Whether you drive daily to work and back home again or you work from home and only need to drive to go to the grocery store, each time you are out on the roads, you are at risk of a crash. Every day, some drivers in South Dakota fail to reach their destinations because mechanical issues with a vehicle or non-compliance with traffic laws result in a motor vehicle collision.
When two or more vehicles crash, people often end up hurt and coping with thousands of dollars of property damage losses. You have likely paid thousands of dollars for car insurance in the years since you first got your license. You naturally expect that insurance will take care of you after a crash.
However, the liability insurance system in South Dakota leaves you dependent on the coverage carried by the person to blame for the wreck. Could you end up hurt by someone who doesn’t have insurance?
A small portion of South Dakota drivers are uninsured
State law requires insurance on all registered vehicles. In theory, every driver should have a policy that pays at least some of the property damage and injury-related costs after a crash they cause. However, some drivers will cancel their coverage to secure a refund or stop payment obligations. Others miss payments because of mismanagement of their budget or sudden financial hardship, like the loss of a job.
There are only 7.4% of drivers on the road without insurance in South Dakota. That’s the tenth-lowest rate in the country, at least based on coverage data from 2019. If one of these drivers causes a crash, you have limited options for paying your crash bills.
Your rights when hurt by an uninsured driver
The primary function of car insurance is to protect a driver from liability when they cause a wreck. Someone without insurance will have financial responsibility for the damages they caused you. You can potentially take them to civil court.
South Dakota law allows for personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits when someone causes a crash due to either negligence or willful misconduct, such as violating traffic laws by exceeding the speed limit or driving while drunk. You could potentially secure reimbursement for medical expenses, lost income and the cost to repair your vehicle.
Your insurance policy will have some uninsured motorist coverage, as required by state law, that can contribute to paying the wreck-related expenses. When you understand that uninsured drivers are a minor but consistent concern on South Dakota roads, you could make better decisions about what kind of coverage you carry and how you respond following a crash.
Proactively protecting yourself will mean that you won’t have to absorb the costs created by a car crash caused by another driver.