Most people our car accident lawyers in Santa Ana represent had car insurance at the time of their collision. However, there are times when an accident victim without insurance comes to see us. While we do our best to get all our clients the compensation they deserve, there are more difficulties if you don’t have auto insurance.
There Are Several Reasons Why You May Not Have Car Insurance
Most people look down on motorists who drive without auto insurance. They assume that they’re bad people or just don’t care about hurting other people. The truth is that there are a host of reasons why somebody may drive without auto insurance.
Regardless of the reason, not having car insurance is a significant problem if you get into a motor vehicle accident. Not only will you get in trouble for driving without insurance. But any damages your Santa Ana accident attorney can demand on your behalf will be limited as well.
There Are Some People Who Genuinely Had No Idea Their Policy Had Lapsed or Cancelled
Every now and then, our Santa Ana accident attorneys will meet with someone who didn’t realize their insurance had been canceled. For example, they may not have realized the check for their car insurance premium didn’t clear.
There are other times when someone thinks they have until a certain date to pay their premium but finds out after the fact they were wrong. It’s easier to have sympathy for these drivers. Unfortunately, it won’t change the fact that your damages will be limited.
Other Drivers Cannot or Will Not Pay Their Auto Insurance Premiums
While there are some accident victims who didn’t know their car insurance had been canceled, there are many others who were well aware. It’s hard to imagine why somebody would knowingly drive without insurance. But it happens.
Some people just don’t see the point in paying for car insurance. They assume the odds of their getting into an accident are so small, it’s just not worth the money. This kind of thinking will definitely come back to haunt you.
Your Santa Ana Accident Attorney Can Still File a Claim Against the Other Driver’s Insurance
While it’s illegal to drive in Santa Ana without insurance, that doesn’t mean you can’t file a claim after an accident. If you’re seriously injured in a crash, you still have rights. In fact, with the exception of a bar from collecting non-economic damages, these cases are very similar to those where the victim did have insurance.
When a new client comes to meet with one of our car accident lawyers in Santa Ana, we ask them to tell us their story. We need to know what happened before we decide if we want to represent someone. When they reveal that they weren’t insured, it does make us think twice about handling their case.
As Long as You Weren’t at Fault, Your Claim May Be Paid
If you didn’t cause a motor vehicle accident, you have the right to file a claim against the other driver. If you don’t have car insurance, you won’t be able to file a claim with your own insurance carrier.
Instead, your Santa Ana accident attorney will have to file a claim against the other driver’s policy. Your car accident lawyer in Santa Ana may still file suit against the other motorist. The question is what kind of damages you can sue for.
If You’re Even Partly at Fault, Your Claim Will Likely Be Denied
One thing you need to remember is that the other driver’s insurance company will investigate your claim. If they believe you were partially at fault for the crash, they may deny your claim.
Usually, this is done in the hopes that your Santa Ana accident attorney will be willing to settle. They would much rather settle for less than the full demand than pay it upfront.
Your Car Accident Lawyer in Santa Ana Can Also File Suit on Your Behalf
If your insurance claim is denied or doesn’t cover your economic damages, your car accident lawyer in Santa Ana may file suit. If they can prove that the defendant was negligent, you may be entitled to damages.
The question will be what kind of damages you’ll be able to collect. According to California Civil Code §1431.2, you may be entitled to some or all of the following:
- Medical bills and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress, anxiety, and depression
- Loss of enjoyment and relations with others
It’s important to know that a lion’s share of our clients’ settlements often come in the form of pain and suffering damages. These fall under non-economic damages.
Are There Limitations on Your Damages if You Didn’t Have Car Insurance?
Normally, when your Santa Ana accident attorney sues somebody, they can demand as much money as they want. As long as they can justify them, there’s no reason not to include them in your initial complaint.
The other good news is that there’s no limit on how much you can collect in California. While some states put a cap on how much you can receive in damages, this isn’t the case in California.
There Is No Limit on Your Economic Damages
According to California law, there is no cap, generally, on damages in a personal injury case. For example, many states limit the amount of money you can receive in pain and suffering or other types of non-economic damages.
In California, there is no limit. In fact, with very few exceptions, you can collect an unlimited amount in both economic and non-economic damages. One of the important exceptions has to do with uninsured drivers.
You Will Not Be Entitled to Non-Economic Damages if You Were Uninsured
If you’re not insured and get into a crash, you will not be entitled to non-economic damages. In 1995, residents and voters in California passed Proposition 213. This proposition states that uninsured drivers are not entitled to collect non-economic damages.
This doesn’t mean you can’t collect economic damages. In fact, there is no limit on how much you can receive for lost income, medical bills, and repairs to your vehicle. It just means you won’t be entitled to pain and suffering.
Contact an Experienced Santa Ana Accident Attorney Right Away
If you’ve been involved in a traffic accident and don’t have car insurance, you may run into problems when it comes to pursuing damages. We recommend that you contact one of our Santa Ana accident attorneys as soon as possible after the crash.
We like to offer new clients a free, initial consultation. This gives you a chance to see if your claim has merit. It also gives our associates the opportunity to see if your claim is worth pursuing.