So, you’re involved in a car accident, and you have no driver’s license.
This is a common occurrence on Texas roads, often with devastating consequences. Texas law stipulates that all drivers must have a valid driver’s license. So, the first question that you may ask is: Am I automatically at fault as I don’t have a license?
No, you’re not. It’s illegal to be without one, but you can still file a lawsuit. You may still claim compensation. Not having a license doesn’t make you the “at-fault” or negligent driver. So, you can start a car accident personal injury claim if your driving was not the cause of the accident.
In this article, the expert personal injury attorneys at Patino Law explore how you can recover compensation after a car accident with no driver’s license.
Can You Be Held Liable for a Car Accident If You Do Not Have a Driver’s License?
A car accident case that involves an unlicensed driver looks at the cause of the accident, not the license holder. So, it’s treated like a personal injury claim.
This means you can sue if someone else’s negligence caused the accident. The at-fault driver will probably try to argue that you caused the accident as an unlicensed driver. However, if that driver’s negligence is proven in a personal injury case, you are due compensation.
If the car you drove as an unlicensed driver is owned by someone else, the owner’s insurance policy can cover it — assuming you are not listed as an excluded driver. So, check if the owner’s insurance policy covers you.
Our car accident lawyers at Patino Law will advise you on how to pursue a case after a car accident with no driver’s license.
Why Do People Drive Without a License?
Statista conducted a survey and found that of around 329 million residents in the U.S., 228 million people had a valid driver’s license. The data compared the number of U.S. residents to the number of licensed drivers between 1991 and 2020.
There are many reasons for unlicensed drivers. While it’s illegal to drive without a license, there are many reasons for not having one. They include:
- Being unable to afford a driver’s license or the renewal fee.
- Having no daily need for a car.
- Being an undocumented immigrant car owner.
- Being unable to obtain a license because of cognitive or visual impairments.
- Having a suspended license.
- You are a young driver not yet eligible for a full driver’s license.
- Your license was revoked due to a medical condition or criminal activity.
- You have never sought to get a license.
If you were not at fault in the car accident, these are not reasons to avoid pursuing compensation for your injuries.
What Is the Penalty for Driving Without a License in Texas?
For first-time offenders, the maximum penalty is up to $200. However, if you get caught without a license repeatedly, the penalties get harsher every time. After your third offence within a year, you can face up to six months in jail.
Motorcycle drivers need a Class M license. If you drive a commercial vehicle, you can be penalized if driving without a Class C license.
It needs to be emphasized here that this has nothing to do with a personal injury case seeking compensation.
Will Insurance Pay if the Driver has no License?
Most insurance companies will refrain from covering you in a car accident without a valid driver’s license. If you have no insurance, you have to bear the costs yourself. If you’re listed as an excluded driver on another policyholder’s insurance, you are also not covered for any claims.
Perhaps you have an insurance policy despite having no license. If you’re insured at the time of the crash, some insurance companies will cover medical bills. You’ll need to check your policy documents. The insurance policies that will pay drivers with no license will demand specific terms and conditions to be met.
- You may be covered if you have a valid license from another state or country. Check with your insurance company on the terms relating to occasional driving.
- Are you without a license, as it was suspended? Did you ask your insurance company to file an SR-22 on your behalf? If you have SR-22 insurance, you should be covered.
What Should You Do If You Are Involved in a Car Accident Without a License?
If you’re the at-fault driver and without a license, you’ll get a citation from the police. However, the ticket does not make you culpable automatically. The law looks at your accountability in the crash’s cause.
Unlicensed drivers may face criminal penalties for the no-license offence. However, having no license has nothing to do with the cause of the accident. The same applies if you and the other driver share responsibility for the cause of the accident.
Here are the immediate steps to take following a car accident.
- Call the police immediately. Your insurance company will want to see the crash report. The report will have details of your name and the other driver’s name. It should also have key information on the cause of the accident.
- Get medical help right away to prioritize your health and care for any sustained injuries.
- Evidence is key to a successful case. Take photographs of the accident scene. Take snaps of the vehicles involved in the accident, damages caused, and any road conditions that may have contributed.
- Get contact details of witnesses. If there are witnesses to the car accident, get their contact information.
Our car accident lawyers will guide you through your personal injury case. Your lawyer will examine your crash report and read through any witness statements. We’ll look at the accident scene photos and handle any requests from your insurance company.
Does Immigration Status Prevent Filing A Claim?
Regardless of your immigration status, you still have rights after a car accident that resulted in injuries. You are still entitled to pursue a case to claim compensation. The entitlement is the same, and a personal injury case can fight for compensation to cover income loss and medical bills.
No License Does Not Mean No Personal Injury Case
At Patino Law, we will examine your case and advise on your legal options. If you were not at fault, it’s your right to build a strong case whether or not you have a license. It’s your right to pursue a lawsuit and gain the necessary compensation to cover your injuries and damages.
We will handle your case appropriately and fight for compensation for your injuries.
SEEK LEGAL GUIDANCE ON YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM FROM AN EXPERIENCED CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY AT PATINO LAW.