What Happens When Your Auto Insurance Lapses?

In the State of Maryland, if a reckless or negligent driver injures you in a traffic accident, immediately after you have been examined and treated for your injuries, schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation with a Silver Spring auto accident attorney.

The injured victims of negligent drivers may recover compensation for their lost wages, medical bills, and other damages, but can you be compensated if a negligent driver injures you when your insurance has lapsed? What if you are the at-fault driver, and you injure someone else?

If you have no insurance, do you have any rights after an accident? For answers to these questions, keep reading this short discussion of automobile insurance, uninsured drivers, and your rights as an injured accident victim in the State of Maryland.

What Auto Insurance is Required in Maryland?

Maryland law requires every driver to carry these minimum liability coverage limits:

  1.  $30,000 per person in bodily injury coverage
  2.  $60,000 per accident in total bodily injury coverage
  3.  $15,000 per accident in property damage coverage

Additionally, the law in Maryland also requires every driver to carry at least $2,500 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.

What Does It Mean When an Insurance Policy Has Lapsed?

Keeping your auto insurance policy active ensures that you will be covered if you are involved in an accident, but allowing your auto insurance policy to lapse could entail some costly consequences.

If your auto insurance lapses, you will not have any auto insurance coverage. This can happen if you do not renew your auto insurance policy or even if you miss a payment, either intentionally or because you simply forgot.

If the lapse is only for one or two days and you promptly pay the insurance company, the company will probably reinstate your coverage, although you may owe a reinstatement fee. Even so, while the policy is lapsed, you probably will not be covered if you’re involved in an accident.

If a Negligent Driver Injures You While Your Insurance is Lapsed

If your insurance lapses and a reckless or negligent driver injures you in a traffic accident, you are still entitled to recover compensation. As soon as you have been examined and treated for your injuries, arrange to discuss your legal rights with a Silver Spring traffic accident lawyer.

Although you retain the right to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver if you are injured in an accident as a pedestrian while your insurance has lapsed, you will not have any of your own insurance coverage such as PIP (personal injury protection) coverage.

When You Are the At-Fault Driver

The Insurance Information Institute estimates that on any given day, more than fourteen percent of the drivers on Maryland’s streets and highways are uninsured. That is a compelling reason to make sure that your own auto insurance is sufficient and that your payments are up-to-date.

If you are driving in Maryland with no car insurance coverage, and you are the at-fault driver in a traffic crash that injures another person, you could be held personally liable for any injuries or other damages.

If your insurance has lapsed, the other motorist could sue you directly, and any assets or properties you own, including your home, could be placed at risk. This cannot be emphasized strongly enough: Do not let your automobile insurance lapse in the State of Maryland.

What Are the Penalties in Maryland for Driving Without Insurance?

If you drive with no car insurance in Maryland, even for one day, it’s a crime – a misdemeanor. If you are involved in an accident and you have no insurance, whether you are the at-fault driver or a victim of the other driver’s negligence, you could face penalties that include:

  1.  the revocation of your vehicle registration and driver’s license
  2.  a $150 fine that, after thirty days, rises by $7 each day you’re uninsured (up to $2,500)
  3.  a $25 registration reinstatement fee
  4.  a $1,000 fine and/or up to a year in jail
  5.  the addition of five penalty points to your driving record

These are merely the penalties for a first conviction. If you are convicted a second time in Maryland for driving without car insurance, the penalties and fines may be doubled, and you may have difficulty finding a car insurance provider who will cover you.

Take These Steps After an Accident

Whether or not the other driver is insured, there will not be a Silver Spring auto accident attorney to advise you at an accident scene if you are injured, so you must take these steps to place yourself in the best legal position for filing – and prevailing with – a personal injury claim:

  1.  Summon medical help immediately for yourself and anyone who may be injured.
  2.  Call the police, and ask the officers how you may acquire a copy of the written police report when it is available.
  3.  If the other motorist has car insurance, exchange personal contact information, and get details about that motorist’s car insurance and car insurance company.
  4.  If the other motorist has no car insurance, obtain as much personal information as possible about that driver.
  5.  Take photos of the accident location, damage to the vehicles, and your own injuries. If eyewitnesses saw the accident, ask for their names and personal contact information.

Eyewitness statements and photographs of a crash can be compelling evidence in personal injury cases, and if those statements and photos verify your injury claim, it is possible that your case could be settled quickly and out-of-court.

Take This Step Next

A Silver Spring traffic accident lawyer at Goldberg Finnegan will handle your personal injury claim or advise you about how to pursue compensation if you are injured by a negligent driver, whether that driver is insured or uninsured.

The award-winning legal team at Goldberg Finnegan has recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia.

If you are injured, your first case evaluation with Goldberg Finnegan is free, and you will pay no lawyer’s fee until and unless a personal injury lawyer at Goldberg Finnegan recovers your compensation with an out-of-court settlement or a trial verdict.

If an uninsured driver (or an insured driver) has injured you, or if you are injured by a negligent driver in the future in Maryland or the District of Columbia, promptly call Goldberg Finnegan at 301-820-7815. We fight for the compensation and justice that injured car accident victims need.