Car accidents involving unlicensed drivers can be complex and stressful situations. Texas law requires drivers to be licensed to drive on public roads – but for a variety of reasons the number of individuals driving without a license continues to grow. Almost unbelievably, nearly one in every five fatal car crashes involves an unlicensed driver. Understanding the legalities and potential consequences of these types of accidents is crucial for ensuring that you are protected and that your rights are upheld. In this article, we will explore the key elements of unlicensed driver car accidents, including what to do if you are involved in an accident with an unlicensed driver and the steps you can take to protect your rights.
What is an Unlicensed Driver?
An unlicensed driver is someone who is operating a vehicle without a valid driver’s license. This can include individuals who have never been licensed to drive, as well as individuals who have had their license suspended or revoked. Operating a vehicle without a valid driver’s license is illegal and can result in serious consequences, both for the unlicensed driver and for any individuals involved in an accident with the unlicensed driver.
What to Do if You Are Involved in an Accident with an Unlicensed Driver
If you are involved in an accident with an unlicensed driver, it is important to take several steps to protect yourself and your rights. These steps include:
Contact the police. It is important to call the police to report the accident as soon as possible. The police will be able to provide you with a report of the accident, which can be used as evidence in any subsequent legal proceedings.
Exchange information with the other driver. Be sure to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver, including their name, phone number, and insurance company. We recommend taking pictures of all the documentation as well as a photo of the other driver, so there’s no question later who was driving and what information they provided you with.
Take photos of the damage. If possible, take photos of the damage to both vehicles, as well as any other relevant evidence, such as skid marks or road signs.
Seek medical attention. If you are injured, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. This will ensure that your injuries are properly treated and documented, and it can also help to strengthen any potential insurance claims.
Contact your insurance company. If you have insurance, be sure to contact your insurance company to report the accident. Your insurance company will be able to provide you with guidance on the next steps to take.
The Consequences of an Accident with an Unlicensed Driver
Accidents involving unlicensed drivers can result in a range of consequences, including:
Criminal charges. The unlicensed driver may face criminal charges, including fines and even imprisonment. A first time driving without a valid license in Texas is considered a Class C misdemeanor and can result in a fine of up to $500. Repeat offenders may face increased fines and even jail time. In addition, a person caught driving without a license or while their license has been suspended or revoked, may face additional charges and penalties.
Civil lawsuits. If the unlicensed driver was at fault for the accident, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit to seek compensation for any damages or injuries sustained in the accident.
Insurance issues. Insurance can be more complicated in accidents involving unlicensed drivers. If the unlicensed driver was at fault for the accident, they may not have insurance coverage, which can make it difficult for you to recover compensation for your damages and injuries. If you are hit by a driver without a license in Texas, you may face a complicated insurance claim process. Some insurers won’t cover unlicensed drivers. Similarly, if the person who hit you had their license suspended at the time of the accident, their insurer may try to deny coverage.
What if You’re the Unlicensed Driver
If you’re an unlicensed driver in an accident, you may be faced with legal consequences and may not be covered by your insurance. You may receive a citation (or worse) on the criminal side. On the civil side of things, you face the risk that your insurer won’t cover the loss.
In some states, unlicensed drivers may also face additional penalties, such as fines or even jail time. In addition, your driving privileges may be suspended or revoked, which means you may not be able to legally drive in the future.
Protecting Your Rights After an Accident with an Unlicensed Driver
To protect your rights after an accident with an unlicensed driver, our Fort Worth personal injury lawyer will help you:
- Gather evidence. This can include photographs of the damage, witness statements, and the police report.
- File a claim with your insurance company. If you have insurance, be sure to file a claim as soon as possible to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
- File a lawsuit. If your claim is not paid timely or if you are injured, an attorney can help you seek recovery.
Reach Out Today
We understand how trying it can be to be in an accident. These challenges are compounded when you are struck by an unlicensed driver. Give us a call at (817) 207-4878, or contact us online.