What Happens When an Unlicensed Driver Causes a Car Accident?

In the US, drivers must pass a series of tests to legally drive on public roads. While most drivers adhere to these laws, a small percentage of US drivers get behind the wheel without a license. When an unlicensed driver causes your car accident, there are ways to recover financially from your losses.

If you need guidance after being hit by an unlicensed driver, a car accident lawyer can help you understand the legal options available to you.

Your Car Insurance Can Still Compensate You

car accident caused by an unlicensed driver

Since drivers must have a valid license to obtain insurance, you may be unable to file a claim with the unlicensed driver’s carrier. You can, however, file a claim with your insurance under your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. While this coverage is not required by all states, it is included in many standard policies. You could also seek compensation under a standard liability policy, depending on the terms of your car insurance coverage.

Your insurance company may balk at paying for all the costs associated with your accident, so you may wish to work with a car accident attorney familiar with unlicensed driver claims in your area.

You Could Sue Them for Negligence

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, you could pursue additional compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Your success could depend largely on whether the at-fault party has an insurance policy or sufficient assets to settle such a case.

To ensure the best chance for fair financial recovery, your attorney may sue multiple parties. For instance, if you were hit by a delivery driver without an appropriate driver’s license, you may be able to sue the company that hired the driver. Employers have a duty to vet their employees and ensure appropriate licensing and training. If they failed to verify the driver’s license and credentials, the company could be held liable in case of an accident. Such claims can be complex, so it is best to work with a Las Vegas car accident lawyer familiar with federal, local, and state licensing laws.

Who Drives Without a Driver’s License?

Many people make the dangerous decision to drive without appropriate licenses every day. People might drive unlicensed if their license was revoked or they didn’t fulfill the necessary licensing requirements. Below are some of the most common situations where one might drive without a license:

Teenagers or Immigrants Who Do Not Have a Valid License Yet

Sometimes teenagers and immigrants who have not yet taken or passed their driver’s exams will choose to drive anyway. Unfortunately, drivers who have not been properly licensed may not be aware of all the laws and regulations related to driving. They are less likely to have the knowledge and experience necessary to assess potential hazards and make good driving decisions.

Elderly Individuals Who Failed Their License Renewal Testing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that drivers over age 70 are more likely to be killed in car crashes than people under age 55. Aging can affect a driver’s vision, hearing, judgment, reaction time, and reflexes in ways that make them less safe. Certain medications can also affect an individual’s ability to drive safely. An elderly person used to the independence of driving their own car may keep driving, placing themselves and others in danger.

Medically Impaired People Who Cannot Legally Drive

Certain individuals are unable to obtain a driver’s license due to a disease or condition that affects their ability to function safely in the driver’s seat. Conditions that could prevent someone from obtaining a license include:

  • Seizures
  • Epilepsy
  • Narcolepsy
  • Dementia
  • Arthritis
  • Impaired vision or blindness
  • Hearing loss
  • Diabetes

While guidelines differ by state, most licensing authorities will not allow someone to obtain a driver’s license if they have a condition that can affect their awareness, consciousness, situational awareness, or ability to identify traffic signals, signs, and markings. When drivers with these conditions choose to drive, they risk accidents and injuries.

License Suspension or Revocation for Criminal Activity

Driving in the US is considered a privilege, not a right. As such, drivers who repeatedly commit dangerous or illegal acts may have their license suspended or revoked entirely due to:

  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction
  • Repeated traffic violations
  • Losing too many points for violations like speeding
  • One or more convictions for criminal activity
  • Failure to maintain auto insurance
  • Failing to pay traffic tickets
  • Failing to attend court for traffic violations

When an individual chooses to drive without a license, whether their license was revoked or they are simply waiting to take a driver’s test, they are taking a grave risk. If you are injured by an unlicensed driver, you deserve compensation for your losses.

Consequences of Driving Without a License

car accident caused by unlicensed driver

When an unlicensed driver causes a car accident, they can be held liable for the injuries they cause. Further, they can be held criminally liable under local and state laws. Consequences for driving without a license include fines, permanent license revocation, and incarceration. If someone was severely injured or killed, the unlicensed driver could also face serious criminal charges.

A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You Pursue Justice

If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a car accident caused by an unlicensed driver, you deserve compensation for your losses. The dedicated personal injury attorneys in Las Vegas at De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers can listen to your story in a free, no-obligation case evaluation, provide solid legal advice, and help you determine your next steps. If we decide to take your case, our team can handle every aspect of your case while you rest and recover. Reach out to our car accident attorneys today to schedule your free consultation.