Pursuing Damages for a Car Accident Caused by an Unlicensed Driver
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Nov 30, 2020 in Car Accidents
Pursuing compensation for a car accident caused by someone else’s reckless or careless behavior can be overwhelming. If the driver was also unlicensed, it may be especially complicated. You may wonder how, or if, you will be able pursue compensation for your damages.
These types of claims are often challenging to pursue and may benefit from the help of a qualified attorney. Our South Bend car accident lawyers have extensive experience with various types of car crashes, and we are prepared to help you fight for maximum compensation. Call our firm to learn more about our complimentary consultation to discuss your potential legal options. There is no cost or obligation for this service.
Can You Pursue a Claim for Damages?
As with every car accident, the first order of business is to determine fault. If the other driver is assessed with all the liability for the accident that caused your injuries, then he or she is also liable for the damages. Determining fault is the same as for every accident, and it is important to mention that an unlicensed driver will not be more liable for driving without a license. Additionally, if you are found partially at-fault for the accident, then, according to Indiana's comparative negligence law, you will be responsible for your percentage of the damages.
Some common car accident scenarios where the other party is both at-fault and unlicensed includes:
Other Driver is At-Fault, Unlicensed and Uninsured
In this scenario, the at-fault driver is fully liable for the damages. However, it is not as simple as that. Most drivers who get behind the wheel without a legal license typically have other issues going on, such as:
- Suspended license due to a DUI or too many points on his or her license
- Never got a license
- The driver’s license expired but was never renewed
Regardless of the reason for not having a license, if the driver also has no insurance, your two options will be either to pursue a claim against the driver’s personal assets - which is not likely to net you much - or to go through your own insurance policy. However, if you neglected to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) with your policy, that may not be an option.
At-Fault Driver Has No License, But Has Insurance
If the driver has car insurance - then you may be able to pursue an insurance claim through his or her policy. However, be aware that many insurance carriers will not honor a claim for an accident caused by an unlicensed driver.
If the insurance company denies the claim because of the driver’s uninsured status, your option will again be to pursue a claim through the UM/UIM portion of your own insurance policy.
At-Fault Driver is Unlicensed and Driving a Borrowed Car
If the driver who caused your accident is unlicensed and driving someone else’s car – with that car owner’s permission – you may be able to pursue a claim through the owner’s insurance policy.
In all these scenarios, pursuing a claim to recover damages for a car accident caused by an unlicensed driver is complicated. This is just one reason that we strongly recommend you speak with a licensed attorney to see what legal options may apply to your unique situation.
Are You Carrying Enough Insurance for the Unexpected?
In the state of Indiana, your auto insurance provider must offer you UM/UIM protection in your policy. The minimum coverage UMBI limits are $25,000/$50,000. While you may opt to purchase more, the limits you purchase cannot be higher than the limits of your bodily injury protection coverage.
Underinsured motorist bodily injury protection (UIMBI) must also be offered as part of your policy. This protection is useful when an at-fault driver has insurance, but the limits are too low to cover the damages. Essentially, UIMBI is purchased to make up the difference when another driver has limits lower than the limits on your insurance policy.
Call Our Firm to Discuss Your Legal Options for Free
After a car accident, there are many things that need your attention, but the most important is your recovery.
At Pfeifer Morgan and Stesiak, we handle car accident claims for injured victims every day, and we are prepared to fully handle your case so that you can focus on your health. We are well-versed in state laws, and we know how to build a strong case on your behalf. Our extensive experience also gives us greater insight into determining the best legal approach when there are extreme complications, such as an unlicensed driver.
Call our firm anytime, day or night, to schedule your free legal consultation. This meeting is free and carries no obligation to you. If we take your case, we charge no upfront costs or attorney fees until your case concludes - and only if we recover compensation for you.
Experienced legal help fighting for you. (844) 678-1800