What Are My Legal Options if I Was Hit by an Unlicensed Driver?

man getting pulled over by a police officerTo get behind the wheel of a vehicle, you must have a valid driver’s license. Unfortunately, California has a problem with unlicensed drivers. It is estimated that anywhere between one and two million people in the state operate a vehicle without a license.

You never know when you might get into a crash with an unlicensed driver. If this happens, recovering compensation may be much more challenging.

Call our Sacramento-area auto accident lawyers today to discuss your legal options. You may still be able to recover compensation for your injuries and other damages. The consultation is free, and there is no obligation to take legal action.

We do not get paid unless you do. Call today: 916-777-7777.

Is the Driver Truly Unlicensed?

In California, it is illegal to drive without your license on your person. If you are caught doing so, you may face fines or potential jail time. It is important to note that driving without your license on you does not mean you are unlicensed.

Therefore, before assuming a driver is unlicensed because he or she was cited for not carrying a driver’s license, be sure to find out if the person has a valid driver’s license. You can ask the at-fault driver about this when exchanging contact information. If the driver is licensed but does not have it on him or her at the time of the crash, it is likely he or she will not want you to file a claim. He or she might even offer cash at the scene.

Are All Unlicensed Drivers Also Uninsured?

Not every unlicensed driver is uninsured, but most are. It is rare to find a driver who has insurance but no driver’s license. Some of those rare scenarios may include the following:

  • The person’s driver’s license was suspended, but his or her insurance company has not canceled the policy yet
  • The unlicensed driver owns the vehicle and has an insurance policy on said vehicle
  • The unlicensed driver is borrowing a vehicle from a friend or relative who has an insurance policy

These scenarios could make it difficult to file an insurance claim, though, as the insurance policies may have fine print to allow them to deny coverage if an unlicensed driver causes an accident. It is best to review the available insurance policy with an experienced attorney to determine your legal options.

What Are My Legal Options if the Unlicensed Driver is Also Uninsured?

If you are hit by an unlicensed driver, the most likely scenario is that he or she does not have any insurance. This is either because his or her policy was canceled due to a suspended license or because insurance companies normally exclude unlicensed drivers from a policy.

In any case, it is important to know what legal options may be available to you after a crash with an unlicensed driver.

File a Claim With Your Own Uninsured Motorist Coverage

California law states that all insurance companies must offer Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage (UIM) to drivers. However, when choosing your policy, you have the option to reject this coverage. It must be rejected in writing, though.

If you have UIM coverage in your insurance policy, you should be able to file a claim with your own insurance company. This could help cover the costs of things like medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Seek Compensation From the Owner of the Vehicle

You may be able to file a third-party claim with the liability insurance of the owner of a vehicle. If the owner knowingly lets an unlicensed person drive his or her vehicle, he or she may be liable for your damages if the unlicensed driver causes a crash.

The vehicle owner may also be liable even if he or she did not know the unlicensed driver was borrowing the car. In this type of case, you would need to prove the vehicle owner failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent the unlicensed driver from taking the vehicle.

If an unlicensed teenager takes his or her parent’s car out for a ride and causes a collision, the parents might be liable if the parents did not take reasonable action to prevent it. The parents could be held vicariously liable for the child’s actions.

Call an Attorney Today to Discuss Your Crash

If you were injured in a crash caused by another person’s negligence, it is important to know your legal options no matter the facts of your case. Our attorneys can discuss your rights during a free consultation to determine how we may be able to help you.

For decades the attorneys at the Arnold Law Firm have been helping accident victims recover maximum compensation for their damages. We are prepared to do the same for you.

Call 916-777-7777 to schedule a free consultation today.