What if I Am in a Car Accident and Don’t Have Insurance?
Auto insurance is incredibly important in Minnesota. Having insurance protects you and others on the roadway in the event of an accident. Operating a vehicle without having car insurance is against the law in Minnesota. Aside from the legal consequences of not having insurance, you could be on the line for tremendous expenses if you get into an accident and are not covered under an insurance policy.
Minnesota’s No-Fault System
Minnesota operates under a “no-fault” insurance system in which drivers maintain personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. In the event of an accident, drivers turn to PIP coverage for their medical expenses, loss wages, replacement services, and death benefits. They will use this coverage regardless of which party was at fault for the accident.
The minimum personal injury protection coverage requirement in Minnesota is $40,000. Drivers can step outside of the no-fault system and file a lawsuit against an at-fault party your certain thresholds are met. This includes:
- Incurring at least $4,000 in reasonable medical expenses
- Suffering from 60 days of disability, permanent injury, or permanent disfigurement
Drivers in Minnesota are also required to carry:
- Bodily injury liability: $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident
- Property damage liability: $10,000
- Uninsured motorist coverage: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Underinsured motorist coverage: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
Drivers without insurance who cause a crash could still face significant losses, even though the other drivers in the accident will turn to their PIP coverage for expenses. First, a driver without insurance who causes a crash will be on the line to cover all of their own medical costs and property damage expenses. Additionally, if the other parties involved in the accident reach the thresholds mentioned above, they could file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to recover compensation. Without insurance, this means that the at-fault driver could be held personally liable for these costs.
If the Car You’re Driving is Insured
In many cases, the actual driver of the vehicle will not have insurance of their own, but they will be operating a vehicle that does have an insurance policy. In Minnesota, those who live with the insured person will generally also be covered under the insurance policy if they drive the vehicles. This includes a person’s spouse, children, minors they may have custody of, etc. If you borrow somebody’s car, you will typically be covered under the vehicle owner’s insurance policy so long as you are a licensed driver.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Minnesota
Driving without automobile insurance in Minnesota is considered a misdemeanor offense. Anybody charged with driving without insurance could face up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The law specifically states that “the court shall impose a fine of not less than $200,” so you can expect to pay at least that much and likely more. Additionally, a person risks having their license suspended if they operate their vehicle without insurance. Getting a license reinstated can lead to additional costs.
Injured? Get Help from a Car Accident Lawyer
If you are injured in a car accident, but you do not have insurance coverage at the time of the crash, that does not mean you are not entitled to compensation. Yes, not having insurance coverage can make securing compensation a bit more difficult, but that does not absolve another driver of their fault for the incident. You may still be able to recover compensation for your losses. You should speak to a skilled and experienced Minnesota car accident lawyer about your case as soon as possible. An attorney will have the legal knowledge and resources necessary to investigate your case, determine liability, and secure the compensation you need.