What if No One Has Auto Insurance?
If no one involved in a car accident has auto insurance, the situation is complex. It doesn’t matter if a driver who was illegally driving without insurance didn’t cause the accident; he or she generally does not have a case. However, passengers are not legally required to have an insurance policy just to ride in a vehicle. If they suffer injuries in an accident and no insurance policy is available, they can get help through state funds.
Through No Fault of Your Own
If you have found yourself without insurance coverage through no fault of your own, you can access a state fund, like the New Jersey Property-Liability Insurance Guaranty Association (NJPLIGA). The phrase “through no fault of your own” is important.
Say you are a passenger in another person’s vehicle. Your auto insurance policy would be primarily responsible for covering your medical bills, but perhaps neither you nor anyone in your household owns a vehicle. Naturally, you personally have no auto insurance coverage. You would then pursue bodily injury compensation from the auto insurance policy of one of the drivers involved in the accident, but maybe both of these drivers were irresponsibly driving without insurance. Now you have no coverage, even though you have done nothing wrong.
In this case, you should look into accessing state funds such as NJPLIGA. This fund covers up to $250,000 in medical expenses. You may also be able to seek compensation from the fund’s uninsured motorist (UM) portion, which has a maximum coverage limit of $15,000. NJPLIGA’s UM coverage takes the place of the bodily injury coverage that the uninsured at-fault driver does not have, covering pain and suffering, lost income, and other economic losses.
Auto Insurance Is Not Optional
Unfortunately, if you were a driver who made the choice not to purchase auto insurance, you are on your own. State laws require you to purchase coverage and even set specific requirements for minimum coverage limits so that you will have access to insurance benefits in the event of an accident. By neglecting to purchase or maintain insurance, you have broken the law, even if the accident was not directly your fault. In this situation, you typically have no grounds for filing a personal injury claim.
AUTHOR: Richard P. Console Jr.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.