If you get injured in a crash with an expired registration, you may be concerned about how it will affect your legal options. What if you need to seek compensation from your own car insurance? Could an expired registration void your coverage?
These are questions you should discuss with a licensed Lafayette car crash lawyer. Insurance companies tend to mislead crash victims while your attorney will give you the straight answers you are looking for.
Galloway Jefcoat helps Louisiana crash victims seek full compensation for their damages. Our services come with no upfront costs – there are no legal fees unless we win.
Call to schedule your free legal consultation: (337) 984-8020.
Can I Still Seek Compensation With an Expired Registration in Louisiana?
You should still be able to file a claim with an expired registration. Your expired registration does not affect the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. It also did not cause the other driver’s negligent actions that led to the accident.
Car Accidents Are Not Caused by Expired Registrations
Most car accidents are caused by driver negligence. This could include things like:
- Driving over the speed limit
- Tailgating your vehicle
- Violating your right of way
- Distracted driving (texting, eating, grooming, playing with the stereo, etc.)
- Failure to use a turn signal before making a turn or changing lanes
- Driving while fatigued or drowsy
- Running through a stop sign
- Not stopping at a red light
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Driving with a broken taillight
- Driving without headlights on in the rain or at night
There are numerous other examples of reckless or negligent behavior that could have led to your accident.
You cannot be assigned fault for the crash because you forgot to renew your registration. It is fair to argue that not renewing your registration is negligent, but the other driver did not know your registration was expired.
The only way you could be assigned fault for the crash is if you were negligent and your negligence was the sole cause or one of the causes of the crash. If you were negligent, such as by speeding or failing to use a turn signal, your claim could be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Louisiana, unlike some other states, allows you to seek compensation even if you are 99 percent at fault. You could still seek compensation for the one percent of fault borne by another party.
However, car insurance companies like to claim victims are at fault when they are not at fault. They are looking to limit their liability for your damages. That is why you should not take the insurance company’s word for it about your role in the crash. You should discuss the situation with an experienced attorney.
Will I Still be Able to File a Claim With My Car Insurance Company?
Yes, you should still be able to file a claim with your own car insurance company. Insurance companies cannot cancel coverage in the middle of a term because of an expired registration.
According to page 11 of the Consumer’s Guide to Auto Insurance, car insurance companies cannot cancel coverage that has been in effect for more than 60 days. The only exceptions are if the policyholder:
- Did not pay the premium
- Filed a fraudulent claim
- The policyholder or a member of the policyholder’s household has a driver’s license or motor vehicle registration suspended
Typically, crash victims obtain compensation from the at-fault driver’s policy. However, you might need to file a claim with your own insurance company if the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured.
What if Your Vehicle Registration Has Been Suspended?
As explained above, Louisiana car insurance companies can cancel coverage if the policyholder’s registration gets suspended after the policy is in effect for more than 60 days.
If this rule does apply, and your insurance policy gets cancelled, Louisiana’s “No-Pay, No Play” law would go into effect. This means you would be barred from recovering the first $15,000 in medical expenses and the first $25,000 in property damage.
Since your insurance policy might be cancelled, you would not be able to seek first-party coverage from the policy.
What if the Other Driver’s Registration is Expired?
Sometimes the crash victim is not the one with the expired registration. Sometimes the at-fault driver is the one who let his or her registration expire.
As discussed above, an expired registration has no effect on liability for a crash. The driver may still have insurance unless the registration was suspended. That means you could still file a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance.
If the at-fault driver has no insurance, you can seek compensation from the uninsured motorist coverage in your own insurance policy.
Make sure to call the police after the crash, whether the driver has insurance or not. The police report serves as important documentation of the accident. You should also exchange information with the other driver, including contact information, driver’s license number and license plate number.
What are the Penalties for Driving With an Expired Tag in Louisiana?
If a vehicle’s registration is expired at the time of the crash, there will be a financial penalty. Under Louisiana law, the penalty is 25 percent of the annual cost of registration.
The police officer who comes to the scene is going to ask you and the other driver for your driver’s licenses, insurance information and vehicle registration. If you have an expired registration, the officer is going to give you a citation.
While your expired Louisiana vehicle registration probably will not affect your claim for compensation, you should still get it taken care of as soon as possible. You can renew your registration in person, online or through the mail. If you do not take care of it, you could face additional financial penalties in the future.
Call Galloway Jefcoat Today
Unsure about what to do after suffering a car crash injury?
Galloway Jefcoat is here to help. We have been assisting motor vehicle accident victims in Louisiana for decades, recovering millions of dollars in compensation for their medical bills and other damages.
There are many benefits to legal representation, especially when you consider that liable insurance companies often deny or underpay legitimate claims. At Galloway Jefcoat, there are no upfront fees or legal obligations. We do not get paid unless our clients get paid.
Contact us to learn more about our services: (337) 984-8020.