What if Your Car Registration was Expired at the Time of the Crash?

Posted in Car Accidents Feb 8, 2021

traffic citation

Even though it is against the law to drive your car while the registration is expired, it is unlikely this will affect your ability to seek compensation after an accident.

Below, the Maryland car accident attorneys from Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices discuss why an expired tag is usually irrelevant to a claim. In Maryland, if another driver is 100 percent at fault for a crash, the victim has the right to seek compensation from the other driver’s car insurance policy.

The experienced lawyers at Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices have recovered millions on behalf of our clients, many of whom were car crash victims. Unlike the insurance company, our firm is committed to pursuing maximum compensation on behalf of our clients.

Contact us today to discuss your claim: 410-401-9979.

Are You Allowed to Seek Compensation With an Expired Registration?

Yes, you should be able to seek compensation for damages from the crash, even though your registration has expired. An expired registration usually does not affect car insurance coverage or cause the policy to be voided. That said, it is important to renew your registration as soon as you can.

The key thing to remember is the accident did not happen because of your expired tag. The crash occurred because of the other driver’s negligence.

It is negligent to drive with an expired registration, but the insurance company cannot assign fault to you because of your failure to renew your registration. They can only assign fault to you for something you did that caused the crash to happen, such as:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Following too closely/tailgating
  • Violating another driver’s right of way
  • Running a red light
  • Drowsy driving
  • Driving with a busted taillight
  • Failing to use your turn signal before turning
  • And more

Can You Still Seek Compensation From Your Own Insurance Policy?

Even if you have an expired registration, you may be able to seek compensation from your own insurance policy. Typically, insurance companies cannot cancel coverage because your registration expired in the middle of the term of an insurance policy. If you do not update your registration, though, you will not be able to renew your insurance policy when the current policy term expires.

Although Maryland crash victims usually obtain compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, they may also seek compensation from the first-party coverage in their own insurance policy, such as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, collision coverage and medical payment coverage. Remember that these are optional add-ons to an insurance policy, so it is important to review your coverage options with a knowledgeable attorney.

When Could an Insurance Policy be Cancelled in the Middle of the Term?

Usually, insurance policies are cancelled in the middle of a term because:

  • The policyholder lied on the application, which could be called insurance fraud.
  • The policyholder failed to pay the premium after being warned by the insurance company that the policy would be cancelled for non-payment.
  • You have an expired driver’s license, or it gets taken away for some reason.

What are the Penalties for Driving with an Expired Tag?

Even though you should be able to seek compensation for the damages you suffered in the crash, there are other consequences for driving with an expired vehicle registration.

When the police arrive at the scene, they will request your driver’s license and registration. If your registration is expired, the officer will issue a citation.

You could be fined several hundred dollars if the police cite you for driving with an expired tag. You may also have restrictions placed on your license. Drivers will also be charged with a criminal misdemeanor.

That is why you should always make sure to renew your vehicle registration and put the new sticker on your license plate.

While a traffic citation for an expired tag should not affect your claim, other types of traffic citations might.

Can the Insurance Company Use My Expired Tag Against Me?

If an expired tag does not have any bearing on a car crash claim, why would the insurance company attempt to use it against you?

No matter what state you are in, insurance companies have an incentive to try to assign partial fault for a crash to the victim. This may allow them to deny or devalue a claim.

This incentive is very strong in Maryland, because you are prohibited from recovering any compensation if you are found to be even one percent at fault for a crash. Maryland is one of a handful of states with such a harsh law.

If you think you are partially to blame for a crash, you should only discuss this with your attorney. The insurance company will try to use this against you. However, you can trust that your attorney will explain whether you still have a case.

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