In Washington State, most drivers are required to carry insurance. Failure to have proof of insurance could result in a fine of $450 or more.
However – 16 percent of Washington drivers are uninsured. If you are uninsured, we highly recommend that you purchased insurance in the future, both to comply with the law and to protect yourself and your family in an accident.
So how does a personal injury car accident case work if you lack insurance?
In many cases, we can still recover funds, typically from the other driver’s insurance company.
However, this depends on two key factors:
- You weren’t at fault: If you were the at-fault party in the accident, there is little we can do to help you. We usually can’t recover money from the other driver’s insurance company if you caused the accident.
- The other driver is insured: If both parties in a car accident case are not insured, we typically cannot recover a substantial amount of money. The exception to this is if the at-fault driver has a large amount of assets. In this rare case, we could sue the driver directly, but this is rare.
Moreover, if you pursue a case, you should be aware of two additional issues:
- You are responsible for any fines: If you were fined for failure to carry insurance, you are financially responsible for paying that fine.
- No up-front payments: When you are insured, your insurance company may help quickly with your medical bills, but only if you purchased Personal Injury Protection (PIP) as part of your policy. However, if you are not insured, it will take much more time to recover funds from the at-fault party. In the meantime, you are responsible for paying your bills. Also note that even after a settlement is negotiated, you are still responsible for paying your bills.
Who can help me with my medical bills?
Even if you lack car insurance, you may have a couple options for receiving helping in paying your medical bills.
As explained in more detail here, we look at all of the available insurance policies that may be in play.
First, if you were injured on the job, your employer’s workers’ compensation system may help pay for some or all of your bills.
Second, your health insurance will step in, per the terms of your policy. Note that you will still be responsible for any copayments, as well as meeting your deductible.
If there is no insurance available, we may be able to negotiate an attorney lien with your healthcare provider. This will allow the provider to make an immediate claim on any settlement you agree to with the at-fault party. However – this is only available with certain providers, typically smaller organizations like a chiropractor or physical therapist not connected to a larger hospital system.
Lastly – there may be options to receive charity help in mitigating your medical bills, especially if you are receiving treatment from a larger hospital system. We can call your provider and determine what options might be available.
Every case is completely different, especially in instances where one or both parties does not have car insurance. Call us or contact us online for a free consultation. We can review the facts and determine whether you would benefit from taking legal action against the at-fault driver.