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Who pays for a crash when a driver doesn’t have insurance?

On Behalf of | Jul 23, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

There are dozens of state laws that regulate someone’s driving privileges. From the obligation to secure a driver’s license to speed limit statutes, rules help keep everyone on the road a little bit safer. If all drivers were to consistently follow traffic laws, the rate of collisions in Oklahoma would likely decrease significantly. Unfortunately, there are always people who choose to break the rules and also those who are simply unaware of them. Some people violate the most basic rules about driving. They may get behind the wheel without a license or choose to drive when they don’t currently have insurance.

Oklahoma has a noteworthy percentage of drivers on the road without coverage, at least according to insurance industry data from 2019. Researchers found that approximately 13.4% of drivers in the Sooner State did not have the legally-mandated coverage. What happens when the person who causes an Oklahoma collision does not have proper insurance coverage?

Uninsured drivers create a burden for others

The liability insurance system for vehicles in Oklahoma makes an individual affected by a crash dependent on the coverage carried by the driver at fault for the wreck. People do have the option of adding additional coverage to their own policies, including collision, comprehensive and uninsured motorist coverage. Those with uninsured driver coverage can sometimes use their own policies to cover property damage and bodily injury expenses. However, even when a motorist is not at fault for a crash, making a claim against their own policy would likely increase their insurance rates. Therefore, those hit by an uninsured motorist would often prefer to have that irresponsible driver cover their costs.

If the collision is the result of either negligence or violation of state traffic laws, the person injured in the collision could file a personal injury lawsuit. The courts might potentially award the plaintiff in such cases full compensation for their provable costs related to the crash, ranging from their lost wages to their hospital bills. Unlike insurance claims, personal injury lawsuits are not subject to policy limits that affect how much compensation an individual will receive.

Of course, pursuing a lawsuit often takes much longer than filing an insurance claim and requires assistance from a legal professional. Exploring every available form of recourse is often necessary for those affected by a major motor vehicle collision in Oklahoma, and choosing to pursue a lawsuit as a reasonable decision by those affected by another individual’s choice to not carry insurance.