If you are like most drivers in North Carolina, you pay your insurance premium either monthly, every six months or once a year. Then, after paying, you likely forget about it until you receive a new billing statement. After all, insurance really only ever stays on your mind when you need to file a claim.

Unfortunately, while you may be a responsible driver who pays their policy, not everybody sharing the roads with you is as careful. In fact, you likely cross paths with multiple people who have lapsed insurance policies anytime you get on the road, as research shows that about 6.5% of drivers in North Carolina don’t have coverage at any given time.

What happens if you get into a crash caused by a driver who does not have liability insurance?

Typically, the driver at fault is the one whose insurance pays

Like most states, North Carolina has a liability-based motor vehicle insurance system. The insurance policy you pay for primarily protects you against financial liability if you cause property damage or injuries to other people.

When someone causes a crash that hurts you, injures one of your passengers or damages your vehicle, their insurance is the one that will compensate you for those losses. When the other driver does not have a policy, that could mean that you are in a difficult position.

Some drivers have protection against uninsured drivers or underinsured drivers. Reviewing your insurance policy to make sure that you have this kind of protection, which costs very little compared to the amount of protection it extends, is a good idea. However, such a review won’t do much good if you have already gotten hurt by someone without insurance.

A lawsuit may be your best option after an uninsured driver crashes into you

If neither you nor the other driver has the kind of insurance in place that will protect you after a crash for which you are not at fault, you may need to think about taking legal action against the other driver. Under North Carolina law, people can seek court-awarded compensation for lost wages, physical injuries and property damages suffered in a crash caused by another driver. Asserting that right may be the only way to get the compensation you need after a crash.