Car accidents happen every day on Texas roads but not every driver has a driver’s license, even though Texas law requires one. If you are an unlicensed driver involved in an accident where you were not at fault, you may wonder what your rights are in this situation.
While you could face consequences for driving without a license, you do have the right to claim compensation for your injuries.
What Happens If You Get Into an Accident Without a License?
Some Texas drivers believe that if an accident occurs with an unlicensed driver, the driver without a license is automatically at fault. However, insurance companies and courts do not automatically assign liability based on the fact that you do not have a license. Liability depends on an act of negligence, or the driver who was acting irresponsibly while driving.
If you do get into a car accident without a license and you are not at fault for the accident, you could face consequences from law enforcement. In addition, the person who owns the vehicle you were driving could also face consequences.
Consequences of Driving Without a License in Texas
If law enforcement finds that you drove without a license during your accident, you could be in violation of the law. The first time police officers catch you driving without a license, you could face a fine up to $200. For subsequent offenses, you could face jail time up to six months and a fine up to $500. If you are operating a motor vehicle in Texas, it is in your best interest to obtain a driver’s license as soon as possible.
Legal Options for Unlicensed Drivers
Driving without a license in Texas does not automatically shut down your options for seeking compensatory damages. You have two basic options for seeking compensation after a car accident: you can file an insurance claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, or you can file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.
While you can still claim compensation without a license, the insurance company or the defense attorney will likely bring up the issue during the claim. They could state that you were negligent in driving without a license and were somehow at fault for your injuries. To combat this, contact a Houston car accident attorney as soon as possible following your accident and collect as much evidence as you can following your accident.
What to Do After a Texas Car Accident
Filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit for a car accident when you do not have a license can be a challenge. You need to take special, strategic action to build the strongest case possible. Take the following steps immediately after your accident to benefit your case later on.
- If you can move comfortably and safely after your accident, call 911 or ask a bystander to call 911. The police report and your medical records are crucial pieces of evidence in your case. You should prepare yourself to face the consequences of driving without a license.
- Take photographs of the accident. Photograph your vehicle, the at-fault party’s vehicle, the area around the accident, and any posted traffic signs and signals.
- Exchange contact information with the other driver and any witnesses in the area.
- Contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible.
Hiring a car accident attorney is one of the smartest decisions you can make if you are an unlicensed driver involved in a car accident. Your attorney can launch a full-scale investigation into your case and help establish the other party’s liability. He or she can protect you against claims that you were negligent. Contact an attorney as soon as possible to begin the claims process.