What Happens After an Accident with an Unlicensed Driver?
Any type of auto accident can leave you with serious questions about how to handle the aftermath. Just how much compensation do you deserve after your injuries? Who, exactly, do you have the right to file a personal injury claim against? If you suffer injuries in an accident with an unlicensed driver, on the other hand, you may have even more questions.
What comes next?
Do You Have the Right to a Personal Injury Claim?
The status of the liable driver’s license does not change your right to file a personal injury claim after an accident. You have the same right to compensation for injuries sustained in an accident with a driver who does not have a license that you do after an accident with a fully licensed and insured driver.
Unfortunately, it can prove more complicated to collect the compensation you deserve after that type of accident. Sometimes, you may even have trouble locating the driver that caused the accident, since an unlicensed driver may flee the scene of the accident or otherwise complicate the process. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can make it easier to determine how to handle your claim after an accident.
Who Can You Seek Compensation From After an Accident with an Unlicensed Driver?
After an accident with an unlicensed driver, you have several options for seeking compensation.
The Driver’s Insurance Company
If the driver recently lost his license—a suspension for driving while intoxicated, for example—he may still carry auto insurance. If the driver carries auto insurance, it does not matter if he has a license or not: you still have the right to file a personal injury claim, and the insurance company must still provide payment for the accident.
The Driver Directly
In some cases, you can seek compensation from the driver of the vehicle directly. Keep in mind, however, that it may prove difficult to get compensation from a driver directly, especially if the driver does not have significant assets. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about how to pursue compensation directly from an unlicensed driver that caused severe injuries.
Insurance that Covers the Car
Often, an unlicensed driver may borrow a vehicle from a friend or family member. The owner of the vehicle may not even know that the driver does not have a license, especially if the driver lost his license recently or has driven for a long time without a license. Auto insurance usually follows the car, though it may also provide coverage for a specific driver. That means that if the owner of the vehicle carries insurance on that vehicle, you can claim compensation through that insurance policy, and it will pay out, regardless of the license status of the driver.
Keep in mind that this applies only when the unlicensed driver drives the car with permission. If an unlicensed driver drives the car without permission, including theft, the owner’s insurance policy may not apply.
Your Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage
An individual who does not have a license can buy a car. Unfortunately, nothing but the law prevents him from operating it. An average 10% of Nevada drivers, including some who do not have a driver’s license, do not carry auto insurance.
Your insurance can provide some protection if you have an accident with a driver who does not carry insurance. Most insurance companies offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage usually adds relatively little expense to your monthly auto insurance premiums, but can provide substantial coverage if you have an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. If you suffer injuries in an accident with a driver who does not carry insurance, contact your insurance company to learn what coverage they offer.
What Should You Do After an Accident with an Unlicensed Driver?
The actions you take after an accident with an unlicensed driver can help protect your financial status and your rights after an accident. Make sure that you:
1. Report the accident to the police and wait for them to arrive. An unlicensed driver may attempt to convince you not to report the accident to the police, since the driver knows he will face additional legal penalties for driving without a license. Failing to report that accident, however, could prevent you from seeking compensation for damage to your vehicle or any injuries you suffered in the accident. Make sure that you report the accident and honestly share what happened with the police officer.
2. Contact your auto insurance company. You should always notify your auto insurance company about an accident, especially if your vehicle has serious damage or you suffer serious injuries. You should tell your insurance company that you had an accident with an unlicensed driver. If the other driver also did not have insurance and you need to use your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, let your insurance company know and ask about what compensation you can expect.
3. Seek medical attention if you need it. Always pursue medical care after a serious accident, even if you do not think you suffered serious injuries. That medical exam can provide vital evidence that will later show exactly when your injuries took place as well as ensuring that you receive the right treatment for any injuries you suffered.
4. Get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney. The sooner you contact a personal injury attorney after an accident, the sooner that attorney can start working on your behalf. A personal injury attorney can provide vital advice about how to handle a claim after an accident with an unlicensed driver, including how you can seek financial compensation for damage to your vehicle or injuries sustained in the accident.
Did you suffer injuries in an accident with an unlicensed driver? Do not wait to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact Gina Corena & Associates today at 702-680-1111 to schedule a free consultation that will help you learn more about your legal rights following any auto accident, including one with an unlicensed driver.