If you get in a car accident without a driver’s license, the law enforcement officer could issue you a ticket—even if you didn’t cause the accident. Further punishments could occur if you drive with a suspended or revoked license. However, driving without a valid driver’s license does not prohibit you from seeking damages from the at-fault driver for causing an accident.
After receiving the ticket, you could go to traffic court to prove you had a valid license or explain why you drove without one. In addition, you can take your claim against the at-fault party to civil court should you sustain injuries in an accident without a license and pursue compensation for your losses. A car accident attorney could provide more information about your rights.
Reasons Citizens Don’t Have Their License When Car Accidents Happen
Driving without a valid driver’s license is illegal in every state. However, people still drive without a license for various reasons, including the following:
- Forgot license at home: You might have left your license at home on the day of the accident. When this happens, the law enforcement officer could issue you a citation because you failed to show proof of a valid license. Then, you can show up on your court date to prove you have a license, hoping the judge dismisses your ticket.
- Revoked, expired, or suspended license: You will likely face harsher punishments if you drive willfully on a revoked or suspended license. The police officer could issue you a ticket or arrest you, and you might get charged with a misdemeanor.
Regardless of why you drove without a license, you could still seek compensation if you sustained injuries because of the at-fault party’s actions.
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Protecting Yourself as an Unlicensed Driver
Did you get into a car crash caused by someone else and don’t have a license? If so, you could still seek compensation for your damages. Moreover, it doesn’t make you more at fault from a personal injury standpoint. Indeed, it’s critical to understand this fact because the at-fault party’s insurer might try to convince you otherwise.
A car accident attorney can protect your rights during this time. First, they can file a claim on your behalf. Then, throughout the claims process, they can advocate for you to receive compensation for your incurred damages. Presenting a solid case to the liable party might increase the probability of negotiations going your way.
You Can Still Seek Compensation for Damages After a Car Accident Where You Didn’t Have a License
Fortunately, after you get in a car crash without a driver’s license, you can still seek compensation for your damages from the liable party. If someone collides with you, they are still accountable for your injuries—regardless of your driver’s license status.
You could face multiple economic and noneconomic losses because of your injuries. Moreover, you could face severe financial consequences without filing an insurance claim. Instead, a successful claim could allow you to move on with your life after the accident. You could seek compensation for the following damages:
- Medical bills: First responders might have rushed you to the hospital after the crash. Even with good insurance coverage, these emergency room treatments could cost you out-of-pocket. Other medical expenses you could accrue include hospital stays, doctor’s appointments, specialist appointments, diagnostic tests, occupational therapy, physical therapy, or medications.
- Future medical expenses: Your attorney will consult with medical professionals to determine any future treatment you might require. It’s crucial you pursue compensation for these expenses, so you don’t go into future debt.
- Lost income: Did you sustain severe injuries in your accident that prevented you from working for any period? If so, you could recover any income you lost through your claim. In addition, you could successfully recover compensation for reduced earning capacity if your injuries affect your ability to return to work.
- Physical pain and suffering: You could pursue damages for pain and suffering if you experience intense physical pain after the accident. In addition, if you experience inconvenience or discomfort, you can also seek these damages.
- Emotional distress: The trauma from a car crash can leave you with debilitating emotional issues. If you develop mental health issues because of your accident, you could pursue compensation for emotional distress. Mental health issues you could develop after an accident include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, or anxiety.
Your attorney can work to prove you deserve compensation for these losses. By presenting a compelling case, you stand a better chance of reaching a successful outcome in your car accident case.
Don’t Wait Too Long to Pursue a Claim
You must file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations deadline to pursue compensation for your car accident losses. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003 gives accident victims two years from the accident date to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Two years might seem like a lot of time. However, you might spend part of that time recovering from severe injuries or scrambling to make ends meet. Therefore, you’ll want to start the claim process immediately after the accident to help you meet the statute of limitations.
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A Car Accident Lawyer Can Advise What Happens if You Get in an Accident Without a License
Texas Transportation Code § 521.021 states you must have a valid driver’s license to operate a vehicle within the state. Therefore, you could face criminal penalties depending on the circumstances of your license status. However, the status of your license doesn’t factor in when civil courts determine whether you can recover compensation. Thus, you can still seek justice for your injuries from the at-fault party.
The car accident attorneys at Loncar Lyon Jenkins can provide legal representation throughout your civil claim. We can help you pursue the compensation you deserve when the at-fault party’s actions harm you. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about what happens after a car accident where you don’t have a driver’s license.