What Happens If I’m in a Car Accident with an Unlicensed Driver?

Woman driver reporting car accident to police.

Even a fairly minor car accident can turn a day from good to bad in a split second. But the situation could become even worse if you discover that the other driver doesn’t have a valid driver’s license.

If you were injured in a car crash with an unlicensed driver, you might wonder what options you have to recover financial compensation. Don’t lose hope. An experienced Fort Wayne car accident attorney with Truitt Law Offices can help.

Since 1991, Truitt Law Offices has defended the rights and interests of injured victims in Fort Wayne and surrounding areas of Indiana. Our decades of combined legal experience helps us handle even the most complex injury cases. We want to see our clients make a full recovery. That’s why we work hard to build a strong relationship with each of our clients and ensure they have a positive experience.

After you’ve been in a car accident with an unlicensed driver, act quickly to protect your legal right to demand accountability from the at-fault driver. Contact Truitt Law Offices for a free case review. We want to help you seek financial compensation for the injuries and losses that you’ve suffered.

Unlicensed Drivers and Liability

Whether or not a driver has a license to operate a vehicle doesn’t determine fault for a car crash. Violations of other traffic laws like speeding or running a stop sign could be considered negligence, but driving without a valid license usually is not the cause of a crash.

If you’re in a crash with a vehicle operated by an unlicensed driver, you could be found at fault for the crash even though the other driver lacked a license. But, if the unlicensed driver was to blame for the crash, you could be eligible to seek compensation, just like any other collision caused by negligence.

Unfortunately, depending on the situation, the driver’s lack of a license might affect your ability to actually secure compensation for your injuries. For example, if the driver does not have a license, they might also not have an auto insurance policy to provide compensation if they cause a crash.

How to Protect Yourself During an Accident with an Unlicensed Driver

When you discover that the other driver does not have a valid license, you can take steps to help protect your rights. Following the right steps could improve your claim for recovering compensation for any injuries.

After a crash with an unlicensed driver:

  • Contact law enforcement. You and your attorney will want a copy of a police crash report, which should note that the other driver did not have a valid license.
  • Note the vehicle make, model, and registration number of the unlicensed driver’s car.
  • Take photos of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, debris and marks in the road, road lines, traffic controls, and any visible injuries you suffered.
  • Notify your insurer about the accident as soon as possible to protect your eligibility to file an uninsured motorist claim if necessary.
  • Seek medical attention to identify all the injuries you suffered in the crash and get proper care.
  • Talk to a car accident attorney to learn more about your options for pursuing compensation for your injuries.

Finding Insurance Coverage in a Crash with an Unlicensed Driver

If an unlicensed motorist was operating their own vehicle, they might also fail to have the required liability insurance coverage required by law in Indiana. Insurance companies only issue policies to drivers with valid licenses. Even if the driver had a valid license and insurance policy, the insurance company might terminate its policy or allow the policy to lapse if the driver’s license expires or is suspended.

If the unlicensed driver’s insurance policy is still in effect at the time of the accident, you might be able to file a claim. However, this claim might be complex because the other driver’s insurance company may try to deny or disclaim coverage because the unlicensed driver breached the policy by not having a valid driver’s license.

If an unlicensed driver operates a vehicle without the owner’s permission, they are effectively driving a stolen vehicle. The insurance company that issued a policy for that vehicle likely will not provide coverage for an accident that involves the stolen car. But if an unlicensed driver gets behind the wheel with the owner’s permission, then the owner’s insurance company might be forced to provide coverage for an accident caused by the unlicensed driver.

Sometimes, unlicensed drivers operate a vehicle for work purposes. When this happens, the driver’s employer might be liable for the driver’s negligence. Your attorney might also seek compensation for the employer’s own negligence in directing or allowing an employee to drive without a license.

If the unlicensed at-fault driver has no insurance coverage, there could be other options. You might be eligible to turn to your own insurance policy for compensation for your injuries if you have purchased uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. When an at-fault driver does not have liability insurance, UM coverage replaces the coverage that the at-fault driver should have.

You might also have purchased personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments (med pay) coverage for your car insurance policy, which can cover certain medical expenses or lost wages.

Can I Pursue a Claim for Damages?

After you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by an unlicensed driver, you might be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation for losses you’ve incurred due to the accident from any insurance policy covering the uninsured driver, your own insurance policy, or directly from the at-fault unlicensed driver.

Compensation in an unlicensed driver car accident claim can include money for:

  • Medical treatment for injuries suffered in the accident
  • Physical therapy and other long-term rehabilitation or personal care
  • Past and ongoing loss of income or wages, or loss of future expected earnings and benefits
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress or trauma.
  • Loss of enjoyment or quality of life
  • Vehicle and other property damage

Contact a Car Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a car accident caused by an unlicensed driver, you need experienced legal representation to protect your rights and interests. Call or contact a car accident attorney from Truitt Law Offices today for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more.

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About the Author

Phil Truitt joined Truitt Law Offices in 2018 after he earned his J.D. from Ohio Northern University Ohio Northern Pettit College of Law. However, his association with the law firm dates all the way back to childhood. His father, Richard, established the firm over 40 years ago. Growing up, Phil…