What Happens if an Unlicensed Driver Has an Accident With My Car in Houston

What Happens if an Unlicensed Driver Has an Accident With My Car in Houston

Navigating the busy streets of Houston is challenging enough, but finding yourself in an accident with an unlicensed driver can turn an ordinary day into a complex ordeal. Whether you’re behind the wheel or the owner of a car involved in such an incident, understanding the ramifications as well as your rights is crucial.

This scenario brings up immediate questions of safety and responsibility as well as legal and insurance considerations that can be difficult to manage alone. Whether you’re seeking advice on how to proceed, looking to understand your rights, or simply curious about the topic, The Callahan Law Firm is here to help.

Contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our car accident lawyers.

Who Is Considered an Unlicensed Driver?

The law requires anyone operating a motor vehicle to possess a valid driver’s license, proving their qualifications to drive. An unlicensed driver could be someone who has never had a license, has an expired, suspended, or revoked license, is a foreign driver without a valid license, or is underage.

Unlicensed Driver Accident Statistics

The prevalence of unlicensed drivers on the road poses a significant risk to traffic safety, as highlighted by alarming statistics. Understanding these figures is crucial for recognizing the scale of the issue and advocating for stricter enforcement and public awareness.

  • 20% of All Automobile Accidents: Drivers without a valid license are responsible for one-fifth of all car accidents in the United States.
  • Approximately 8,400 Deaths Annually: On average, these accidents result in around 8,400 fatalities each year, highlighting the severe consequences of unlicensed driving.

These statistics underline the critical need for stringent regulations and effective measures to prevent unlicensed individuals from driving.

Unlicensed Driver Liability and the Law

When an unlicensed driver is involved in a traffic accident, it’s important to understand that their lack of a valid driver’s license doesn’t automatically make them liable for the accident. Responsibility for the accident still depends on determining which party acted negligently.

In some cases, both the unlicensed and licensed drivers could share liability. Determining negligence and apportioning liability correctly is crucial in resolving claims in the aftermath of an accident involving an unlicensed driver.

Potential Repercussions for the Unlicensed Driver

An unlicensed driver who causes an accident could face all sorts of legal ramifications, including:

  1. Criminal charges: Not only is driving without a valid license against traffic laws, but it may also lead to criminal charges like misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident.
  2. Civil liabilities: Additionally, the unlicensed driver may be held civilly liable for damages or injuries resulting from the accident, which could lead to hefty financial consequences.

In such instances, it’s critical for anyone injured in an accident involving an unlicensed driver to seek legal assistance immediately. A skilled attorney will help you navigate this complex situation, giving you the best chance to receive the compensation you deserve.

What if The Unlicensed Driver is Uninsured?

If an unlicensed driver is also uninsured and causes an accident, the injured party generally turns to their own insurance for compensation. This is where Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage comes into play. UM/UIM coverage is a part of your auto insurance policy designed to protect you if you’re involved in an accident with a driver who either has no insurance or insufficient insurance to cover the damages and injuries they’ve caused.

In such scenarios, you can file a claim with your insurer to cover the costs and damages exceeding any funds that can be recovered from the at-fault, uninsured motorist.

It’s also important to note that car insurance typically follows the car, not the driver. This means that if an unlicensed driver is operating an insured vehicle, the insurance on that vehicle may still cover the damages, depending on the policy’s specifics and the accident’s circumstances.

How to Protect Yourself if You’re Hit by an Unlicensed Driver

unlicensed driver has car accident

If you’re hit by an unlicensed driver, taking immediate and strategic steps is crucial to protect your legal rights and ensure your safety. Consider doing the following:

  • Call the Police: Immediately report the accident to the authorities. A police report is crucial for documenting the incident, especially when dealing with an unlicensed driver.
  • Check for Safety: Ensure everyone involved in the accident is okay. Move away from oncoming traffic as soon as possible. Prioritize safety and medical attention for anyone injured.
  • Gather Information: Obtain the other driver’s name and contact details. If they’re unlicensed, ask for other identification so you know who they are and can file a personal injury lawsuit if necessary.
  • Document the Scene: Use your phone to take photos of the accident scene, including the vehicles, the location, and the license plate of the other car.
  • Find Witnesses: Write down the names and contact information of any potential witnesses to the accident. They can provide crucial statements later.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Even if you feel fine, some injuries may not be immediately apparent even if you feel fine. Visit a healthcare professional to ensure there are no hidden injuries.

Following these steps can help protect your rights and interests when dealing with the aftermath of an accident involving an unlicensed driver. It’s also wise to consult with an attorney and your insurance company to navigate the legal and financial aspects effectively.

Do I Have Grounds to Sue an Unlicensed Driver?

Yes, you typically have grounds to sue an unlicensed driver if they are at fault in an accident that caused you harm or property damage. The driver’s lack of a license doesn’t exempt them from responsibility for their actions. However, just because someone is unlicensed does not automatically make them responsible for the crash.

The key factor in determining your ability to sue is whether the unlicensed driver was negligent and caused the accident. If you can prove that their actions directly led to your injuries or damages, you may have a valid personal injury or property damage claim against them.


What happens if someone who isn’t on your insurance crashes your car in Texas?

The car owner’s insurance generally covers the damages, but rates may increase, and coverage limits may apply. However, the policy may not provide coverage if the driver was unlicensed or explicitly excluded from the policy.

Can you go to jail for driving without a license in Texas?

If you’re in an accident with an unlicensed driver in Texas, there’s always the possibility of criminal charges being filed. According to Texas law, operating a motor vehicle without a license is illegal, and the unlicensed driver may face jail time, depending on the circumstances. Under most circumstances the unlicensed driver will receive a citation rather than being taken to jail.

What happens if you get in an accident with a permit in Texas?

In Texas, if you’re involved in an accident while driving with a learner’s permit, the situation is treated seriously, with obligations and consequences similar to those of a fully licensed driver. The vehicle’s insurance policy, usually under the name of the accompanying adult, will come into play to cover the damages if you are at fault. However, this might lead to increased insurance premiums and potential policy complications.

What is the Texas Transportation Code for driving without a license?

Sec. 521.021: “LICENSE REQUIRED. A person, other than a person expressly exempted under this chapter, may not operate a motor vehicle on a highway in this state unless the person holds a driver’s license issued under this chapter.”

What to do if you’re involved in an auto accident in Houston?

If you find yourself in an auto accident in Houston, taking certain steps in the aftermath is crucial. First and foremost, prioritize the safety of all individuals involved and, if necessary, promptly call for medical assistance. Once safety has been ensured, proceed to exchange information with the other driver, meticulously document the scene, and gather witness information. Additionally, it is imperative to contact your insurance company to report the incident promptly. Lastly, it is always advisable to seek the counsel of a qualified lawyer who can provide you with the necessary legal guidance and support.

Where can I find a car accident lawyer near me in Houston, TX?

The Callahan Law Firm is a reputable choice for those seeking legal guidance and representation following an accident with an unlicensed driver in Houston, Texas. Our skilled legal team offers a wealth of experience in this area, working to ensure you receive the best possible outcome and compensation for your injuries and damages.

Those involved in an accident should not assume they’ll have a smooth journey toward recovering compensation just because the at-fault driver was unlicensed. In fact, navigating the legal process in these situations could be costly and time-consuming without proper guidance and assistance.

That’s why contacting a knowledgeable attorney who can help hold the responsible party accountable is crucial. Reach out to The Callahan Law Firm today to schedule your free consultation.