Unlicensed Driver Crash Injuries: Navigating Legal Solutions
If you were injured in an unlicensed driver crash, then you may be confused about whether you have an actionable legal claim — and even if you do, how to go about securing compensation given the additional complexity. There are many considerations to keep in mind if you move forward with a claim in an unlicensed driver crash. Let’s explore.
Suing for damages without a license: understanding your rights
Imagine you don’t have a license, but you got into an accident. Can you still sue for damages?
If you don’t have a license, you may still be able to sue for damages, depending on the state and how at-fault you are for the accident. In most situations, the defendant will argue that you contributed significantly to the accident yourself, as you were unlicensed and therefore lacked the knowledge, training, and experience.
That being said, most states allow you to sue for damages even if the court finds that you are at-fault, but your compensation will reduce by a percentage. A few states will prevent you from recovering compensation entirely.
Legal Implications of being injured by an unlicensed driver
Let’s suppose the defendant doesn’t have a license, and they caused an accident in which you sustained injuries. How does that affect your case?
In an unlicensed driver crash, the legal strategy is going to shift due to various issues linked to the lack of a license. Some are helpful to you, some make the dispute a little bit more complex. Let’s take a look.
Liability is easier to prove
In a standard car accident dispute where you are trying to prove that the defendant-driver’s negligence caused your injuries, you will have to show that the defendant violated the applicable “standard of care.” In other words, there are certain standards we expect from drivers in similar circumstances — by violating these safety norms, the driver may be found negligent and therefore liable (if they caused you injuries as a result).
If the driver is unlicensed, their negligence is easier to prove, as you may be able to show that they didn’t have the knowledge, training, or experience necessary to safely operate the vehicle on the roadway — and this caused you to sustain injuries.
Lack of insurance coverage
Unlicensed drivers are also likely to be uninsured, as insurers do not insure drivers who have no license. Even if the license is expired (and they had insurance otherwise), their insurer would decline to handle their case, as the unlicensed driver would have violated some requirement of the insurance contract — thus removing them from coverage. Suing an uninsured driver presents a number of additional challenges.
Suing other defendants
One effective strategy if you’re dealing with an unlicensed, uninsured driver is to find other insured defendants that you can sue. Car accidents are not always “single defendant” disputes. They can be rather complex when further investigated.
For example, a simple rear-end collision may have occurred (in part) because the road was poorly designed and there was terrible visibility at night. Under these circumstances, you could ostensibly sue the City for the dangerous condition of the road (which contributed to the accident).
What happens if you’re at fault in a car accident?
If you’re at-fault in a car accident, then you may still be able to recover damages as compensation — depending on the circumstances of your case. Texas, for example, incorporates the doctrine of “modified comparative fault.” What this means is that, as the injured plaintiff, you are entitled to sue and recover damages so long as you are not more than 50 percent at-fault for the accident.
Consider the following example.
Suppose that you are injured in a car accident in Texas. You sustain injuries with damages totaling $100,000. The court finds that you are 40 percent at-fault, however. Under these circumstances, you would be entitled to recover the remaining 60 percent (i.e., $60,000) in a lawsuit against the defendant. Your partial fault would not prevent you from recovery, it would just reduce your recoverable compensation by a percentage.
What happens if an uninsured driver hits you?
If an uninsured driver hits you, then you may have a few different options. In California, for example, you can sue the defendant, though it will likely be difficult to collect the damages you’re owed if they don’t have insurance coverage. You can submit a claim with your own insurance — this is potentially the simplest and easiest way to obtain compensation. And finally, you can look into suing other defendants who may have been partially responsible for your injuries. For example, if the defendant’s brakes stopped working, then you could potentially sue the auto manufacturer directly — and their coverage is likely to be significant, enough to cover any losses you may have sustained.
Attorneys can Help Navigate Complex Disputes
Disputes can be complex, and even when they aren’t, having an attorney by your side can help you establish liability and maximize your damages. That being said, the general public may not realize just how many “hats” an attorney wears. Representation is multi-faceted, and an attorney has several different responsibilities. These include:
- Identifying, gathering, and preserving evidence
- Handling eyewitness and expert witness testimony
- Submitting an initial legal demand
- Navigating the settlement negotiation process
- Ensuring that all procedural requirements are met
- Developing and executing a cohesive legal strategy
- Communicating to third parties (insurers, defendants, etc.) on behalf of the client
- Strategically managing various legal hearings so as to maximize results for the client
- Pushing the case to trial, if necessary
- Securing compensation after it has been awarded
- And more
Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a Free Legal Consultation
If you’ve been injured in an unlicensed driver crash, then you may be feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of litigation. Moving through the legal dispute process doesn’t have to be frustrating or confusing, however. With a qualified attorney by your side, you’ll have the assistance you need to navigate this process and potentially secure compensation to cover your injuries and other losses.
Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 to get connected to one of the experienced car accident attorneys in our network in just 10 minutes or less. They’ll be able to offer you a free consultation, during which you can discuss your case and receive guidance on next steps. There’s no obligation to continue if you decide against it, so there’s really no downside to picking up the phone and calling in to get started.
We look forward to assisting you.