I hear about people who have no auto insurance or health coverage(tho why a state allows no auto ins I do not understand) and want to know how to sue for compensation especially if they were not deemed in the wrong. I can agree with just compensation for not being in the wrong nor contributing to the accident in any way but I cannot understand "rewarding" people with more money who were not in the wrong but chose to carry no auto insurance. Can this happen? If yes, why.
The law allows an injured person to recover their damages. If they have no PIP coverage they are deemed self insured for the foirst $10,000 since PIP is a mandatory coverage. Health insurance is not mandatory and the health carrier typically has a right to be repaid the amount they pay for the accident related treatment. The law does not allow a windfall, however, to the extent one might occur it will generally inure to the benefit of teh injured person who had the foresight to obtain insurance rather than to the at fault party.
Yes, they can sue. They are entitled to compensation for the injuries and damages caused by the negligence of another, but as Mr. Van Keuren correctly points out must account for failing to carry mandatory PIP insurance. Ultimately, such uninsured injury victims are not entitled to "more" -- just what they can prove which depends on the facts and circumstances that are peculiar to each case.
States don't allow no insurance. The law requires insurance, people break the law. Having insurance of any type has nothing to do with who is at fault in an accident. Surely you wouldn't suggest because someone's insurance lapsed you would keep them from recovering for damages is some drunk driver negligently plowed into their car causing injuries?
The issue of whether someone had insurance (either auto or health) is a different issue than the issue of whether someone who was not at fault for the craqsh was injured. If the other person in the crash was injured and not at fault, he or she is entitled to compensation under the law for the injuries and damages he or she suffered as a result of the crash. In most states, the issue of whether he or she had any type of insurance would not be taken into consideration in determining the damages in the case. In essence, the fact that the other driver, who was not at fault, did not have insurance, did not cause or contribute to the crash. Therefore, it is not considered.
THE COLLATERAL SOURCE RULE
The United States has a tradition of favoring private insurance for compensation. One strategy to encourage the purchase of private insurance is to allow plaintiffs to recover from defendants irrespective of their own insurance coverage. This is called the collateral source rule. The rationale for this rule is that the defendant should not benefit from the plaintiff's foresight in paying insurance premiums. This allows insured plaintiffs to get a double recovery, to the extent that their medical bills and lost wage claims have already been paid by their insurance carrier. The traditional collateral source rule also prevented the defendant from informing the jury that the plaintiff had already been compensated by private insurance.
If the insurance company wishes to be reimbursed, this may be made part of the insurance contract. This is called a subrogation agreement. Worker's compensation insurance usually contains a subrogation provision, and many group health insurance policies are adding subrogation clauses, which require plaintiffs to repay their own insurance company. A subrogation agreement reduces the value of a plaintiff's case, often dramatically. If the insurer insists on full reimbursement, the plaintiff will not be able to find representation. Although the subrogation agreement allows the insurance company to litigate the claim on behalf of the plaintiff, there is no incentive for plaintiffs to cooperate if they will not receive the award. Some insurers agree to a discounted reimbursement to make it attractive for the plaintiff to sue for compensation. Others refuse to compromise their claims, forcing the plaintiff to omit medical costs from the lawsuit.
Some states have moved to modify or abolish the collateral source rule. They may allow the judge to reduce the plaintiff's award by the amount of already paid expenses, allow the defense to tell the jury that the plaintiff has been compensated, or prevent the plaintiff from claiming for reimbursed injuries. It is not clear how these rules affect claims for future medical expenses since their payment is contingent on the plaintiff's maintaining his or her insurance.
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