All drivers in North Carolina are required to have car insurance, and, when it expires, police officers can pull over and cite those who drive without insurance. Often, we hear clients ask: What happens if I’m in a car accident and I don’t have valid insurance?
The penalties for driving without car insurance in North Carolina include fines and fees of up to $100, up to 45 days of probation and suspension of registration for up to 30 days.
This issue can be resolved fairly easy with the District Attorney’s office. Often, the DA is willing to dismiss the charge once the Defendant has proven they now have valid car insurance. However, the circumstances are different if you are in an accident and you don’t have valid insurance.
I don’t have car insurance and I was in an accident. What happens now?
If you do not have insurance and are in an accident, you may receive a letter from the DMV informing you that you must deposit security or your license will be suspended.
To avoid suspension, you must
- Provide the Division with proof that the automobile liability insurance was in effect at the time of the accident;
- Deposit security with the Division in the amount stated on the suspension letter;
- File a notarized release for damages from all persons who sustained bodily injury or whose property was damaged; or
- File a settlement agreement, which includes all persons injured or whose property was damaged, the settlement amount, the date of payments, and the signatures of all persons making the agreement.
The easiest way to clear this up is by showing you had valid insurance at the time; that essentially there was a mix-up.
But what if my insurance actually had lapsed?
You have a few options available to you.
First, you could deposit the security amount in full. That could, however, be as much as $100,000!
Another option is release from damages and injuries by the other party, which can be difficult since most people are covered by insurance and want to be wholly compensated for their injuries and/or property damage.
Finally, a settlement agreement can be negotiated with an insurance company. This is where your knowledgeable, North Carolina attorney would step in, send a letter of representation to the insurance company, and negotiate your settlement. Your attorney may be able to negotiate the amount down to be manageable and within your budget.
Getting this sorted out as soon as possible is very important because if it is not done, your driving privileges can be suspended. This suspension is indefinite, and can only be lifted when you satisfy one of the requirements set out by the DMV letter.
Give SeiferFlatow a call at 704-512-0606 as soon as you receive the DMV letter so that we can get everything negotiated and on track before the suspension ever takes place.