It’s everyone’s worst nightmare after a car accident; You’ve been hurt, but you’ve also found out that the other driver wasn’t insured. Not only is driving uninsured illegal, but it leaves you with few options for seeking compensation for yourself and your family.

If you’ve found that the driver at fault in your crash doesn’t have insurance, it’s likely that you’ll need to go to court to seek a settlement against the driver. At that point, realize that it doesn’t matter how much you win; there is no insurance company to foot the bill. This means that the driver can only pay you as much as he or she has; it’s impossible to give you money one doesn’t have. The individual could face a lien or court ordered withdrawal on paychecks, but it’s never going to come as a lump-sum payout.

There has been a growing problem of people driving without insurance throughout the United States in recent years. Some of this is due in part to the influx of illegal immigrants. Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and other states have passed laws that allow illegal immigrants to drive in the states legally, but that doesn’t mean they’ll obtain the insurance required; it could be difficult without a Social Security Number in some cases.

Drivers who want to protect themselves need to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, which can help them by making sure their own insurance will cover their bills in the case of an accident. While drivers who go without insurance could face jail or massive penalty fines, that money doesn’t necessarily go to the victim.

Source: Claims Journal, “Squeezing Blood From the Uninsured Turnip” Gary Wickert, accessed Mar. 03, 2015