspecting the car damages as a result of a rear end car accident
Home Blog Auto Accident What To Do: Uninsured at The Time Of a Car Accident

Key Takeaways

  • Uninsured drivers involved in an accident that is not their fault have protections and rights and may be able to obtain compensation for a personal injury.
  • The fact that a driver does not have insurance at the time of the crash will not be admissible in a court case in Washington State.
  • In determining fault, whether the accident involves an insured or uninsured driver has no basis and will not affect the outcome of the case.
  • Washington has a mandatory insurance policy requirement, and failing to purchase insurance can lead to a fine and/or license suspension.
  • Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee, which means you only pay them if you win damages.

Have you found yourself in a car accident due to someone else’s actions? That alone can be a frightening experience. However, if you happen to be among the estimated 20 percent of Washington drivers without insurance, you may have some additional questions and concerns.

At McPartland Law Offices, we understand the complexities of navigating an accident without car insurance in Washington State. It is not just about whether an individual should have driven uninsured; it is about the collision and its repercussions. Even in such situations, our commitment to offering free consultations in auto accidents remains steadfast.

We are here to address all your concerns, whether they are about your legal rights, the possibility of collecting damages from the at-fault party, or any other aspect of your case.

What Happens if You Have No Auto Insurance but the Other Driver Was at Fault in a Washington State Car Accident?

Concerns can build if you do not have insurance coverage and suddenly find yourself in an accident. If that accident resulted due to another driver’s fault, as an uninsured motorist, you may still be able to collect damages from them.

Washington state allows for full recovery for injuries from the at-fault driver even if you do not have your own insurance. Not all states allow for this but if you are in Washington, you remain protected.

Consequences of Driving Uninsured in Washington

It is essential to note here that you could experience repercussions directly related to driving with the failure to carry auto insurance. These repercussions may include:

  • Your driver’s license may be suspended by the Department of Licensing if someone was injured or property damage of at least $1000 occurred and you fail to pay damages if at fault. Even so, you can take steps to stop driver’s license suspension.
  • The police may issue you a ticket/citation for having no insurance. In Washington State, the fine can be $550 or higher.
  • When it comes to the issue of fault in a personal injury case, however, the fact that you cannot show proof of insurance and are issued a citation will not be admissible in court.

In fact, citations are not admissible at all.

As such, the focus will not center around whether or not a person should or should not have been driving without insurance. Instead, an analysis will revolve around the facts of the collision itself.

That is to say, when determining fault, the fact that you are an uninsured driver has no basis and will not affect the negotiations or the outcome of the claim.

Your case begins with establishing liability and proceeds from there, just as in other auto accident cases. Consider working with a dedicated Washington car accident attorney to build a strong case, speak on your behalf with the insurance company, and represent you in court if necessary.

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What to Do if You Are Involved in a Car Accident Without Insurance in Washington State

woman on the phone with 911 dispatcher after being rear ended

The steps you take following a car accident without personal injury protection (PIP) and liability insurance are the same as those that need to be taken if you do carry a policy. These steps include the following:

  1. Prioritize safety. Immediately after the car crash, prioritize your own safety and that of others involved. Move away from busy intersections or roadways if possible. Be sure to check passengers for injuries as well and do what you can to provide safety from further injury.
  2. Report the accident. Call 911 for help and seek medical treatment for your injuries. Although it is possible that you may be cited for not having insurance, documenting the collision is much more important than a citation. Moreover, a citation for not having insurance can be substantially mitigated, even dismissed, if a person acquires insurance after a collision.
  3. Exchange information. Get with the driver of the other vehicle and exchange both contact information and auto insurance details, including their driver’s license number and insurance company name and policy number. If there are witnesses, be sure to get each name and phone number as well.
  4. Document the scene. Take a variety of photos and videos of the accident scene, including the positioning of all involved vehicles, the surrounding environment including any traffic signals and signs, damage to each motor vehicle, and any injuries. Also, jot down notes and details about the accident while they are still fresh in your mind.
  5. Do not admit fault. Avoid admitting any fault in the accident when you speak with the other driver, passengers, witnesses, first responders, and any police officer.
  6. Notify law enforcement if the police did not investigate. If no investigation ensued following the crash, be sure to notify law enforcement. You will need them to prepare a police report, which will be an essential component of your personal injury claim.
  7. Notify the other party’s insurance. When you are not the at-fault driver in an accident, notify the other party’s insurance.
  8. Seek legal advice. If you have no auto insurance, keep in mind that you still have rights in an accident insurance claim. A legal team can investigate the facts of the case, compile necessary evidence, and calculate compensation for medical bills for a bodily injury and more, including for pain and suffering damages. Consultations with a reputable car accident lawyer are often free, and these dedicated and knowledgeable lawyers work on contingency, which means you only pay them if you win damages.

Why Clients Choose McPartland Law Offices

When facing larger organizations, such as insurance companies, you need the help of a trusted personal injury attorney. Clients involved in challenging personal injury cases often come to our McPartland Law Offices for this reason.

Our law firm’s attorneys dedicate themselves to representing those injured and deserving of fair and just compensation. We have recovered several million dollars for our clients and remain steadfast in our belief in justice for injured persons throughout the eastern Washington area.

Testimonials

To date, McPartland Law Offices has received over 150 5-star reviews. Here are just a few of those reviews to help you get a feel for how dedicated we are to the attorney-client relationship.

“My family and I had the opportunity to work with Bryce and his team during a very difficult time in our lives. The service and representation that McPartland Law Offices provided was absolutely exceptional. I was thoroughly impressed by their professionalism, knowledge, and ability to help us understand everything throughout the entire process. To say they left no stone unturned would be an understatement. I will be forever grateful for the compassion and dedication consistently demonstrated by Bryce and his team. I highly recommend McPartland Law Offices.” — Claudia V.

“I was in need of Bryce’s expert representation on a difficult case. He was outstanding and negotiated a very reasonable settlement for my permanent injuries. I don’t believe I would have been treated fairly without his representation and expertise. Thanks, Bryce and team.” — Lucy P.

Uninsured Does Not Mean Unprotected

Obtaining compensation in a car accident case in Washington State can bring challenges, and when you are uninsured, you need to know that you are still protected under the law.

The personal injury attorneys with McPartland Law Offices are here to serve accident victims in Eastern Washington, building their cases and seeking rightful compensation for their injuries, including pain and suffering. Contact our office today at 509-495-1247 to schedule your initial free consultation, or submit our online contact form to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will My Insurance Go Up If I’m Not At Fault In Washington State?

If you were not at fault in any way for an accident, your insurance premiums will remain the same. Under Washington state law, insurance companies cannot raise your insurance rates due to an accident as long as the assigning of fault totally excludes you.

Is it Illegal to Drive Without Insurance in Washington State?

In Washington State, it is illegal to drive without insurance. The reason for this is that Washington has a mandatory insurance policy requirement.

Failing to purchase required insurance can result in a fine of $550 or higher. Suppose you are involved in an accident and are at fault. In that case, you can also have your license suspended if you do not meet your obligation under Washington’s Financial Responsibility Law to pay for the resulting injuries or damages.