What Are Your Legal Options After Being Injured By An Unlicensed Driver In A Car Wreck?
Stories of unlicensed drivers causing accidents abound, with varying circumstances and many different outcomes. Some of the most common reasons for driving without a valid license include:
- Driver didn’t realize their license had expired or had not yet had it renewed
- License was revoked or suspended due to DUI or drug DUI convictions
- Children who are too young to legally obtain a license
- Teens who have not taken or not passed their driver’s license tests
- People whose licenses have been revoked due to medical conditions, such as seizure disorders
- Elderly people who have failed driver’s license renewal exams
- People who have age-related impairments, such as mental or visual difficulties
- Immigrants or refugees who have not obtained a valid license in the US
Whatever the reason for not having a valid license, a collision with an unlicensed driver can seriously complicate the insurance claim process, so it’s crucial to work with an experienced Las Vegas car accident lawyer who can guide you through the process.
Collisions, Insurance Claims, and Unlicensed Drivers
The American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAA) discovered a strong correlation between unlicensed drivers, driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, and hit and run accidents. Many fatal accidents involve unlicensed drivers. The AAA found that approximately 20% of fatal accidents involved at least one unlicensed driver. Approximately half of unlicensed drivers who were involved in fatal accidents were illegally intoxicated while driving, and more than half of unlicensed drivers try to flee the accident scene.
For a licensed driver who becomes injured as a result of a car accident, an added complication is that many unlicensed drivers are also uninsured. This can lead to a mess of complicated financial and legal challenges that can make it difficult for the legal driver to obtain timely compensation for their injuries and expenses. Consult with a trusted Las Vegas car accident attorney to learn more about your options.
Is The Unlicensed Driver Automatically At-Fault In The Accident?
Just because an unlicensed driver was involved in a crash does not automatically mean that they are at-fault in the situation. Determining fault in an accident can be complicated and is usually only determined after an investigation that explores which driver broke traffic rules, who disregarded the right of way, who had a lapse in judgment, and whether any of the drivers were intoxicated or distracted.
If an unlicensed driver is determined to be liable for the accident, you and your Las Vegas personal injury attorney will need to untangle recovery of damages. The most common solutions include:
- Unlicensed drivers are commonly uninsured, so you may need to use your uninsured motorist insurance coverage to pay for medical expenses and other damages that resulted from the car accident. Although uninsured motorist coverage is not required in Nevada, it’s a good idea to carry this coverage if you can afford it.
- If the unlicensed driver was driving a vehicle that had been borrowed, the insurance company of the borrowed car’s owner may be responsible to pay damages if the unlicensed driver had the owner’s permission to drive the vehicle.
- If the unlicensed driver was driving someone else’s vehicle without permission, the vehicle owner’s insurance company will probably not cover the damage. But if the unlicensed driver has insurance on another vehicle, you and your lawyer can make a claim against that policy.
- You can also try to seek compensation directly from the unlicensed driver. This can be difficult, and in many cases, the unlicensed driver does not own enough assets to make a substantial payment.
Your Las Vegas car accident law firm can help you explore and understand all of your legal options for the best chance at obtaining compensation.
Responding To an Accident with an Unlicensed Driver
When it comes to accidents with an unlicensed driver, action is the best response, and knowing in advance what to do will help your case in the investigation that follows. Be sure to follow these steps after an accident with an unlicensed driver:
Report the accident immediately: No matter how much the unlicensed driver may beg you not to report it, you are required by Nevada state law to call 911 to report the accident. Regardless of who is at fault in the accident, the unlicensed driver will face penalties and fines. But in order to recover damages for your vehicle and injuries, a report must be made as soon as possible.
Contact your insurance company: Whether the accident was small or significant, notifying your own insurance company is important. Let the agent know that the accident involved an unlicensed driver. You can take advantage of your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage if that is included in your policy. In addition, never disclose to your insurance company that you were at fault in the accident in any way.
Seek medical attention: After an accident, your lawyer recommends seeking medical care, even if you feel fine or don’t have any apparent injuries. A medical examination after your accident counts as important evidence for your personal injury claim, and some serious injuries that will need treatment are not immediately apparent without a medical examination.
Reach out to your personal injury attorney: Your personal injury attorney can provide crucial guidance and advice, and will also conduct their own investigation into the circumstances of the accident. They can work on your behalf to secure compensation for your injuries and damages.
Find a Personal Injury Lawyer You Can Trust
The legal team at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers has developed a reputation as one of Nevada’s most trusted personal injury attorneys. Whether you need representation after a car accident, dog bite, slip and fall, or other injury, we are ready to provide the legal guidance and advice you need for a successful outcome. Trust us with your case! Schedule your obligation-free, confidential consultation by calling our office today.