Filing a Claim Against An Unlicensed Driver In Arizona
Tucson Personal Injury Lawyers Explain What To Do After a Car Accident With An Unlicensed Driver
A car accident is always an unfortunate event, but there are several factors that could make the situation even more stressful. One of these is whether the driver was licensed or not. Even if the vehicle owner has a sufficient policy to cover the damages, the insurance company may put up a fight if the vehicle was being driven by an unlicensed driver. After a collision with an unlicensed driver in Tucson, Arizona, don’t hesitate to call our Tucson injury attorneys to have all of your questions about your potential claim answered.
Can You File a Claim Against An Unlicensed Driver?
This may be your only option if no insurance or other liable parties are available. There are several Arizona laws that can affect how a personal injury lawsuit will proceed, so you should seek the advice of an experienced Tucson injury attorney before initiating your claim against an unlicensed driver. The attorney may be able to help you find another liable defendant with deeper pockets, based on the facts of your accident.
What Are The Penalties For Driving Without a License In Arizona?
The penalties can range from a slap on a wrist to harsh punishments including jail time. Many circumstances that lead to a driver being on the road without a license will result in a $120 fine. The driver may have not yet obtained a license, has a driver’s license that is expired, or simply can’t find the license while pulled over by the police officer. However, the driver could also be arrested and charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor for driving without a valid license. The maximum penalties for this class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona are 6 months in jail and a fine of $2,500.
If the driver has a suspended or revoked license, whether because of a DUI conviction or other reasons, the minimum fine will be $572. The driver can also be charged with a misdemeanor in these circumstances, and receive an Aggravated DUI if intoxicated.
Your Own Insurance May Cover Damages If Involved In A Car Accident With An Uninsured Driver In AZ
When insurance doesn’t cover the other driver, your own policy may cover your expenses. You should review your own insurance policy to see if you are covered if this unfortunate situation happens to you. In these circumstances, the other driver would be treated as an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Insurance companies often refer to this coverage as UM coverage (uninsured) and UIM coverage (underinsured). This type of insurance coverage is meant to either fill in the cracks when the other driver’s insurance policy is insufficient to cover your damages, or help you when the other driver doesn’t have an insurance company to pursue. If you do have UM/UIM coverage, you also need to confirm that you have both UMBI and UMPD. These stand for Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury and Uninsured Motorist Property Damage coverage, respectively. UMBI covers physical injuries from a collision with an uninsured or unlicensed driver- medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income, etc. UMPD will pay for repairs to your vehicle, or compensate you for the market value of your vehicle. However, you may not have this type of coverage if you have a minimal insurance policy. Check your policy or consult with a Tucson injury attorney if you have been in an accident with an unlicensed driver.
Can I File a Lawsuit Against An Unlicensed Driver?
Lacking a driver’s license doesn’t make a driver immune from a lawsuit after causing an accident. Instead of listing the other driver’s insurance company as the defendant in your lawsuit, the unlicensed driver would be named as the defendant.
Before sending a demand letter to the unlicensed driver, you will need to calculate your damages. In addition to the damages to your vehicle, you will have additional expenses if you were physically injured in the accident. You may have medical bills, and a serious accident could cause medical conditions that will require long term treatment. In Tucson, your accident lawsuit generally must be filed within 2 years of when the accident occurs, and your medical treatment may not be complete by then.
Another common cost resulting from a car accident is time missed from work. This expense can be difficult to calculate if you aren’t a salaried employee. Your injuries could limit your opportunities in your career field, which is another damage that can be pursued in your lawsuit. This is clearly a complex expense to calculate, best done with the assistance of an experienced Tucson injury attorney.
These damages, along with any other that apply in your case, will be combined to find your pain and suffering damages. This damage is usually calculated as one to five times the sum of the rest of your damages. Your attorney will help you prove why you deserve for a higher multiplier to be used in your case.
Are Unlicensed Drivers Ever Covered By Insurance?
When you think about the process of buying a car and getting insurance, it makes sense that insurance companies may refuse to pay for uninsured drivers. A driver’s license test requires you to prove you know traffic laws and how to operate a vehicle. Dealerships typically won’t sell vehicles to buyers without a valid driver’s license, and insurance companies typically won’t issue policies to unlicensed drivers. The driver may have found some way to get around this and obtain coverage, or the vehicle owner may have an extensive policy that covers unlicensed drivers. This is rare, but applicable situations could be when one driver has an extensive family insurance policy, or the vehicle is insured because it is especially expensive or historic.
Are You Liable If You Loan Your Car To An Unlicensed Driver?
You should always thoroughly review your insurance policy before lending your vehicle to anyone, especially an unlicensed driver. If the driver causes an accident, your insurance will look for any reason to deny coverage. Lacking a driver’s license would be a good reason for the insurance company to do so. If the person who borrowed your vehicle causes an accident and can’t pay for the damages, you may be pursued for compensation by the accident victim and their insurance company.
Call Our Tucson Personal Injury Attorneys
If you’ve been injured in an accident due to an unlicensed driver, it’s important that you understand your rights and the limitations of any applicable insurance policies. Our Tucson attorneys offer free consultations and a guaranteed contingency rate of 25%, which could result in thousands of dollars more of your award going in your pocket. The statute of limitations begins running once you’ve been in an accident, so be proactive and schedule your free consultation as soon as possible.