As everyone knows, you need a valid driver’s license to operate a vehicle in Georgia. It is against the law to drive without a license regardless of whether you never had a license or it was suspended for some reason. Despite this, many unlicensed drivers continue to get behind the wheel. An unlicensed driver is also an uninsured driver so if you get hit by one, you can’t get compensation through their policy. However, it doesn’t mean you have to kiss the idea of compensation goodbye. Your attorney will advise you about the varying options available to you.
What Attorneys Will Tell Clients About How The Law Treats Unlicensed Drivers
You should know that unlicensed drivers are not automatically deemed to be at fault for an accident. Their license violation is separate and distinct from them being responsible for an accident. You will still need to prove that they were at fault for your car accident. However, you may be able to use this violation to your advantage in a personal injury case. The fact that they broke the law can be used as proof of negligence. The police report of the accident and eyewitness reports can also help to strengthen your case.
Unlicensed and uninsured drivers are more likely to flee the scene. This means you may not immediately know who hit you and it may take some time for the police to track down the driver. When the driver is identified, you may find out that they have no license, no insurance and no personal assets against while you can claim your losses. If this is the case your lawyer will seek other avenues for compensation. You may still be able to get your medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage covered.
File a Claim Under Your Uninsured Motorist Coverage
One way to get compensation is through UM coverage. It isn’t mandatory that you get this coverage but all insurance companies have to offer it. It is usually offered in conjunction with underinsured motorist coverage. UM insurance ensures you can get compensation if you are involved in an accident with a driver who has no insurance or one who flees and can’t be identified.
In Georgia, you can choose between two types of UM coverage. The first is non-stacking insurance which is also called traditional or reduction coverage. You can only get compensation under this policy if it exceeds the at-fault driver’s coverage limits. If the driver is unlicensed and uninsured, this won’t help you. You will need stacking or add-on coverage which covers you in full. Many people opt out of stacking coverage because it costs more. However, it offers you greater protection in unfortunate circumstances such as these.
Still, it is important to note that your car insurance provider may not be on your side. They may deny your claim or offer only a fraction of what you have asked for. Like any other insurance company, they try to minimize payouts. They may, therefore, blame you for the accident or allege that you got your injuries elsewhere. They may even argue that your injuries are not serious enough to be covered under your policy and they are not paying for the damages.
It will help tremendously to have an attorney on your side if this happens. They can do extensive research into your accident, anticipate the insurance company’s tactics, and work to negotiate a fair settlement.
Hold the Parents Liable if the Driver was a Minor
In some cases, the unlicensed, uninsured driver is a child and you may be able to go after their parent or the owner of the vehicle. Adults should know that allowing an unlicensed minor behind the wheel would be dangerous. If that minor gets into an accident and causes injuries and other damage, the adult may be held responsible. When you meet with your attorney, he will work to identify all the parties who may be deemed liable so you can get the compensation you deserve.
Go After a Third Party
Sometimes, someone other than the unlicensed driver may have a role to play in the accident. After your attorney investigates, they may be able to identify someone else whom you can pursue for damages. It may be the driver’s employer, vehicle manufacturer, parts manufacturer or a government entity. It all depends on the circumstances surrounding your accident.
Contact the Experienced Attorneys at Athens DUI Lawyers for Assistance
If you’ve been hit by an unlicensed driver, you may be worried about whether you’ll be able to recover damages. While getting compensation from the other driver’s insurance is often the first course of action, an unlicensed driver presents specific challenges. However, at Athens DUI Lawyers, we know all the other avenues you can try to get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today and schedule a free consultation.