If an individual in Maryland decides to take the risk and drive without insurance and ends up getting into an accident, the resulting insurance and compensation implications can be complex. Whether the driver knowingly didn’t have insurance, or accidentally let their policy lapse, not having insurance definitely influences what happens after the accident.
No matter what, the uninsured driver will probably have to pay a fee for letting their insurance lapse. According to Maryland law, that penalty fee amount could vary. Depending on the scenario, the driver could have to pay other fees as well. If they’re injured in the accident, how does this affect the type of compensation they’re able to receive for damages? First, let’s take a look at some facts and Maryland laws.
Who is At Fault?
When it comes to car accidents, Maryland is an at-fault state. This means that whoever is determined by law to be at fault for the car accident is legally responsible to pay for the injuries and damages caused. If the driver seeking compensation is at fault at all, though, they cannot recover any damages, whether they have insurance or not.
Because of Maryland’s at-fault status, if an uninsured driver caused an accident, they cannot receive compensation for any of their own car accident injuries. They will also be personally liable for any injuries or damages that the accident caused for other drivers and passengers. Since they don’t have insurance, it will all be out of pocket costs.
But if an insured driver is at fault, they are responsible for paying for any damages and giving the other parties involved their insurance information. That way, any injured parties can contact the driver’s insurance agency to make a claim. Even if the injured parties do not have insurance, they can still receive compensation if they are not at fault for the accident.
What Damages Can You Receive?
An at-fault state is also known as a tort state. In a tort state, a personal injury victim must write a written letter to the State Treasurer within one year of the injury as a basis of their claim. As outlined by the Maryland Tort Claims Act (MTCA), a driver’s liability for economic and non-economic damages cannot exceed $400,000 per victim or $800,000 per incident.
The cap on compensation for damages might seem unfair to victims because it limits the amount of damages that can be covered. But before 2015, those limits were actually half what they are now. The state has made some advancements but has some improvements left to go with the MTCA.
Within that cap, victims of car accidents can potentially receive compensation for both economic and noneconomic damages, including:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Other Important Driving Laws in Maryland
Since Maryland is a tort state, drivers are required by law to have uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance. This covers drivers up to a certain amount if they’re in a collision with an uninsured driver and the uninsured driver is at fault.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and question your legal options or are being treated unfairly by an insurance company, it may be a good idea to seek legal representation. The lawyers at Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz can give you the support you need. Contact us today so we can fight for your rights.