What if I Was Hit By an Undocumented Driver in California?

woman in distress over a car crashUnlicensed, uninsured and undocumented drivers cause their fair share of car accidents in California. While you may have heard about legal options for crashes with unlicensed or uninsured drivers, victims of car accidents caused by an undocumented driver may also have some legal options.

Below, we discuss the law that allows undocumented drivers to obtain a driver’s license and insurance in case a crash occurs.

If you have questions about your legal rights after a crash, call our Sacramento-area auto collision lawyers today. We offer a free and confidential consultation to discuss the facts of your claim. We also do not charge you any upfront fees.

Can Undocumented Immigrants Get a Valid Driver’s License in California?

Yes, in California undocumented immigrants can legally obtain a driver’s license. Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 60 (AB 60) into law in 2013.

AB 60 required the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to begin issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants by January 2015.

Every AB 60 driver’s license applicant must:

  • Prove his or her identity
  • Prove residency in the state of California
  • Meet all other licensing requirements, including passing a driving test

An AB 60 driver’s license cannot be used as a federal ID. Therefore, the license is only valid within the state of California.

It must also be easily distinguishable from a regular driver’s license. For example, the exclusion of a gold star on the top right of a regular driver’s license that follows the Real ID Act of 2005. However, these driver’s licenses also have the label of “Federal Limits Apply” written on the top right corner and “not valid for official federal purposes” on the back.

Other than these two distinguishing features, the AB 60 driver’s license looks just like a regular California driver’s license.

Can People Who Have an AB 60 Driver’s License Obtain Insurance?

Drivers who legally obtain an AB 60 driver’s license may also obtain insurance. In fact, before taking a behind-the-wheel driving test, the person must show proof of motor vehicle insurance for the car he or she is driving.

Drivers with an AB 60 license must still meet all the liability insurance requirements under California law. That includes having a minimum of:

  • $15,000 for injury/death to one person
  • $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person
  • $5,000 for damage to property

What if the Undocumented Immigrant is Unlicensed and Uninsured?

Despite the ability for undocumented immigrants to obtain a valid California driver’s license, there are still those who choose to remain unlicensed, uninsured or both.

If you are injured in an accident caused by an undocumented immigrant who is neither licensed nor insured, you may still have legal options for recovering compensation. If you have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage (UIM), you may be able to file a first-party claim. UIM is an optional insurance add-on, so be sure to review your policy with a knowledgeable attorney.

Can Undocumented Immigrants Recover Compensation as Victims of an Accident?

Accident victims who are undocumented also have the right to pursue a personal injury or wrongful death claim against a negligent party.

This means that if you are an undocumented immigrant injured in a crash caused by a negligent driver, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages. This includes compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Have More Questions? Call Us Today

Because undocumented immigrants can now obtain a valid driver’s license and insurance, there are more legal avenues for recovering compensation if an undocumented immigrant causes an accident.

On the other hand, if the victim of an accident is undocumented, he or she is afforded the same rights as a resident or U.S. citizen to pursue compensation for his or her damages.

These cases can get complicated, as there is a lot to understand about these laws. Let our knowledgeable attorneys help.

We do not charge any upfront fees. Call 916-777-7777 to learn more.