New York and New Jersey are among the top states with the fewest uninsured drivers.
In fact, only 4.1% of drivers in New York and 3.1% of drivers in New Jersey operated their cars without auto insurance in 2019.
But what happens if you don’t have car insurance and you get involved in a car accident in these states?
We’re here to explain.
We’ll break down the most common consequences, explain what to do immediately after a car accident and share how our attorneys at the Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein can help, if you’ve been involved in an accident and you don’t have insurance.
Do You Need Car Insurance In New York And New Jersey?
Carrying car insurance when driving is mandatory in most states, across the United States, including New York and New Jersey.
We’ve broken down the regulations and penalties in both states.
Driving without car insurance in New York is illegal.
The minimum insurance you must have in New York is 25/50/10, which means your coverage should include:
- Bodily liability insurance per person in the amount of $25,000
- Bodily liability insurance per accident in the amount of $50,000
- Property damage coverage per accident in the amount of $10,000
If you are stopped for a traffic violation in New York, the police officer may ask for your insurance identification card, in either paper or electronic form. Failure to show proof of car insurance can lead to a series of penalties.
The penalties for driving without auto insurance in New York may extend to:
- A fine of up to $1,500
- A one-year license revocation
- An additional fee of $750 to restore your revoked license
- The confiscation of your vehicle
- Jail time
In New York, driver’s license suspension and vehicle confiscation are carried out by the by the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Having auto insurance is mandatory in New Jersey.
Unlike other states where you must have a minimum coverage to drive a car, the law in New Jersey allows you to choose between a Basic or Standard policy, each offering different coverage amounts.
The minimum limits for the Basic policy include $10,000 bodily injury liability per accident, $5,000 property damage liability per accident and $15,000 personal injury protection liability per person per accident.
The minimum limits for the Standard policy include $15,000 bodily injury liability per person and $30,000 per accident, $5,000 property damage liability per accident and $15,000 personal injury protection liability per person per accident.
The penalties for driving without auto insurance in New Jersey may extend to:
- A fine from $300 to $1,000 for a first offense
- A fine up to $5,000 for two or more offences
- The confiscation of your vehicle
- Community service
- A driver’s license suspension for up to one year after the first offence
- An additional fee of $100 to reinstate your license after the first offence
- A driver’s license suspension for up to two years after two or more offences
- Jail time
In New Jersey, the authority in charge of driver’s license suspension and vehicle confiscation is the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.
What Happens If You Don’t Have Car Insurance And You Get Into An Accident?
1. When You Are Responsible For The Accident
If you are found at fault for a car accident and are uninsured, you will be penalized for driving without insurance, and you will be responsible for all costs related to injuries and damages, if the other driver files a claim against you.
Both New York and New Jersey are no-fault states which means that damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages and additional injury-related services up to $50,000 are covered by the injured party’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance
However, if damages exceed the PIP limit, the injured party may file a claim against you, seeking compensation.
In addition to medical expenses, the injured party may seek additional types of damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life.
2. When Another Party Is Responsible For The Accident
If you are injured in a car accident and another party is responsible, and you do not have PIP coverage, you will be responsible for all your medical expenses, out of your own pocket.
Although you can file a claim against the at-fault driver to obtain compensation for your expenses, reaching a settlement is likely to take a long period of time.
3. When You Were A Passenger
If you do not have your own auto insurance, you may be covered under the auto insurance of a family member you live with, also known as household insurance.
If you have suffered injuries as a passenger in a car accident, your medical expenses and lost wages will be covered by your family member’s policy.
In addition, you may be able to seek further compensation, by filing a claim against the parties that contributed to the accident.
If you were involved in a car accident in New York or New Jersey, and you do not have car insurance, our knowledgeable team at Spar & Bernstein will look into the details of your case, explain your options, and help you proceed with next steps.
What To Do After A Car Accident
With or without auto insurance, here’s what you should do after being involved in a car accident:
- Seek medical assistance if you or another person are seriously injured
- Call the police
- Exchange contact details with the parties involved in the accident
- Do not discuss the accident details with anyone and do not mention your potential fault
- Collect contact details from accident witnesses
- Take any evidence of the accident you can. This may include pictures of the scene, vehicle position, traffic signals, damages, vehicle details, including car make and model, color, license plate number or area conditions.
- Look for surveillance or doorbell cameras near the scene of the accident and note their location — the footage may come in handy at a later stage
- If the situation allows, write a detailed description of the accident. Include the date and time, the specific location, the direction in which you were moving, the position of your vehicle on the road when the accident occurred, the position and behavior of the other car(s), your actions at the moment of impact. No matter how vivid your memories may seem at the time of the accident, they may become blurry as time goes by or injuries and post-traumatic stress take over.
- Call an experienced attorney to research your case, communicate with authorities and third parties and fight for the best outcome in your situation
How Spar & Bernstein Can Help If You Were Involved In A Car Accident And You Do Not Have Insurance
Driving without auto insurance in New York and New Jersey is a serious offence on its own. Getting into an accident as a driver while uninsured is even more serious and can lead to serious consequences — especially if the accident resulted in injuries or death.
Our team will research your case, identify liability, talk with witnesses and represent you before the authorities, insurance companies and if needed, the court.
If you suffered injuries as a passenger and you do not have auto insurance, we will determine the possibility for coverage under other sources, so that you have compensation to help with your recovery.
Whatever your case may be, our tenacious attorneys will strive to ensure the best possible outcome for you, after your accident.
What Happens If You Get In An Accident Without Insurance? Key Takeaways
Carrying auto insurance at all times is mandated by law in both New York and New Jersey.
If you were involved in a car accident while uninsured, you can face serious legal consequences, from hefty fines to a license suspension and more.
Our compassionate and knowledgeable team at Spar & Bernstein will review the details of your case and determine the best course of action for the most ideal outcome.
Disclaimer: attorney advertisement. prior successful results do not guarantee a similar outcome