Being involved in a crash under any circumstance is a stressful experience. Medical expenses, lost wages and other related damages can quickly start to mount. If the other party involved was driving without a valid license, it can make the situation even more overwhelming. You may be wondering how your damages will be covered and whether he or she has adequate auto insurance.
Even if the other driver has no license, it is important to be informed of your rights and the legal options that may be available to you in these cases.
An Oshkosh-based auto accident lawyer from our firm is ready to determine if you have a valid claim for compensation. We offer initial consultations at no cost to you and no upfront fees to use our services.
Operating a Motor Vehicle in Wisconsin
It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle without a valid license. In Wisconsin, driving on a suspended license will result in a forfeiture of $50 to $200 while driving on a revoked license could result in a fine up to $2,500 and/or up to one year in jail. Other possible penalties could include vehicle impoundment and suspension of one’s driving privileges.
Wisconsin law also states that a driver who has a license but was not in possession of the license at the time of an accident could face a $200 forfeiture. Any subsequent offenses may result in additional fines or jail time especially if this offense causes serious injury or death.
Liability in Accidents with Unlicensed Drivers
If the other party is at fault, his or her insurance company is generally responsible for paying a claim. Wisconsin follows a traditional fault-based system when it comes to liability for damages in a crash.
However, an unlicensed driver may not be covered by auto insurance. If the other driver had his or license suspended or revoked, his or her insurance company could deny coverage and refuse to settle a claim. You may need to go through your uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, which is available on all policies as it is a mandatory coverage in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin drivers are required to carry at least $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident of uninsured motorist coverage to help take care of bodily injury type damages. However, there are still instances where an unlicensed driver has insurance coverage available through the vehicle they were operating or through another vehicle that is insured in their same household.
What if the car being driven by the unlicensed driver was borrowed? Insurance typically follows the car and not the driver. This means that if the unlicensed driver caused the crash while driving someone else’s insured car with permission, then that policy could help cover your damages. If the unlicensed driver was operating the vehicle without permission of the owner, your best and perhaps only option may be pursuing your own UM coverage.
Pursuing Legal Action Against an Unlicensed Driver
If you sustained serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the other party. However, the burden of proof will be on you to establish negligence caused or contributed to the crash.
Operating a motor vehicle without a valid license is not inherently negligent. The other party must have been driving while distracted, speeding or under the influence or engaged in some other form of negligence. There are many factors to consider when determining fault, liability and potential insurance coverage.
We recommend working with an experienced lawyer who can advocate on your behalf. Our lawyers can help gather evidence showing that the other party owed you a duty of care to keep you from harm and this duty was breached in some way, which led to you being injured and suffering damages.
Get Qualified Legal Help at Sigman Janssen
If you have been involved in a crash with an unlicensed driver, our lawyers at Sigman Janssen are prepared to work hard to pursue the maximum compensation possible for your injuries and damages. To date, we have recovered millions of dollars for our clients, including car accident victims.
Discuss your situation and learn more about your rights in a free legal consultation. There is no obligation to retain our services and no upfront fees unless we obtain compensation on your behalf.
Decades Helping Wisconsin Residents. Make Sigman Janssen your first call. (877) 888-5201.