Yes, you can make a claim against the insurance company for damages. However, it does depend on your driving history and if you have any recent convictions for driving without insurance.
INDIANA CAR CRASH FACTS
In 2016, the Indiana University Public Policy Institute published a Driving Safety Fact Book which showed that in 2016, there were 821 fatalities involving Indiana Car Accidents. Additionally, another 52,591 people were injured or hurt in a serious car wreck in the State of Indiana. Many of these people suffered life altering injuries.
Indiana’s No Pay No Play Law
In 2015, the Indiana Legislature passed Indiana Code Section 27-7-5.1 which limits an uninsured’ s driver ability to recover damages under certain circumstances.
IC 27-7-5.1-5 Prohibition on payment of noneconomic damages
Sec. 5. An insurer may not pay noneconomic damages on a claim for coverage under a motor vehicle insurance policy issued by the insurer if the claim is for coverage for a loss incurred by an uninsured motorist with a previous violation.
The Statute goes to define noneconomic damages as: (1) physical and emotional pain and suffering; (2) physical impairment; (3) emotional distress; (4) mental anguish; (5) loss of enjoyment; (6) loss of companionship, services and consortium; & (7) any other nonpecuniary loss proximately caused by a motor vehicle accident. I.C. 27-7-5.1-3.
The Legislature goes on to define a “previous violation” as:
IC 27-7-5.1-4 “Uninsured motorist with a previous violation”
Sec. 4. As used in this chapter, “uninsured motorist with a previous violation” means an individual who:
(1) owns a motor vehicle:
(A) that is involved in an accident; and
(B) for which financial responsibility is not in effect as Indiana Code 2015 required by IC 9-25-4; and
(2) during the immediately preceding five (5) years, has been required to provide proof of future financial responsibility for any period under IC 9-25-8-6(b); regardless of whether the individual is operating the motor vehicle at the time of the accident.
What does this all mean?
Some people think that if you have been pulled over for driving without insurance in the last five years then this law applies to you but that is not always the case. In fact, this law is only triggered if an individual has had to provide proof of financial responsibility (a.k.a. proof of insurance) within five (5) years of the date of the car accident. Generally, you have to do that if you have been pulled over without insurance.
If you were pulled over and cited for driving without insurance 5 ½ years before the car wreck but don’t provide proof of financial responsibility to the BMV until 4 years and 9 months before the crash, this law may apply to you. That is, of course, if you do not have insurance at the time of the car crash!
On the Other Hand, if you provided proof of insurance 5 years and one month before the car wreck then the law may not apply to you and you should be able to recover “non-economic damages” as a result of the car accident.
What are “Non-Economic Damages”?
Non-economic damages are like the Boogeyman to the Insurance Industry when it comes to evaluating Car Accident cases. The reason for this is because the software and computers that they use to evaluate a claim struggle to calculate or compute those “non-economic” factors because these are HUMAN FACTORS as part of our Human Experience and Machines particularly those designed for the Insurance Industry will always struggle to compute those.
If the Insurance Companies can limit or remove those damages like pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life then their calculations are made much easier. In addition, it is the “non-economic damages” that can really drive the value of a claim particularly in a car crash case involving serious and permanent injuries.
In short driving without insurance is always a bad idea. Not just because it is against the law but also because if you get into a terrible car crash that is caused by another negligent driver, your recovery might be severely limited. It will also affect your ability to get and maintain a valid driver’s license.