ClickCease What to Know if Your Car Crash Involves an Unlicensed Driver

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What to Know if Your Car Crash Involves an Unlicensed Driver

While driving without a license is against the law, it is a far too common practice throughout California. The issue with unlicensed drivers is that there is a reason that they don’t have a license - whether it be lack of experience or problem driving records - these drivers can cause danger on the road. 

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that almost 20% of car crashes that resulted in deaths involved drivers that were unlicensed or who had invalid licenses. Nearly 7% of these drivers had suspended or revoked licenses, 1% had expired licenses, and 5% never had a license. 

Drivers without a license are also likely to not have insurance or other forms of economic assets to compensate for the costs of property damage and injuries that result from an accident. However, there are solutions to recover the losses experienced from a car accident. 

Here at West Coast Trial Lawyers, our experienced team of car accident attorneys are here to hear your case and offer you guidance in a free consultation. We have a proven track record and have won over $1.5 billion for our clients. Contact us anytime, as we’re available 24/7 through the phone or the web by calling (213) 927 - 3700 or by emailing [email protected]

5 Types of Unlicensed Drivers

You can find all kinds of people out on the road who are driving unlicensed or without a valid license. These people are out on the road for a multitude of different reasons, mainly being transportation from one place to another is a necessity. However, being unlicensed or having an invalid license while driving on the road can put everyone at risk. 

Here are the most common types of unlicensed and invalidly licensed drivers you'll find out on the road: 

  • Teenagers, who might be out learning how to drive or have borrowed a car to get around town. 
  • Undocumented immigrants or foreigners, who may not have a license in this country, but one in their home country. 
  • Elderly drivers, who might have an expired license or have yet to pass certain exams needed for their physical or mental capacity to drive. 
  • Drivers with revoked or expired licenses, such as those who have had their license revoked after too many points on their driving record or from a DUI. 
  • Emergency drivers, who are those who are not licensed or who have an invalid license who drive knowing so in the case of an emergency that requires them to transport themselves and/or others quickly in a vehicle. 

While driving without a valid license might not be cause for greater punishment, it is grounds for a possible misdemeanor and receiving a traffic ticket. Each of these kinds of drivers have their own reasons for needing or wanting to drive, however, this doesn’t let them off the hook for taking illegal measures, such as driving without a valid license, to do so. 

Liability for Driving Without a License 

Just because a driver involved in an accident is without a valid license does not mean that they are automatically at fault for causing an accident. Who is at-fault for causing an accident depends on the level of negligence or recklessness that they commit while behind the wheel. 

Such recklessness or negligence looks like taking part in any of the following activities while out on the road: 

  • speeding
  • driving while drowsy
  • driving while distracted
  • driving under the influence
  • driving while drug  impaired
  • driving aggressively

However, California is a comparative negligence state, meaning that more than one party can be held liable for causing an accident. The degree to which they are responsible for causing an accident is measured by the level of recklessness or negligence each party contributed. 

Driving without a license for reasons such as being an inexperienced driver, having an impairment, or history of bad driving can contribute to how this level of liability is measured. 

Insurance Claims for Car Crashes with Unlicensed Drivers

Getting into a car accident with a driver who is unlicensed can be complicated when it comes to recovering compensation because unlicensed drivers usually don’t have insurance. Moreover, many of them might not have the financial means to compensate you out of their own pocket for expenses. 

However, there are other ways to recover compensation for the damages incurred from a car accident with an unlicensed driver. Here are three ways to recover the costs of an accident that an unlicensed driver was involved in: 

  • If the licensed driver was at-fault for the accident, then the unlicensed driver can file a claim against that driver’s insurance company. 
  • If the unlicensed driver was at-fault for the accident, then the licensed driver can inquire with their own insurance policy to see what coverage they have to recover such costs. In California, this looks like having uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) or medipay (also known as personal injury protection). 
  • If either driver doesn’t have this sufficient coverage, they might have to sue the other driver in small claims to recover the funds needed. 

It is important to note however, that just because a driver doesn’t have a license doesn’t mean that they don’t have insurance coverage. If an unlicensed driver borrowed a car and got into an accident, they may be covered by the insurance coverage for the vehicle. Car insurance usually follows the vehicle, not the driver. 

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

Dealing with a complicated case like this one that involves an unlicensed motorist can be a hassle to undergo on your own. Car insurance companies, whether be it your own, or the other driver’s, don’t have your best interests in mind and will try to force you to settle for less. 

That’s why the expert team of car accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers are here to help you recover the maximum compensation that you deserve for your losses. We will listen to your case in a free consultation, get you the best medical care, and deal with the insurance companies will you focus on your rest and recovery.

Contact us anytime, as we’re available 24/7 for a free consultation by calling (213) 927 - 3700 or emailing [email protected].


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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