Car Accident Penalties in California
When looking to tighten your budget, you may be tempted to go without car insurance. Even if you’re a safe driver, this is extremely risky. You never know when you can be in an accident, even if you are a defensive driver.
Any accident lawyer will tell you that the fines and penalties that result from driving without insurance will be much higher than your monthly car insurance bill. If you’re in an accident without insurance, an automobile accident lawyer in Los Angeles says they will be even higher, even if you’re not at fault for the accident.
If you’re in an accident without insurance, even the best car wreck lawyer Los Angeles won’t be able to save you from all the fines. In the state of California, driving without car insurance is illegal, and in fact, it’s illegal in most places. You can face civil or criminal charges, so if you want to skip car insurance, you should quit driving altogether and opt for public transit or rideshare services.
Consequences for Driving Without Insurance in California
California requires that all drivers have at least $15,000 worth of bodily injury liability coverage and at least $5,000 in liability coverage for property damage. When you are pulled over by a police officer, you will need to show proof of this insurance. Even if you have insurance, lack of proof is seen as an administrative violation, meaning that you will receive a ticket for it. If you show up to your court hearing with proof of insurance that was valid at the time you received the ticket, your citation will not be waived.
California imposes strict penalties on those who drive without insurance. Being caught driving without insurance will result in fines that range from $100 to $200 for a first offense and $200 up to $500 for the second offense. For a second offense, penalty assessments rise to a sum between $500 and $1,300.
On top of fines, your car could be impounded and your license could be suspended. If the officer orders that your vehicle is impounded, you will have to pay additional towing and impounding fees. It’s also required that you show proof of insurance in order to get your car back.
Legal Penalties for Being in an Accident Without Insurance
When you’re in an accident, you’ll want to hire an injury attorney immediately. However, driving without insurance will result in a great number of fines, even if you were not at fault for the accident. It’s also likely that the California courts will suspend your license for several years. Penalties, court fees, impounding fees, and you and the other driver’s property damage and bodily injury costs will be a hefty bill.
If you didn’t have insurance at the time of the accident, it will also be difficult for your accident injury attorney in Los Angeles to win you compensation for your damages. Even if the other driver was 100% at fault, it’s possible that you won’t get any compensation.
Paying for Damages When You Don’t Have Insurance
If you are the party at fault for the collision, then you are solely responsible for the cost of all resulting damage. You will need to pay out of pocket for the vehicle damage, medical costs, and any damage to other public and private property such as street signs and storefronts.
It’s possible that the other driver will have underinsured motorist insurance, but you cannot rely on that.
What Happens When the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
About 14% of drivers are uninsured, and it’s possible that you get into an accident with one of them. If you are in an accident with someone who doesn’t have car insurance, you may have to rely on your own insurance for the majority of the bills. If your policy includes uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, you should be able to get compensation through your own insurance if the damages are moderate.
In the event that your property damage and bodily injuries are severe, you will need to contact a traffic collision lawyer about filing a lawsuit with the other driver.
To be blunt, you need to have car insurance if you’re getting behind the wheel. The penalties and charges that you will incur for being pulled over or getting into a traffic accident without insurance will be hefty, leaving you wishing you had insurance in the first place.
California’s policies are rather lax compared to other states, where you can receive a prison sentence for driving without insurance. If you are looking to get around a monthly insurance payment, California allows drivers to be “self-insured,” meaning that they pay a $35,000 cash deposit upfront to the DMV.
Whether or not you have insurance at the time of an accident, you should contact a knowledgeable auto accident attorney in Los Angeles like Grey Law. Consulting with Grey Law can ensure that you are treated fairly following your accident.