Oklahoma requires that all drivers carry liability insurance in case they cause crashes that result in property damage or injuries. But nearly 25% of Oklahoma drivers don’t have up-to-date auto insurance.
So, what happens if you don’t have auto insurance and you’re injured in a crash that wasn’t your fault? Can you still sue the at-fault driver for your crash-related expenses? We answer this commonly asked question below.
A 2014 Oklahoma Supreme Court Ruling Changed Everything for Uninsured Drivers
11 states in the U.S. have “no pay, no play” laws, including California, Michigan, and New Jersey. These laws prevent uninsured drivers from being eligible to receive compensation from at-fault drivers after crashes. And as recently as 2014, Oklahoma was one of them.
However, the Oklahoma Supreme Court found the state’s “no pay, no play” laws unconstitutional in 2014. As a result of that ruling, uninsured drivers can once again file compensation claims and lawsuits against the drivers who caused their crashes and injuries.
Despite the Supreme Court Ruling, You Still Need Liability Insurance
Although you’re technically allowed to pursue compensation after a crash if you’re uninsured, driving around without coverage is a bad idea. Not only is it illegal and can result in an expensive ticket if you get pulled over, but it also leaves you vulnerable to paying for the other driver’s expenses out of pocket if you’re ever found to be more than 50% responsible for a crash.
Because Oklahoma is a comparative negligence state, drivers who are partially at fault can still pursue compensation against the other drivers after crashes. That means the other driver may try to have your level of fault changed to be more than 50%, and if they’re successful, you’ll be on the hook for their expenses, including both their repair bills and medical bills.
Liability Insurance Isn’t the Only Insurance You Need
Although having liability insurance gives you the green light to legally drive in Oklahoma and protects you from personal liability in a crash that was your fault, it doesn’t do much for you financially if you’re hurt in a crash that wasn’t your fault. Given the fact that one in four drivers in Oklahoma is uninsured, it’s extremely important to purchase uninsured driver coverage. This coverage helps you pay for your own medical bills and other damages if the driver who hit you is uninsured or can’t be found, such as in a hit-and-run crash.
Medical Payments coverage, also known as MedPay, is another type of insurance worth purchasing to further protect yourself and your family. It kicks in after any crash that results in injuries, and it pays out regardless of who is at fault. The maximum amount is typically less than what’s provided from liability insurance or uninsured motorist coverage, but it can provide enough money to stay on top of your medical bills while you wait for your claim to settle.
Even with Insurance, You Still Need a Lawyer to Get the Money You’re Owed
At Parrish DeVaughn, we always recommend that drivers have as much insurance as they can afford. Unfortunately, insurers are always looking for ways to reduce or deny claims to claimants, even when those claimants are their policyholders!
Our Oklahoma car accident lawyers know that getting full compensation can be difficult whether you’re filing a claim against the other driver’s liability insurance or your own uninsured driver coverage. However, we have years of experience helping injured drivers and their passengers get the compensation they’re owed, and we’re ready to put that experience to work for you, too.
Contact us today for a free consultation. There are no upfront fees or obligation to hire, and you’ll never see a bill from us unless we get money for you.