A car accident is always a stressful experience, and not having car insurance can make your case more complicated. Most states require a certain amount of insurance coverage and classify driving without insurance as a misdemeanor. Whether or not you are at fault in an accident, if you are found to be driving without insurance, you could face fines, suspension of your license, or even jail time.
If you’ve been involved in an accident without insurance in Georgia, North Carolina or South Carolina,, George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers can guide you through the legal process and help you understand the laws in your state. Contact us today to schedule a free case review!
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What if You Are At-Fault Without Insurance?
If a driver is found to be at-fault in an accident and does not have insurance, the legal consequences can be serious. Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina are all at-fault states, meaning that the person who caused the accident is responsible for compensating the other driver and any injured parties in the crash.
If you cause an accident, not having insurance can make things difficult, as you may face a number of serious expenses including:
- Repair and replacement costs: you will most likely be responsible for paying for the damages you caused.
- Medical expenses: If the other driver, their passengers or anyone outside your vehicle was injured in the accident, you will likely be responsible for paying for their medical expenses.
- Legal fees: If you cannot pay for the damages you caused, the other driver could potentially sue you for compensation, which may include the cost of their legal fees.
You may also face additional costs difficulties and consequences relating to not having car insurance, including:
- License suspension or revocation: Most states will suspend your license for driving without insurance. If you have been caught driving without insurance before, your license could even be revoked entirely.
- Vehicle impounding: The officer who arrives on the scene may choose to tow your vehicle if you were driving without insurance.
- Fines: You may have to pay a fine if you were caught driving without insurance.
- Jail time: Generally, a first offense will not land you in jail, but multiple incidents of driving without insurance could lead to jail time.
- More expensive insurance: Insurance companies tend to view drivers who have had a lapse in coverage as higher risk.
- Required forms: Some states may require that you have forms to prove to the state that you are maintaining the required levels of auto insurance coverage.
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What if You Are in a Car Accident Without Insurance but Not-at-Fault?
If you are involved in a car accident while driving without insurance, but you are not at-fault, you will likely not be responsible for paying for any damages caused in the accident. It may also be possible for you to sue the at-fault drivers for any damages or medical bills you accrue as a result of the accident.
However, you will likely face penalties for driving without insurance even if the accident was not your fault. The law enforcement officer dealing with your accident may impound your car once they realize you were driving without insurance. You could face fines, the suspension of your license and auto registration, an increase in your insurance premiums in the future as a result of being documented as driving without insurance, or even jail time.
Our expert personal injury lawyers can evaluate your case and help you understand your legal options after an accident.
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What Are the Penalties for Driving Without Insurance?
Driving without insurance in Georgia may land you a misdemeanor charge, which leads to a 60 to 90-day suspension of your license, depending on whether it is your first or second offense. You will also have to pay a fine between $200 and $1,000 or face up to a year in jail, in some cases both. Uninsured vehicles cannot be registered, and unregistered vehicles can be impounded, which leads to additional fees.
If you don’t have insurance and you don’t verify you have insurance within 20 days, the South Carolina DMV will restrict your license, plate, and registration, and make you pay up to $400 for reinstatement once you have insurance. Second and third citations come with greater fines and longer prison time, with a fine associated with each day that your coverage has lapsed.
Both Georgia and South Carolina may require those found to have been driving without insurance to submit SR-22 insurance to the state, which certifies that the driver has paid for the minimum amount of state insurance covered. SR-22 insurance is typically more expensive than regular car insurance
North Carolina sets a $50 fine and $50 reinstatement fee for individuals driving without insurance. Additionally, the state will impose a 30-day license and vehicle registration suspension, and up to 45 days of probation for just the first offense. Your fines and potential jail time increase for each subsequent offense.
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Can I Still File a Claim if I Am Uninsured?
Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina allow an uninsured driver to file a claim for damages if the other driver was at fault. However, you will likely not be allowed to drive your car once the police know you do not have insurance, so you may face towing, impound, and other fees or fines.
Even if the accident wasn’t your fault, if you are uninsured, the authorities will find out, and you can be fined or prosecuted.
What Are the Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina?
Both South Carolina and Georgia require drivers to carry liability coverage at all times. This coverage pays for any damages in an accident that you cause. The minimum amount of coverage in these states is:
- $25,000 for bodily injuries per person
- $50,000 for bodily injuries per incident
- $25,000 for property damages per incident
In North Carolina, the minimum amount of auto insurance each driver must have is:
- Bodily injury liability: $30,000 per person; $60,000 per accident
- Property damage liability: $25,000 per accident
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury: $30,000 per person; $60,000 per accident
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage: $25,000 per accident
Whenever a driver’s insurance lapses in NC, the DMV is notified, which makes it easy for law enforcement to pull over and cite uninsured drivers.
It’s Dangerous To Drive Without Insurance in GA, SC, and NC
If you’ve been in a car accident without insurance, it’s natural to feel unsure of what to do or where to turn. Our auto accident attorneys at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers are ready to help you through this difficult time.
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