Following a car accident, one of the first things drivers should do is exchange insurance information. Unfortunately, sometimes motorists discover the at-fault driver has no license and therefore no insurance. It can be hard to believe that someone who shouldn’t even be driving injured you and damaged your vehicle.
However, the situation is more common than you may think. Statistics from the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety show just how bad the problem is. The foundation found that unlicensed drivers are dangerous to themselves and other road users. Unlicensed drivers are involved in one-fifth of fatal car accidents each year. They were more likely to be drunk than licensed driver. Unlicensed drivers are also more likely to flee the scene. This is not surprising since they know their actions are illegal.
How Motorists Come to Drive Without a License, Explained by a Car Accident Lawyer in Greenville, SC
Under the law in South Carolina, no one should drive a motor vehicle unless they have a valid license. Some people who drive without a license never applied for one. Others had one but allowed it to expire. They are typically fined a small fee which is less than $200 if convicted.
There are other motorists whose licenses were canceled, suspended or revoked by the authorities. If they continue to drive, the law deals with them more harshly. First-time offenders can be fined up to $300. They may also be sentenced to up to 30 days in jail. If their license suspension was related to driving under the influence, they will face between 10 and 30 days in prison. They will also have to pay a fine.
There are other reasons besides DUI why a driver’s license may be suspended.
- Driving vehicle without insurance
- Failing to pay a traffic fine
- Failing to file an SR22 certificate as a high-risk driver
Habitual offenders are also likely to lose their license. These are people with at least three convictions for major driving offenses or at least ten convictions for moving violations. These violations can include speeding, reckless driving and leaving the scene of a crash.
Whether the at-fault driver never had a license or the authorities revoked it, they shouldn’t be driving. However, many drivers don’t take this rule seriously. They not only drive, but they drive recklessly and cause crashes. Drivers like you can end up paying the price. Luckily, there are remedies available to you in the law courts.
It is difficult for a driver to fight a charge that they were driving without a license. When the prosecutor makes the allegation, the burden is on the motorist to prove otherwise. Unless they have evidence that they did have a valid license, they will lose.
Ask a Car Accident Attorney in South Carolina: What to do After Being Hit by an Unlicensed Driver
Under state laws, every car insurance policy should include a provision for uninsured drivers. You should, therefore, have coverage for the crash even if the at-fault driver has no license or insurance. Your insurance company should compensate you for injuries you suffered and damage to your vehicle.
However, the insurance company may deny some or all of your claims.
This may be because they:
- Doubt the severity of your injuries
- Doubt you sustained the injuries in the accident
- Find your claim to be excessive
- Find your claim form to be incomplete
You may end up having to cover at least some of your expenses out of pocket. However, you can still work with your car accident attorney to negotiate with the insurance company. You should still seek the medical attention you need in the interim.
Another option available to you is filing a personal injury claim against the unlicensed driver. A motorist who is negligent and reckless should be made to pay for their actions. This is especially important if your losses are substantial. The court will take their behavior seriously. You should, however, note that the driver may not have enough assets to pay the amount the court awards.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Greenville, SC for Assistance
Car accidents involving unlicensed drivers can be challenging. You have reduced opportunities to receive compensation for damage and injury. However, an attorney can help you sort through the legal options that are available. Contact the attorneys at Brumback & Langley for a consultation on your case. They will listen to the facts and advise you on the best route to take as you seek justice. Call them without delay! The sooner they start to work on your case, the sooner you can get compensation.