In Maryland, like most states, drivers are required to carry car insurance. Keeping that policy active will help ensure you have the coverage you need should you be involved in a collision. Drivers who ignore this law or allow their policy to lapse could suffer a lot of expensive consequences. Below, we explain what you can expect if you are uninsured and involved in a car crash caused by someone else. Our experienced car accident lawyers in Silver Spring are well-versed in state insurance laws. If you were injured because of another driver’s negligence and your insurance policy has lapsed, we may still be able to help. Call our law offices for a free case review to learn if you may be able to seek compensation through the at-fault party’s insurance.
What a Lapsed Insurance Policy Means
If your insurance has lapsed, it means that your policy was terminated, and you have no coverage. There are many reasons this may have happened, such as:
- You knowingly elected not to renew your policy
- You neglected to pay your insurance bill
- You had a missed payment, due to an oversight
If your coverage lapsed for only a day or two and you quickly paid your bill, you may be able to have your insurance reinstated. In this circumstance, you may often have to pay a reinstatement fee and it is up to your insurer whether they will back-cover you for the days in which your policy was lapsed. It is unlikely you will have any coverage for the days your policy was lapsed, even if your insurance was reinstated.
If You Get Injured in a Car Crash Caused by Someone Else
If you are driving with lapsed insurance and get injured in a collision that was not your fault, you can still file a claim for compensation. Maryland law does not prevent you from being able to recover damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance in this situation. In fact, the defendant’s attorney cannot even admit evidence showing you were uninsured if the case goes to trial.
That said, there are still hefty consequences for being in a car crash while driving without insurance, even if it was not your fault. For starters, you will have no access to other coverage to help with your damages, such as personal injury protection (PIP) benefits to help with medical costs.
What if You Cause a Crash and Your Insurance Has Lapsed?
If you cause a crash while you are driving without insurance, you may be personally liable for the costs of any resulting injuries or damages. Without insurance, the other driver may opt to sue you personally. This means that injured parties can come after you legally for any assets you have, such as your home.
Severe Penalties, Costly Fines for Driving Uninsured
Whether or not you are at fault for a car crash, driving without insurance, even if it was only lapsed for a day or two, is considered a misdemeanor criminal offense in Maryland.
Those who drive without insurance may be subjected to these serious penalties:
- Having your motorist license and vehicle registration revoked
- Paying a $150 administrative fine from when your insurance lapses through the first 30 days, and then $7 for each day you remain uninsured, up to a maximum of $2,500
- A $25 fine to have your vehicle registration reinstated
- Being prohibited from registering any other vehicles until all insurance violations have been cleared
Additional penalties and fines include:
- Five points added to your license
- $1,000 in fines
- Up to a year of jail time
These penalties are just for a first offense. For a second offense, these penalties and fines are doubled. In addition to these fines and penalties, trying to get an insurance policy after driving without insurance will be costly.
What if You Are Insured but Left Proof of Coverage at Home?
In Maryland, you must have car insurance and carry proof that you are insured in your vehicle. If you are pulled over and are not able to show proof of your insurance, such as your insurance card, you can expect to get a ticket and face other fines even if you are insured.
Call Our Trusted Firm for Legal Help
If you drive without insurance and get injured because of another driver’s negligence, contact our law firm to schedule a free consultation. We are prepared to help determine whether you may have a valid claim for seeking compensation. If we determine you have a case and we represent you, we are prepared to fight for a maximum recovery on your behalf. There are no upfront costs for us to begin working on your case or throughout the legal process. We only receive payment if you do.