New York and New Jersey are both No-Fault car insurance states. This means your car insurance is your first source to pay for your losses after an accident with another driver– even when that driver caused it. If you do not have insurance, you might have an opportunity to sue the responsible driver, but only for damages that are generally limited to your immediate medical bills.
At Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, we urge all drivers in New York and New Jersey to maintain adequate auto insurance coverage. Drivers who do not have insurance risk severe penalties and loss of personal assets if they are involved in a car accident.
Can you sue an at-fault driver for damages if you do not have insurance?
Drivers in No-Fault states can only sue a party who caused a car accident– when they suffer serious injuries. Injured parties whose damages are below certain threshold amounts or who are not disabled for an extended period will be precluded from suing for their damages in those states. Even with serious injuries, the “no pay/no play” restrictions that are in effect in New jersey limit an uninsured injured party’s damages to medical expenses. It also precludes recovery for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Can an injured party sue an uninsured at-fault driver due to serious injuries?
You can be sued directly and be held financially responsible for an injured party’s damages if their injuries exceed the New York or New Jersey thresholds. Even if you do not have the financial ability to pay for those damages, a court can enter a judgment directly against you. A court can also impose penalties and restrict your driving privileges if you are found guilty of operating a vehicle without insurance.
What other alternatives does an injured party have to recover damages if an at-fault driver does not have insurance?
Every car accident is unique to its own facts. If you suffer serious injuries, your damages might quickly reach the limits of your own No-Fault insurance. Suppose the at-fault driver does not have insurance or personal resources to reimburse the rest of your damages. In that case, you might be able to sue other parties that bear partial responsibility.
You can substantially improve your chances of recovering the full amount of your damages when you retain an experienced car accident lawyer immediately after your accident to investigate all sources of insurance recovery.
Contact Us for Information on Car Accidents When a Party is Uninsured
At Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, we represent individuals in car accident lawsuits in Rockland and Bergen Counties and elsewhere in New York and New Jersey. We encourage all drivers to comply with their legal obligations to purchase car insurance to give them the best opportunity to recover all of the compensation they deserve.