Getting insurance is more than just a good idea, state law requires coverage for all drivers. Pennsylvania lawmakers took it a step further, encouraging drivers to have insurance by allowing for some pretty serious penalties for those who do not have coverage. These can include at least $300 in fines, a three-month suspension of the offender’s driver’s license, and suspension of the offender’s vehicle’s registration. The state also does not allow anyone else to drive the vehicle while the registration is suspended.
Unfortunately, those penalties are not always enough. There are those who choose to drive without insurance coverage. What’s a driver to do when the person who caused the accident does not have coverage? The first steps are basically the same as those for an accident with a person who has insurance. Take care of any medical needs and call police if the accident is serious, exchange contact information, get photos and gather information about the accident.
After these steps are taken, you may wonder how to pay for the costs associated with the crash. There are two main paths towards resolution.
#1: Use your own coverage.
Pennsylvania has an interesting approach to insurance and car accidents. It is one of few states in the country that operates on a no-fault system. This means that it basically does not matter who was at fault, each driver’s own insurance pays for their expenses based on their coverage.
Here is where it gets interesting. Drivers have a choice to opt out of this system. Those who opt out of this system can move forward with a lawsuit and seek pain and suffering, while those who do not can generally still move forward with a lawsuit for severe injuries but give up the ability to also get an award for pain and suffering.
#2: File a lawsuit against the responsible driver.
It is only fair to hold the person responsible for the accident accountable for the costs that result from the crash. You can often still do this, even if they do not have insurance coverage, through a civil suit. This suit can lead to funds to help cover medical bills, rehabilitative expenses and missed work.