Drivers in South Dakota have a legal obligation to carry insurance. In fact, the state requires more insurance coverage than many other jurisdictions. Despite the laws requiring insurance, many people still drive without coverage.
Sometimes, it is an intentional decision. People cancel their policies or stop paying their invoices to save a little money. Other times, those struggling financially might fall behind on their payments and could potentially be unaware of their lack of coverage. Regardless of whether someone meant to drive without insurance or not, they can put other people in a very difficult position if they cause a crash.
What options does someone have after a crash caused by another motorist who was driving without proper insurance coverage?
People can potentially take legal action
Provided that there is a police report or other evidence supporting someone’s claim that the other driver was at fault for the wreck, they may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit after getting hurt in a crash. If an uninsured driver causes a fatal collision, the surviving family members of the decedent could potentially file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Doing so can lead to a judgment that compels the party at fault to reimburse the people affected for the losses they suffered. Some people dislike the idea of filing a lawsuit after a car crash. They may assume that doing so is unnecessary. After all, the relatively thorough insurance requirements in South Dakota mandate uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in addition to liability coverage.
People might use their own policy to cover the costs generated by another driver. The problem with this decision is that making a large claim against a policy could increase what people have to pay for their coverage later. Even when the person filing the claim was not at fault for the crash, their insurance company may factor their claim into the calculations when setting the premiums for their policy when it comes time to renew.
Essentially, the financial burden passes to someone who is not to blame for the incident. If someone who causes financial harm to others is also not in compliance with South Dakota law, then parties affected by their misconduct should not have to accept those losses without question. Learning more about how insurance and liability work after a South Dakota crash by seeking legal guidance might help people recover financially after a wreck.