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What happens when the other driver doesn't have insurance?

You carry motor vehicle insurance to protect yourself from liability in a collision where you are at fault. When another driver causes a motor vehicle crash, their insurance policy is the one that is supposed to pay for your property damage, lost wages and medical expenses. Sometimes, your policy will pay up front and then subrogate the claims to the other company. Other times, they will insist you bill the other driver's insurance.

Unfortunately, not everyone who drives on the Minnesota public roads will have the necessary insurance to protect you when they cause a collision.

Registration requirements have reduced the risk

The good news is that the number of uninsured drivers on Minnesota roadways has dropped in recent years. That's because lawmakers change the law to require proof of insurance at the annual registration of a vehicle. To obtain registration and a legal license plate, drivers have to prove that they have liability insurance on their vehicle.

Still, people can and do cancel their policies shortly after registering their vehicles. They may also simply not pay the next month, resulting in lapsed coverage. When that happens, you may need to take a different approach to seeking compensation.

Do you have a rider on your insurance policy?

Given the prevalence of people driving around without proper insurance, most policies can have a rider added to them that will extend coverage to the policyholder in the event that there is a crash between them and another person who does not have insurance on their vehicle.

These riders typically cost only a fraction of the total cost of the policy but offer substantial protection. If you don't know whether you have an uninsured or underinsured driver rider on your policy, you might want to call your agent and have them check or have an attorney review your policy for optimal coverage.

How do you get bills paid when someone doesn't have insurance?

The most pressing issue here, of course, is how you can pay your medical debt and repair your vehicle if there isn't an insurance policy in place. Typically, you may need to file a civil lawsuit against the other driver. You can seek specific assets if they have them or even a garnishment of their wages if there is no other way to collect on the judgment.

In certain circumstances where the crash was part or the result of a major crime, there may be compensation available through victims' funds as well. Discussing your options with a lawyer is usually in your best interest, as it can be confusing trying to figure out what to do. You should not be the one left responsible for a crash caused by a driver who made financially irresponsible decisions.

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Law Office of Jeffrey A. Jones, PA

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