If you have been in an accident and discover that the other driver does not have an up-to-date driver’s license, what do you do? What does this mean for them and you regarding the accident being covered by insurance and more?
It’s normal and understandable to be worried about something like this. Expired licenses can influence how things play out, especially if you are without the current license. Indeed, the best thing to do in this situation is to retain a lawyer to work on your behalf.
First Steps to Take After an Accident
No matter the situation, who is at fault, or if the other driver does or does not have an expired license, certain steps are imperative in protecting yourself and the other driver. These steps include:
- Calling the police
- Making sure everyone involved is safe and okay
- Get the contact information for the other driver (name, phone number, and insurance information if possible)
- Get contact information of any witnesses on the scene
- Take whatever pictures you can safely of your car, the other car, or cars involved as well as the entire scene
- File a police report when the police arrive
- Ask for medical attention (you may not think you’re hurt, but it could be more than you first thought)
Negligence and Liability
Just because a driver doesn’t have a current license doesn’t mean they are at fault for the accident. Negligence and liability are looked at most after an accident.
For instance, if the other driver in the accident was texting or speeding through a red light, which caused them to hit you or another car, they are negligent and, therefore, liable for the accident. Their expired license had nothing to do with the fact that they were driving distracted or not obeying traffic laws.
In almost all states, having a valid driver’s license is required to obtain car insurance. If they don’t have a driver’s license, they would not be able to acquire their automobile insurance. Many insurance policies also state that they will deny the insured coverage if they have a suspended license or it remains expired for a certain amount of time. This lapse in coverage can be a real problem.
If this is the case and there isn’t any insurance coverage for the other driver, the driver who was not at fault can then file a personal injury lawsuit. The only problem with this is that many unlicensed drivers or even those with expired licenses do not have the funds to pay for damages and medical costs incurred during the accident.
When this happens, it forces the driver (not at fault) to file a claim with their own insurance company to help pay for damage and injury costs. This is where Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage comes into play. This is the coverage your insurance policy has that protects you from uninsured or underinsured drivers.
UM/UIM insurance coverage is a vital part of your insurance policy, so if you haven’t already, make sure that you have enough protection to pay for damages if something like this occurs. While some states require you to have this type of coverage, other states only make your insurance company offer it to you. So check out where your insurance policy stands on UM/UIM coverage. You might need to make some changes!
Also, don’t wait to hire an experienced accident lawyer to help you with the sometimes confusing and overwhelming parts of your case. Doing so will not only give you maximum protection, but it can give you the peace of mind that you won’t be taken advantage of.
Criminal Charges from An Expired License?
If you or another driver is involved in an accident and does not have a current license, what kind of charges can you or they face? The truth is, driving with an expired license is only a minor traffic violation. You will get a fine and minor citation.
Insurance, however, may try to get around paying for accident claims made while you had no current license. After an accident, the best thing to do is immediately get your driver’s license renewed to show you are not continuing to be negligent with your expired license. In most cases, drivers without a current license forget to renew their license. Life is busy, and it just slips their mind. The intent is there but not executed.
Your attorney can help argue your intent to renew your license and help with the insurance coverage side of things as well. Again, it’s another important reason to hire a lawyer to help with all the details of your case. Not having an attorney working for you can end up costing you more money than you might be ready or able to pay out.
Protect Yourself with an Experienced Attorney
In the end, you never know when an accident will occur and whether the other driver will be licensed and insured as they should be. All you can do is protect yourself by always having an up-to-date license and auto insurance coverage (including UM/UIM coverage).
If you are in an accident, call an attorney that will have your best interest at heart. Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer, L.L.C. have decades of accident and injury experience and know how to guide you through the steps needed to receive the compensation you deserve. In addition, they have dealt with underinsured or non-insured drivers and can work with their insurance company and yours in achieving the best results in your case.
Call Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer, L.L.C. to make an appointment at (504) 522-2304. We offer a free preliminary consultation, so there’s nothing to lose. Find out why we have earned the amazing reputation we have by allowing us to be your advocate in your accident or injury case.