Do you drive a car? Then it is likely that you have a driver’s license. Almost all cities in the United States require drivers to have a valid license before they can go on the road.
But sometimes, you may forget to bring your license. This happens when you’re in a rush or when an emergency happens. You’re lucky if the police don’t catch you driving without a license.
But what if you get in an accident? What are the legal repercussions you can expect?
Continue reading below as we break down what happens when you get in an accident without a license.
The Insurance Conundrum
Studies reveal that 20% of vehicular accidents in the United States involve drivers who have no valid licenses. This number translates to about 8,400 deaths annually.
Furthermore, half of these accidents involve drivers between 21 and 34 years of age.
But beyond these numbers, another serious concern hounds drivers involved in the accidents. There is the question of whether the insurance companies will cover the damages involving an unlicensed driver.
The answer to this conundrum lies in the facts about the driver. Typically, car insurance providers will only grant coverage to their clients after the latter provide a valid driver’s license. Furthermore, most insurance companies impose exclusions of non-coverage.
They apply these exclusions for drivers and car owners who have suspended licenses.
It is also important to note that state laws differ depending on the state you are in. For example, if you drive without a license in California, the police can charge you with a misdemeanor or non-criminal offense.
And if you get into a car accident, you will likely get a violation ticket. However, driving without a license should not affect how the powers-that-be should handle your case. What matters more in California is that you have all the insurance minimum requirements.
Check out here for more information on the different state driving laws in the U.S.
Legal Repercussions of Driving Without a License
Since driving without a valid license is a violation of the law, you can expect certain repercussions after the law enforcement officers apprehend you. However, you should understand that having no license does not automatically hold the driver liable for the accident.
Instead, the liability for the accident falls on the negligent party. In this case, it may or may not be on the side of the unlicensed driver.
It’s a common misconception that the blame falls on the unlicensed driver. Liability, however, kicks in if the driver acted carelessly on the road, which led to the accident.
If you are the unlicensed driver and you have insurance coverage, the insurance company may shoulder the expenses. But if you and the other party do not have insurance coverage, the injured party may file a lawsuit.
In case you are the victim in the accident and the other driver does not have a license, expect the worst. This is because most unlicensed drivers do not have the money to shoulder the damages.
In turn, you will have to rely on your insurance provider to cover the claims for injury and property damage.
The Immediate Steps
The key to protecting yourself after an accident lies in the immediate steps to take. First, call the police and the paramedics especially if there are injuries. If you are capable, check if everyone is OK.
And even if you don’t have any cuts or wounds, let the paramedics take a look at you. There are internal injuries that may not manifest immediately after the car crash.
Next, you need to take pictures of the incident. Take snapshots of the scene of the crash. If you have visible injuries, take photos of them as well.
Pay close attention to the point of collision of the vehicles. Take pictures of the damages to your vehicle as well as the other party’s.
These photos will help you with your claim. Moreover, the photos will serve as evidence if the liability rests on the other party.
Also, don’t forget to write down the name and contact details of the driver of the other party. If there are any witnesses, get their names and contact information too. These witnesses can give their testimonies especially when the case reaches the court.
Hence, you need to search for an attorney who specializes in car and motorcycle accident cases. Finding a lawyer who specializes in these cases can help you file your claims and turn the tide in your favor.
He knows the important details to look for that will help you win the case.
Finding the Right Accident Lawyer
Last but not least, you need to learn how to find a good car accident lawyer. First, consider asking for referrals from trusted friends and relatives. They may know a good attorney who can help you out in your cases.
When searching for lawyers, always check on their experience. How extensive is their experience in handling vehicular accident cases? Do they have a solid record of securing high payouts for their clients?
And if you wish to go to a law firm, find one that comes with a solid track record. Go for a reputable firm that holds their lawyers accountable for their work.
Last but not least, don’t hesitate to discuss the fees. Request a breakdown of the fees and go deep into the details. Find out when you need to pay and the circumstances that require payment.
Compare the rates of each lawyer and decide which one will give you the best value for your money.
Protect Yourself on the Road
Driving without a license is one of the worst things you can do. You may get away with it, but if an accident happens, you may end up in a lot of trouble. But understanding the value of your license is only one way of protecting yourself on the road.
Thus, we invite you to read our other articles on road laws and road safety. We discuss important topics that will help you become a more responsible driver.