What Happens When The At-Fault Driver Was Unlicensed?
Well, it’s bad enough to get into a car accident; it’s even worse when you learn the other driver doesn’t even have a license. Now, this could play out in a few ways. You could have a situation where a driver’s license had expired and not been renewed. Or you can have a situation where a driver’s license was revoked or never issued.
The circumstances of the details regarding the licensing can impact whether or not you can get anything from an insurance policy. North Carolina focuses on a contributory fault basis, and insurance companies don’t offer policies to unlicensed drivers. So the bigger problem that comes with getting into a crash with an unlicensed driver is possibly not having anyone to go to for compensation. Contact our North Carolina car accident lawyers today!
Lack of a License Does Not Make the Driver At-Fault
There is no inherent tie between fault and licensure. The driver without a license will surely receive a ticket and experience penalties. They may even take a small portion of fault for driving without a license or on a suspended license. However, they won’t be found fully at fault simply because they didn’t have a license.
Having a license means you’re allowed to drive; it doesn’t mean you can drive well, and the opposite is true too. Not having a license doesn’t mean you can’t drive well; it just means that you’re not allowed to drive.
It’s an odd situation, but we’ll move forward with the idea that the driver involved in your crash not only caused the wreck but also didn’t have a license.
You Can Address the Recklessness
During your claim, statement, and even demand letter, you can directly address the clear recklessness of driving without a license. Not having a license means that you either didn’t pass the test or that you had your license revoked. That’s reckless behavior, and clearly, they put everyone at risk by not following the proper procedures for obtaining a license. They didn’t go through the exam, proving they understand the rules of the road. They did not complete a behind the wheel assessment proving that they can drive safely in traffic.
Recklessness is often multi-part. In these situations, you may have had someone with a revoked license for a DUI, past recklessness, or even negligent behavior. The really unfortunate part of this process is that the penalties for driving with a license or on a suspended license don’t even equate to a slap on the hand. There is no possibility for jail time, and fines tap out at $1,000. So really, if you’re a reckless driver, there’s no reason to not drive on a suspended or revoked license.
Does This Affect Your Insurance Claim?
Yes, unfortunately, it’s clear that insurance companies don’t issue policies to people without a driver’s license. Additionally, when a license is suspended, it’s likely that their insurance policy dropped that person’s coverage. The Ohio BMV has strict rules on insurance coverage, but if someone isn’t willing to get a license, then why would they have insurance?
It’s likely that you’ll have a situation where the person did not have coverage. Then you can only rely on your collision and UIM coverage. However, Ohio does not require drivers to carry UIM, so many people don’t have it. What can you do then?
If there is no insurance policy to file a claim against, then you may need to take civil action against the at-fault driver directly. This situation doesn’t normally work out well either. What typically happens in these cases is that the driver couldn’t afford insurance and can’t afford to pay you compensation either. You may get to trail to receive a compensation award and then wait years to see anything from it.
Start Your Search for a North Carolina Car Accident Attorney
As you start your search for a North Carolina car accident attorney, consider hiring someone local. You don’t want to pay high travel fees or risk not being able to communicate with your attorney because of travel restrictions. Hiring locally almost ensures that you can always get ahold of them or at least go into their office.
Finding a local North Carolina auto accident lawyer can start with Ohio1. Get access to all the resources you may need to file a claim through insurance for comprehensive or collision coverage. But also learn about what options you have to take legal action against the at-fault driver who likely did not have insurance or a license.
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