Many of us who live in Lexington wouldn’t ever envision taking to the road without a valid driver’s license; however, a wide variety of circumstances, which we’ll detail below, may lead to a motorist not securing a proper permit to drive their automobile. This negligence can create quite a dilemma if you’re involved in a collision with one of these vehicle operators here in Kentucky. So, continue reading, where we’ll discuss what happens if you get into a car accident with an unlicensed driver.
State Laws Kentucky Drivers Must Abide By
Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) 186.620 outlines how it’s unlawful for anyone to drive or allow someone else to do so without a license. That same law also describes how motorists must produce that driving permit to a peace officer if requested.
There’s also another law that motorists in our state must adhere to, which is the mandatory insurance requirement. According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, all owners of vehicles registered in the state must purchase and maintain insurance on that automobile to continue operating it on our roadways.
How Often Are Unlicensed Motorists Involved in Crashes?
Previous studies suggest that as much as 20% of all crashes may be attributable to unlicensed drivers.
Additionally, an earlier National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report suggests that perhaps as much as 19% of fatal crashes are to blame on an unlicensed motorist (or one not properly licensed for that specific vehicle).
Reasons Why Drivers Operate Vehicles While Unlicensed
The reasons why motorists may drive while unlicensed are wide-reaching and include the following:
- They have an unlawful immigration status
- They’re subject to a suspension or revocation, perhaps due to a prior drunk driving conviction or failing to show proof of valid auto insurance
- Someone loses track of time to renew it
- A motorist not passing the proper tests to acquire the license
- Cost factors associated with acquiring the license or maintaining insurance
What To Do if You’re Involved in a Crash With an Unlicensed Driver
KRS 189.580 details what a driver’s duty is in the case of an accident, which includes moving a vehicle if it is obstructing the roadway and exemptions to that rule. The law specifies how all motorists involved in crashes in which another party is involved should stop to assess the extent of injuries and render aid. This same law requires motorists to stop if there is apparent property damage as well.
This law also details how any motorist involved in the crash who sees visible damage of $500 or more to a vehicle, injuries, or a fatality, must report the incident to a public safety officer or law enforcement agency right away. If unable to do so immediately, then the law describes how they must file a report with Kentucky State Police within ten days.
This all being said, it’s imperative that you pull over immediately following an accident, render aid, and summon the police and an ambulance, if necessary, to the crash scene whenever possible. After stopping and calling 911, you should do the following as you wait for law enforcement or paramedics to arrive:
- Ask for the other driver’s identifying information: If you’re able and comfortable in doing so, you might want to go ahead and request the other driver’s license, registration, and insurance information or, at the very least, their name, address, phone number, place of employment, and other details, just in case it takes police officers some time to arrive and a driver leaves the scene because they’re unlicensed
- Take photographs: These should be of the crash scene, weather conditions, unique aspects of the intersection or area that could have contributed to causing the crash, perhaps the other driver involved, along with pictures of their car, license plate, documentation they may give you, and virtually anything else that could plausibly be of value in documenting what happened
- Gather witness contact information: As you wait for the police to arrive at the crash scene, it may be helpful to speak with anyone nearby who might have seen what transpired to, at the very least, get their contact information for future follow-up or, if you have time, to also take down a brief account of what they saw
- Move your vehicle outside of active traffic lanes: You should relocate your car, if possible, out of the roadway as per the Kentucky statute referenced above to avoid causing a chain reaction crash that could further damage you or another party’s vehicles or yourselves
- Seek out medical treatment immediately: if you feel that your injuries are serious enough, it’s best to have an ambulance called to transport you from the scene
- Report the accident to your insurer: Most auto insurance companies expect their subscribers to notify them within hours of their crash
Also critical if you’re injured, and you find that the person you were involved in the collision with was unlicensed or uninsured, is to speak with a car accident attorney right away.
Why Speak With an Attorney After a Car Crash With an Unlicensed Driver?
If you’re seriously hurt or a loved one experiences a wrongful death in a crash, then the accident-related costs like medical bills, lost wages, or funeral costs are likely to be costly. Filing a claim with your own insurer is unlikely to cover any outstanding balances you have, so seeking additional compensation outside of that will be important. Generally, that means filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company; however, when you’re involved in a crash with an unlicensed driver, that may not be a viable option.
Even though an unlicensed driver may not personally have insurance, if they’re driving someone else’s vehicle, they might. An attorney may find that you’re able to file a claim with that person’s carrier. If that’s determined to be the case, then the lawyer you speak with can advise you on how to best go about filing a claim with that third party’s insurer.
A second reason to speak with legal counsel is that while you might not be aware that you have special uninsured motorist, med payments, or collision coverage, a seasoned legal professional will be able to look at your most current insurance rider and make such determinations. Each of these types of coverage could come in handy in helping you pay any outstanding bills you’ve accumulated in an accident. Again, an attorney can help you navigate notifying your insurer or filing a claim to tap into these sources of funds.
And if all the above prove not to be valid options for you, other options on the table may include suing the person who struck you in a personal capacity within the local civil court system. The responsibility to prove a case belongs to the plaintiff when civil matters are concerned, so a legal representative can advise you of whether there’s enough evidence to put forward a strong case.
Finding the right attorney who is willing to explore all the different options you might be able to pursue after a car accident with an unlicensed driver can be challenging. However, here at Golden Law Office, our experienced lawyers offer free initial consultations for you to get to know us and learn more about your legal rights so that you can make a more informed decision about what’s the best course of action in your case.
Golden Law is a local, Kentucky Law Firm, attorneys/lawyers in Fayette County, Kentucky, working in the fields of personal injury, auto accidents, car and truck wrecks; medical malpractice: doctors, hospitals & nursing homes; senior living abuse: neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, dehydration, bedsores, catastrophic injuries, and broken bones. If you are considering a lawsuit, call us at 859.469.5000 for a free consultation. We are located at 771 Corporate Dr. Suite 800/ Lexington, Kentucky 40503. We handle cases all over the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We have represented and trained people in major insurance companies & major trucking companies. We have first hand experience and know the ‘inside of the insurance business’ … that’s a distinction that no other law firm can make. We’re Your Advocate. Dale Golden, Laraclay Parker.
How Are Truck Accidents and Injuries Investigated?
What Is a Letter of Protection?