What happens if you have no insurance but the other driver was at fault?

Accidents happen, and when they involve uninsured drivers, it can leave you feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about your options. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s essential to understand what steps you can take to protect yourself and seek compensation for your losses.


What are the insurance requirements in Virginia?

Virginia was one of the few states in the U.S. that doesn’t mandate drivers to carry auto insurance. That will change July 1, however, as a state bill passed during the 2023 legislative session will bring the state inline with most of the rest of the country.

What are your options after an accident with an uninsured driver?

When you’re involved in a car accident with an uninsured motorist in Virginia, you’re faced with several possible courses of action:

File a claim against your policy

Virginia law mandates auto insurance companies to offer uninsured motorist (UM) coverage to their customers. If you have UM insurance, it can help cover injury and property damage costs after an accident involving an uninsured motorist or hit-and-run driver. However, UM coverage is optional, so not everyone has it. An attorney can help you review your auto insurance policy and determine whether you may be entitled to benefits.

File a claim against another liable party

If another motorist or third party was also at fault for the accident, you could file a claim against them to recover compensation. For instance, an employer may be vicariously liable for an employee who crashed while driving for work-related purposes.

Demand compensation from the uninsured motorist

If no other options are available, you can take the uninsured driver to court and demand compensation from their personal assets. However, if the driver has no way to cover the cost of your accident-related losses, you may be out of luck.

What can you do if you were involved in a hit-and-run accident?

Don’t lose hope if you were involved in an accident caused by a hit-and-run driver. Even if you never identify the other driver, you may still be able to file a claim for your losses.

If you carry UM insurance, it should apply to accidents involving hit-and-run motorists, who are considered uninsured by default. An attorney can help you file a UM claim and demand the money you are owed from your insurer.

What are Virginia’s uninsured motorist requirements?

Until July 1, 2024, if a Virginia motorist chooses to forego liability insurance, they must pay the DMV a $500 Uninsured Motor Vehicle (UMV) fee along with other standard registration fees at the time of registration. Motorists who pay this $500 fee are permitted to drive uninsured vehicles at their own risk for up to 12 months at a time.

If an uninsured motorist neglects or refuses to pay the UMV fee, they can lose the right to drive or register their vehicle. When someone’s driving and registration privileges are suspended, they must pay expensive reinstatement fees and file Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificates with the DMV for the next several years.


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Will your insurance rates increase if you file an uninsured motorist claim?

If the only way to get the money you need is to file a UM claim under your own policy, you may be wondering whether filing a claim could increase your monthly insurance rates. This is a common question, but fortunately, auto insurance companies are generally prohibited from raising your premiums if you were not at fault for a wreck.

Under § 38.2-1905 of the Code of Virginia, insurance providers may not increase your rates or charge you “points” for being involved in an accident that was not your fault. After all, the purpose behind no-fault policies such as UM policies is that you have already paid your insurance to cover certain expenses, and this coverage is not based on anything you did or failed to do. It’s not your fault that the other driver does not carry insurance, so claiming UM benefits should not impact your rates.

However, consider that insurers are permitted to increase rates if you are found partially at fault for the accident. If the insurance company or another party tries to avoid paying you by claiming you were at fault, a knowledgeable attorney can help you defend your rights.

Can you sue an uninsured motorist for your injuries?

Yes, you can legally sue an uninsured motorist after an accident. Virginia law holds uninsured motorists financially responsible for any injuries or property damage they cause in a wreck. Therefore, you can file a lawsuit to force the uninsured driver to pay what you are owed.

However, you should know that many uninsured drivers lack coverage because they believe they cannot afford it. If someone doesn’t have the money to pay for auto insurance, chances are they don’t have the money to pay your medical bills either. So even if your lawsuit is successful, they likely lack the means to pay you what they owe you.

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Navigating the Financial Fallout

The financial ramifications of an accident with an uninsured driver can be significant. Without insurance coverage to offset medical bills, repair costs, and other expenses, you may find yourself grappling with overwhelming debt. This financial strain can disrupt your life and lead to long-term consequences if left unaddressed.

Legal Complexities and Challenges

In addition to financial concerns, accidents involving uninsured drivers can also raise legal complexities. Determining liability and pursuing compensation may require navigating intricate legal processes. Without legal guidance, you may inadvertently forfeit your rights or overlook avenues for recovery.

Disputes Over Liability

Moreover, uninsured motorist accidents often involve disputes over fault and liability. Insurance companies may attempt to shift blame or undervalue your claim, further complicating the situation. In such instances, having an experienced attorney advocating for your interests can make a substantial difference in the outcome of your case.

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Proactive Risk Management

Uninsured motorist accidents underscore the importance of proactive risk management. While you cannot control other drivers’ insurance status, you can take steps to protect yourself financially. Maintaining adequate uninsured motorist coverage as part of your auto insurance policy can provide a crucial safety net in the event of an accident with an uninsured driver.

Seeking Legal Counsel

When facing the aftermath of an accident with an uninsured driver, seeking legal counsel is paramount. An attorney focused on personal injury law can offer invaluable guidance and representation throughout the claims process. They can assess the specifics of your case, identify potential sources of compensation, and advocate for your rights effectively.

Mitigating the Impact on Your Finances

While the financial fallout of an accident with an uninsured driver can be daunting, taking proactive steps to mitigate its impact is crucial. This may include negotiating medical bills, exploring options for vehicle repair assistance, and pursuing compensation through uninsured motorist coverage. Additionally, communicating with creditors and healthcare providers about your situation can help alleviate immediate financial burdens.

Advocating for the Compensation You Deserve

If you’ve been involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you don’t have to face the challenges alone. Our team at NovaLegalGroup, P.C. is here to help you navigate the legal complexities, pursue the compensation you deserve, and advocate for your rights every step of the way. Don’t wait to seek the support and guidance you need. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you move forward with confidence.

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