An auto accident can happen any time you are on the road. Drivers buy insurance coverage to protect themselves if something happens. Insurance makes it easier for a person to receive compensation for any damages caused by an accident, whether it is to their vehicle and property or even to their own body. However, for one reason or another, not all drivers are covered by an insurance policy – what happens in this situation? Here is what you can expect when you are involved in an auto accident in New Jersey with no insurance.
Penalties of Driving Without Liability Insurance
Unfortunately, the laws of New Jersey do not see car insurance as a choice to which you can say no. New Jersey Statute 39:6B-1, also known as the New Jersey Compulsory Motor Vehicle Insurance Law, makes this mandatory. It states, “Every owner or registered owner of a motor vehicle registered or principally garaged in this State shall maintain motor vehicle liability insurance coverage … insuring against loss resulting from liability imposed by law for” any damage, to property or people, caused during an accident involving that vehicle.
In addition to making auto insurance a requirement, New Jersey law – through Statute 39:6B-2 – actually criminalizes not having it. Under this law, first-time offenders may be fined between $300 and $1000, made to perform community service, and stripped of the ability to drive in New Jersey for a year legally. Any further convictions raise the maximum fine to $5000 and add to the sentence 14 days of imprisonment. Repeat offenders are also barred from driving for a full two years and, at the end of that time, must apply for a driver’s license again.
Can I Sue the Other Driver for Damages?
The situation may be that you have no insurance but rather than being the cause of the accident, you are instead the victim. In cases like that, you may be able to recover some economic damages, such as damage done to your car and medical bills. However, even if the other driver is found by the court to be 100% responsible for the collision, you will not be eligible to receive compensation for noneconomic damages, such as emotional distress.
The logic behind this is that if the roles had been reversed and you had been deemed 100% responsible, you would not be able to provide compensation to the victim. They would have to depend on their uninsured motorist insurance, assuming they even have it, and their insurance company might not be able to give them enough. Lawmakers must have viewed this as imbalanced, hence the current rules.
With all that said, the fact remains that driving or owning a vehicle without insurance is illegal in New Jersey. If you get in an accident without insurance, you may have to focus less on your other concerns and more on your pending legal trouble.
Lastly but certainly not least, one of the best actions you can take when you are involved in an auto accident in New Jersey with no insurance is to contact a personal injury lawyer. The experienced New Jersey car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of James C. Dezao, P.A. can provide you with the legal assistance you need, and you only have to pay if we win the case. On our website, we have even made an affidavit of no insurance form available for you to print out and fill out. If you or a loved one ever get involved in a car accident without insurance in New Jersey, contact us today at (855) 432-2489 and receive a free consultation.