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Who pays after a crash caused by an uninsured driver?

Every driver in Oklahoma is required to carry insurance in compliance with state law. After all, a vehicle crash can cause catastrophic property damage and fatal injuries. A single collision might generate expenses that add up to multiple years of someone’s average salary, which means they would have no reasonable way of covering those costs if not for insurance coverage.

Insurance helps the reality of owning and operating a motor vehicle less financially dangerous by helping to ensure that there is a way to cover the costs generated in a collision. Yet, there are still a noteworthy number of motorists in Oklahoma who let their policies lapse and drive without proper insurance coverage despite the risks. Who pays for a crash caused by someone without insurance?

The at-fault driver is still financially responsible

Ideally, someone involved in a crash caused by an uninsured motorist will know their rights and will seek to hold the uninsured driver accountable. A failure to maintain insurance does not absolve someone of their financial responsibilities to others if they cause a collision through rule-breaking or negligence.

Quite the opposite, in fact. The people affected by the collision can make a direct claim against the driver at fault for the crash in the Oklahoma civil courts. Unlike insurance claims, which are subject to policy limits, lawsuits can lead to compensation that more accurately reflects the financial consequences of a crash.

The driver not at fault may have insurance

Oklahoma state law requires liability coverage from all drivers, but motorists have the option of adding other forms of coverage to their policies. In fact, every insurance provider underwriting car insurance coverage in Oklahoma has a statutory requirement to offer uninsured motorist protection to anyone purchasing a policy.

Many drivers invest in uninsured motorist protection and can then rely on their own policy for at least baseline coverage following a crash. Of course, using such coverage could affect what someone pays for insurance. Many drivers would prefer to hold the uninsured driver responsible for the crash through litigation rather than absorbing the expenses themselves.

Understanding who might be responsible for covering the expenses created in a recent wreck may help a crash victim to minimize their personal financial losses resulting from harm that they did not cause. Seeking legal guidance is generally helpful in this regard.