Unlicensed Drivers: When You’ve Been Hit or Injured

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This year, a Memorial Day outing turned into a tragedy in Newport Beach, California when a 17-year-old-driver carrying four friends hit a tree. The impact was so severe that it split the vehicle in half, engulfed the vehicle in flames, and killed all teens in the car. The driver of the Infinity G35 was unlicensed. Many families and friends are left wondering why this boy had this extravagant car in the first place, and why he drove it without a license, despite previous warnings of speed and reckless driving prior to this accident. Scenarios like this are even further saddened when there are no survivors. In this fatal accident, speed was said to be a factor, and toxicity results are still pending. How do you protect yourself and your teenagers on the road when you are unable to predict the condition or status of the other driver?

Drivers who have suspended licenses—or have not been issued a license for a particular reason—take to the road all the time. Many take chances on shorter trips by driving to the store just down the street, or they knowingly take a chance on a longer trip assuming they would never be caught or stopped. Not everyone escapes injury, though, as in the case of the young boy and his friends in the above scenario. Several parties could be to blame; after all, the car has to be registered and insured by someone, likely a parent.

Reports state that one in five fatal car accidents involve an unlicensed driver. Among those unlicensed drivers are a heavy percentage who have had their licenses suspended or revoked prior to a fatal car crash. Unlicensed drivers prove tricky to those who are tasked with issuing citations. In many cases, because the driver is unlicensed and underage, the penalties are not as severe because the person is not an adult and cannot be penalized or tried as one. This poses a problem for law enforcement on how to cite or enforce these serious incidents.

Automobile accident cases are always difficult, and when an unlicensed person is involved, there may be transference of blame or denial of involvement. For instance, if a child is behind the wheel of a vehicle and causes an accident, the parent may step in to advocate that the child was not the one driving, putting all blame on the parent in order to be covered by insurance. If there is no insurance, in addition to no license, the plot thickens. What should you do if you are injured, or someone you know is injured, in an accident that involves an unlicensed driver?

Because of all the variables and situations surrounding the unlicensed driver, your first course of action is to seek the advice of a law firm in New York who can work with you for your accident. Several jurisdictions could be involved, and several witnesses of the scene may or may not come forth with information that is useful, particularly in the driver was underage. Rather than taking the law into your own hands to prove your case, seek the advice of a competent firm who can assist you.