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When you are involved in a car accident, it can be a frightening experience. These incidents can be particularly frightening if a driver has been involved in a collision with an uninsured driver. There is no need for drivers to feel totally vulnerable and unsure of how to respond if they find themselves in a situation like this.
Vehicles operating on the roadway in Pennsylvania must comply with strict insurance requirements. All vehicles operating on public roads that require registration are required to carry insurance. A variety of vehicles are included in this category, including cars, trucks, commercial vehicles, buses, and motorcycles.
Wondering what happens in a car accident when the other driver has no insurance? Driving without insurance is subject to substantial penalties. In contrast to the limitations you may face regarding compensation following a serious accident, these penalties are relatively minor. There is a misconception that when a motorist is involved in a car accident without insurance, but not at fault, they must simply foot the bill for the damages caused by the other driver. In spite of this, you may still be able to pursue compensation in the event of an automobile accident in Philadelphia.
There cannot be enough emphasis placed on the importance of obtaining adequate motor vehicle insurance coverage in Philadelphia. In legal terms, it is required. The complexities of a car accident claim, coupled with the lack of insurance coverage, can be difficult to navigate without the assistance of a nearby experienced and dedicated Philadelphia car accident lawyer.
Pennsylvania Insurance Laws
In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to drive without vehicle insurance. All drivers in Pennsylvania are required to carry motor vehicle insurance according to Pennsylvania state law. Pennsylvania state law requires all motorists to have a minimum of 15/30/5 insurance. With this insurance, if a driver is involved in an accident, the insurance provider is required to cover up to:
- $15,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $5,000 property damage liability per accident
- $5,000 first-party benefits
Pennsylvania is the only state that provides first-party benefits coverage. In other states, this coverage is known as personal injury protection (PIP) and provides, regardless of fault, a minimum coverage of $5,000 for medical expenses. A few states, including Pennsylvania, have no-fault insurance laws as well. Drivers are entitled to compensation from their insurance if they are involved in an accident, regardless of who caused the accident.
Nevertheless, Pennsylvania is unique in that it allows drivers to opt out of fault-based insurance if they so wish. In layman’s terms, this means that if a driver is involved in an accident, they can choose to sue an at-fault driver for pain and suffering as well as emotional distress when initially signing up for an insurance policy. A policy that covers at-fault accidents (or full tort) is normally more expensive than a policy that covers no-fault accidents (or limited tort). Despite the fact that limited tort policies seem unusual, they have a rhyme and reason. It is true that limited tort policies are designed both to reduce insurance costs and to decrease frivolous lawsuits, both of which have been achieved, but they do limit a driver’s options if they are injured in a serious accident. You may also be interested in reading this article on Full Tort vs Limited Tort in PA.
Victims Will Face Penalties For Driving Without Insurance
Regardless of whether or not the uninsured motorist is at fault or not, they will have to face legal penalties for not carrying the proper insurance policies. Therefore, when a driver in Philadelphia is in a car accident without insurance, but not at fault, they should prepare themselves to face the consequences of driving without insurance. Ultimately, insurance is intended to protect drivers against having to pay enormous amounts to repair other people’s vehicles or to cover the costs of other people’s injuries.
Here’s how penalties for driving without insurance in Pennsylvania, specifically in the case of a car accident where you’re not at fault, work:
- $300 fine – Civil penalties for uninsured drivers will be charged a $300 fine by PennDOT for a first offense. The reinstatement fee will increase significantly for each additional offense of driving without insurance.
- Suspension Of Driver’s License – A driver’s license may be suspended for up to 3 months in Pennsylvania for driving without insurance if the motor vehicle department is notified of the driver being caught with no insurance.
- Suspension of Registration – A vehicle’s registration may be suspended for up to 3 months for the first offense in Pennsylvania when caught driving without insurance.
It is important to note that when no insurance infractions can remain on an individual’s driving record for a period of three to ten years.
Damages That Can Be Recovered In Car Accidents Without Insurance in Pennsylvania
For many years, it was unclear whether or not Pennsylvania state law allowed uninsured motorists the right to pursue a personal injury claim after they sustained injuries in a car accident caused by another individual. However, in 2012 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court concluded that uninsured motorists are in fact entitled to seek compensation against any negligent entity or driver that caused their injuries or property damage. However, their right to compensation could be limited when in comparison to victims that had motor vehicle insurance.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision clearly states that uninsured drivers are able to pursue compensation for their economic damages, yet is unclear on non-economic damages. Economic damages are damages that can easily have a dollar amount placed on them. These damages can include, but are not limited to:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
However, it is much harder to place a dollar value on non-economic damages. Non-economic damages can include, but are not limited to:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Loss of ability to perform hobbies
- Many More
Uninsured drivers may have difficulties obtaining these damages, but it is always advisable to consult with an experienced Philadelphia car accident attorney as soon as possible following the accident.
Contact An Experienced Philadelphia Car Accident Without Insurance Lawyer Near You
Car accidents without insurance in Pennsylvania can be complicated, especially when it comes to getting full compensation for injuries and damages. Don’t risk your health and well-being by overlooking important details.
If you have been in a Philadelphia car accident without insurance, make sure you have the experience and knowledge of The Pearce Law Firm Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers on your side. Please contact our office or call us at 215-839-3210 to schedule a free case evaluation.
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