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In the state of California, driving without insurance and getting into a car accident can be a real disaster. Whether you are the victim or the party responsible for a traffic collision, it is a very complicated and risky situation. 

In these cases, the health, freedom and peace of mind of a person or group of people are compromised.


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What can I do in a driving without insurance accident in Los Angeles in 2024?

The Los Angeles injury lawyers at Lluis Law in Los Angeles have over 50 years of combined experience helping accident victims. If you or a family member is going through a similar situation, we can help.

California law requires drivers to cover property damage and personal injuries they cause. However, there are negligent drivers who break the law and cause problems for themselves and others. 

Consider the following: 

  • Driving without insurance is a crime and carries very high risks and costs. One of them is being stopped by the police for causing a traffic accident. 
  • If the accident involves injuries, the situation becomes more complicated for the responsible driver. 
  • To this must be added the fine that you will receive for not having compulsory civil liability insurance for drivers. 
  • The other risk for uninsured drivers is causing the car accident and being seriously injured. 

If the driver did not purchase insurance, it is not hard to imagine that they will not be able to cover their own medical treatment either.

who pays in car accident without insurance

What do I do if I have an accident and do not have insurance?

At the Lluis Law firm, our lawyers advise acting sensibly to avoid violating traffic laws. If you are in an injury accident and have not yet purchased driver’s insurance:

  • Do not leave the scene of the accident. Hit and run crimes are severely punishable by law.
  • After reporting the accident to the police and calling 911, if people are injured, you should call a good attorney. The car accident lawyers in Los Angeles at Lluis Law usually successfully resolve these cases.
  • Whether you are seeking compensation for common car accident injuries or compensation for death in a car accident, our attorneys can always help recover damages through a civil or criminal claim or lawsuit. 
  • You also have 10 days to make a formal accident report to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV will likely also issue you a ticket for driving without vehicle insurance. 
questions about car accidents

If you want to know more about what to do after a car accident, visit our car accident questions section.

In a driving without insurance car accident, who pays?

If the driver responsible for the car accident does not have insurance, it can be very difficult to pursue damages. In such a case, drivers may be forced to file a claim against their own insurance. 

Although they should be aware that this will bring them problems in the future, when they want to renew their insurance policy.

  • The annual premium becomes more expensive when it is the own insurance that covers the damage caused by a third party.
  • Similarly, you will need to contact your own insurance company to report the accident. If you need your insurance to cover all or part of your medical bills. 

If the injured driver is unclear about who was responsible for the accident, they should immediately call their attorney. They will be able to offer a better advice on what to do in a particular case.

Why do I need a lawyer if I am arrested for driving without insurance?

  • A good Los Angeles car crash attorney can help you identify who is responsible.
  • Attorneys will also help you negotiate an acceptable settlement with the insurance company in the event of disputes.
  • If you were injured after the accident and the insurance company refuses to pay, they will help you find a medical provider.
  • You could get the judge to dismiss the charges if you purchase insurance after the incident.
  • An attorney can represent you in court and save you from having to go in person.

Also remember that:

  • An uninsured driver can be pulled over and forced to pay compensation for damages caused to other drivers. Both material damage (car repair) and personal or bodily injury. 
  • However, nothing guarantees that you can get compensation for car accidents in California if you do not have insurance. Even less, if the driver does not have fortune assets either.
  • However, some auto insurance policies incorporate uninsured motorist insurance. This additional resource allows to cover the damages and other expenses caused by uninsured drivers. 

What is the penalty for not having car insurance?

Drivers who are stopped for violating traffic laws are exposed to being fined and penalized. The fines for driving without insurance and having an accident in California are of two types: 

  • First offense fine of $100 to $200; or
  • Second offense fine of $200 to $500 for each offense committed within 3 years after the first penalty.

If you do not have insurance and you were at fault for the accident, in addition to the fines you could face:

  • Driver’s license suspension for up to four years depending on the type of accident.
  • Presentation of the SR-22 certificate, an insurance form required to reinstate the license.
  • Submit proof of financial responsibility or bank deposit.
fine for car accident without insurance

Who pays for car accident damages if I have no insurance and I was at fault?

By driving without insurance and having an accident, you already know that there will be damages to cover. In addition to the fines and other penalties mentioned above, you must pay:

  • Medical expenses of the other driver.
  • Repair costs of the other vehicle.
  • Seizure of your vehicle.
  • Possible lawsuit for damages before the Los Angeles Court involving:
    • Lost wages.
    • Future medical bills.
    • emotional distress
    • Fees of the other attorney, in addition to your own attorney.

If the other driver has uninsured motorist coverage (UMC), your own insurance may cover the damage. Only the insurance company could file a lawsuit against you to recover those expenses.

Auto insurance coverage in California

In California, drivers are required to purchase automobile liability insurance with minimum coverage. The same is true of almost every state in the country, regardless of whether it is a at-fault or non-fault state. 

  • The auto insurance policy is used to cover medical bills and repairs for property damage in a traffic accident. 
  • The amounts of coverage and other benefits of the policy depend on the type of insurance purchased. 
  • California auto insurance law requires insurance coverage of at least $15,000 per injured person. As well as $30,000 coverage for accident expenses with more than one person injured. 
  • The policy must also cover at least $5,000 for property damage. 
  • $3,500 damage coverage to the uninsured driver’s vehicle.

Why is California required to file a claim? 

California, being a at-fault state, requires filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s company. To obtain compensation after a car accident, you must also prove the responsibility of the other driver. 

Instead, in no-fault states, damages can be recovered without the need to prove the at-fault driver’s fault. All drivers, both the responsible and the victims, get compensation regardless of who was at fault for the accident. 

When the injured driver cannot prove the fault of the other party, they will also not be able to pursue damages. They alone could cover the damage through their own insurance company. If they don’t have vehicle insurance, then they have to pay out of their own pocket. 

Types of financial responsibility

The California Insurance Code (Section 11580.1(b), outlines the types of financial responsibility (insurance): 

  • Motor vehicle liability insurance policy (standard or low cost).
  • Proof of cash deposit of $35,000 with the DMV.
  • Self-insurance certificate issued by the DMV.
  • $35,000 surety bond issued by a company licensed to do business in California.

Individuals who cannot afford liability insurance have another option available. This is the California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program.

Exceptions for car insurance

Drivers are required to carry any of these proofs of financial responsibility at all times while driving.

Unless you drive one of the following vehicles:

  • Trailers.
  • Special equipment vehicles.
  • Off-road vehicles (overland or adventure vehicles).
  • Vehicles with status of planned non-operation (PNO).
  • Official vehicles registered to a government entity (city, county, state, federal).
car accident in los angeles without insurance

What happens if I get hit and I don’t have insurance?

It is very common to hear: what happens if I have an accident and I do not have insurance? What can happen is that the other driver pays only part of the damages. 

For this particular case, there may be certain restrictions regarding the type of compensation to be claimed. Also, you should consider the following:

  • Some states, including California, follow the “No Pay, no Play” rule. That means that if you don’t have insurance at the time of the accident, you are also limited in claiming. 
  • If you are injured in a car accident caused by another driver, you may be able to claim compensation for injuries. However, you will not be able to recover “non-economic” damages such as pain and suffering. 

The rationale for this rule is that if you cannot provide another person with full compensation, you cannot claim full benefits from others.

What is uninsured motorist coverage?

It’s a benefit some insurance policies offer to protect drivers in collisions against uninsured drivers. This type of policy is also used to cover expenses that are not covered, because the other driver’s insurance is insufficient. 

“I was hit by a car without insurance”

The insurance company of the driver who was hit covers the damage or reimburses medical expenses and damage to the vehicle. Although that driver without insurance will be fined and sanctioned by the authorities.

Can I appeal a ticket for driving without insurance?

Yes, as long as you can prove that you forgot to take your insurance card with you. Although you will still be fined, the cost of the fine could decrease considerably. For a small administrative fee, the court may decide to withdraw the fine.

Some drivers who can’t find insurance coverage that fits their pockets turn to the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan (CAARP). This system offers coverage to drivers who cannot afford standard insurance.

Our Los Angeles traffic ticket lawyers section will give you further info on how to act after receiving a ticket.

Can I get a low cost auto insurance policy in California?

Yes. The California Low Cost Insurance Program (CLCA) created by the California Department of Insurance in 1999. This program seeks to provide an affordable option to drivers who for some reason are unable to purchase other insurance.

The CLCA is especially aimed at low-income drivers who:

  • Have driving records with a clean history;
  • Possess a valid California driver’s license.

Even if your income is less than 250% of the federal poverty guidelines, the price of CLCA insurance could be even lower.

Now you know that driving without insurance and getting into an accident is no joke. In any situation, our uninsured accident attorneys are available to represent you. 

At Lluis Law we are also Uber accident lawyers and electric scooter accident lawyers, among many other areas of specialization.

If you have been involved in an accident without insurance either as a victim or as the cause of it, we can help you. Call now for a private consultation or visit our offices in downtown Los Angeles.


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