It is traumatic enough just to be involved in a traffic accident, but to discover that the driver who caused the crash is unlicensed and may not be insured makes matters even worse. Where do you stand in such a situation? We explain several scenarios here.
Unlicensed Drivers and Liability
It makes no difference whether the driver who hit you was operating the vehicle with a suspended Indiana driver's license or he never had a license at all. In the eyes of the police, both drivers are unlicensed drivers and this will be noted in the accident report. However, the status of the driver’s license will not affect determination of fault. If he is to blame for the crash, he will be at fault. The more important question is whether the vehicle he was driving is insured. The following are all possibilities:
- Uninsured car. You need a valid driver’s license in order to obtain and keep insurance for a car registered to you. If the at-fault driver had a suspended license and was driving his own car, there would be a lapse in his insurance coverage. In this case, you would have to turn to your own car insurance to cover damages.
- Car borrowed with permission. If the at-fault driver was driving another person’s car with permission and the car has valid insurance, that policy will cover your damages, regardless of the status of the driver’s license. If there is a question regarding whether permission was granted, your attorney may need to investigate before making a claim. In some situations, permission can be assumed, making the owner’s insurance company liable for damages.
- Car borrowed without permission. If the at-fault driver crashes a car he did not have permission to drive—or is driving a stolen car—any insurance policy covering the car will not cover damages. If the driver has a valid insurance policy on another car—not likely if his license has been suspended—then that policy will cover damages. The most likely outcome, however, is that your insurance company will have to cover damages.
How to Protect Yourself
While the ideal situation is for the driver who hit you to be legally licensed and fully insured, we can’t choose who is going to cause our accidents. That is why it's important for you to carry uninsured motorist insurance and that you work with an attorney even if you are only dealing with your own insurance company. Believe it or not, your own insurer can be just as hard to negotiate with as another driver’s. Contact the experienced car accident lawyers at Keller and Keller to handle your claim, no matter what the circumstance!