In the State of Texas, anyone who operates a motor vehicle must have a license. This law ensures that individuals know how to operate a vehicle and follow the laws set in place to help keep everyone safe on the road.
According to a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drivers who operated a vehicle without a valid driver’s license were responsible for 20% of all automobile accidents in the United States. This means, on average, that a car accident involving an unlicensed driver causes about 8,400 deaths in the U.S. per year.
These astounding statistics paint the dark reality of how common an accident with an unlicensed driver is. In these situations, an accident, which is already complex, can feel even more daunting, as the injured victims struggle to figure out how to best seek compensation. Thankfully, the team at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. has created this guide to help the individuals of Amarillo, Texas and the surrounding communities handle being in an accident with an unlicensed driver. Here is what you need to know:
Why Would Someone Drive Without a License?
Automobiles offer freedom, allowing drivers to take to the road as they want. However, there are groups of individuals who may not have access to a license yet or may have had their licenses revoked due to age or previous tickets. These are the most common groups of people who choose to drive without a proper license:
- Teenagers who have not earned their official driver’s license yet or are below the minimum age to apply for their driver’s license.
- Seniors who have had their licenses revoked, either due to their age or because of age-related conditions such as visual or cognitive impairment.
- Foreign citizens or visitors who do not have a proper driver’s license.
- Individuals who have had their licenses revoked due to a medical condition, such as frequent seizures.
- Individuals who have had their licenses revoked due to careless or reckless driving, such as a DUI conviction.
Is Someone Who Does Not Have a Driver’s License Still Liable for an Accident They Caused?
Yes. According to Texas State Law, the status of one’s driver’s license does not affect the determination of fault when they are involved in an accident. Negligence is the determining factor in an individual’s liability for an accident. This means that an unlicensed driver will be handled in the same manner as any other driver involved in an accident.
Therefore, if the unlicensed driver is found to be at fault for the accident, they will be required to cover the cost of personal injuries to the victim and any passengers in the car as well as physical damages to property. On top of that, the unlicensed driver will most likely face a fee for choosing to drive without a license.
Does Unlicensed Driver Necessarily Mean That They Have No Insurance?
No. Thankfully, car insurance follows the car, not the driver. Therefore, even an unlicensed driver could be driving an insured car. For example, if a teenager without a license takes their parents’ car out and gets into an accident, a claim can still be made against the car’s insurance.
What Happens in Cases of An Accident With an Unlicensed Driver and an Uninsured Car?
In this case, the prospect of getting correct compensation is low. Let’s say someone without a license drives an uninsured car. If they get into an accident, they likely don’t have the money to cover all of the associated damages. This can make it difficult for the victim to get the compensation they deserve.
In these cases, the team at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. highly recommends that you look to your insurance company to help cover damages through your uninsured or underinsured motor vehicle coverage.
What Steps Should I Take After an Accident With an Unlicensed Driver?
Car accidents are terrifying events and can leave both drivers and passengers completely shaken. It is important to remember not to panic after an accident, as doing so can exacerbate any potential injuries and potentially hurt your claim. Here are the steps you should take immediately after an accident:
- Call the police: This way, a police officer can take an official report of the accident and note the fact that the other driver was unlicensed.
- Collect contact details: Make sure you exchange insurance information with the driver, as well as contact information with both the driver and witnesses. If the driver is unlicensed but the car is insured, make sure you have those insurance record details.
- Take pictures of the accident: You will need to take photos of the scene of the accident, including damages to the cars and pictures of your injuries.
- Contact a car accident attorney: A highly-qualified car accident injury attorney can help you claim the compensation you deserve after your accident, regardless of whether the other driver was licensed or not.
Have You Been In An Accident With an Unlicensed Driver?
A car accident attorney does so much more than just represent your case. Our team will help determine the liable party and the best course of action to get you compensation. We handle the insurance companies for you so that you can focus on your recovery. We do not let insurance companies manipulate you into taking anything less than you deserve.
If you have been in an accident with an unlicensed driver, you need to contact the car accident attorneys at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. Our team is led by Juan Hernandez, one of the small percent of Texas lawyers who is Texas Board Certified in personal injury law. You can trust that he has the experience and the knowledge needed to make sure your case is a success.