Imagine you’re driving down a street near your home as you usually do. Suddenly, a driver comes speeding in the wrong direction and crashes into your car. Understandably, you’re angry. When you get out to exchange insurance information with the driver, they reveal they don’t even have a driver’s license. Your anger would probably reach new heights. You may wonder if you will have to foot the bills for your vehicle damage and any medical treatment. This article will outline what is likely to happen and what recourse you have.
Circumstances Under Which A Baton Rouge, LA Driver May Be Unlicensed and the Penalties They Face
The at-fault driver who came barreling down the wrong way may have:
- Never applied for a license
- Allowed his license to expire
- Caused his license to be canceled, revoked, or suspended
Driving without a license for any reason is illegal. Under Louisiana Revised Statutes § 32:52, no one should drive or operate a vehicle in the state without a license. Violators can be fined up to $500. LRS §32:415 deals with canceled, revoked, or suspended licenses. Under this statute, a private driver may be fined up to $500 and serve a maximum of six months in jail. Drivers with commercial licenses may be subject to a $5,000 fine and jail time of up to six months. Repeat offenders can face even stiffer penalties.
What to Do If Hit by An Unlicensed Driver According to a Louisiana Car Accident Lawyer
An unlicensed driver in Baton Rouge, LA most likely has no insurance. These drivers help to make up the one in seven drivers in the United States who have no insurance. Typically, the at-fault driver’s insurer pays for your medical bills and vehicle repair costs. However, you may have to pay those costs yourself if the driver is unlicensed and uninsured.
You may not want to hear this now but this is an instance in which prevention is better than cure. The best way to protect yourself against an uninsured driver to have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. State law in Louisiana actually requires everyone with a car insurance policy to purchase this coverage along with liability insurance. It is invaluable in situations just like this. It also helps in other cases where the driver has a license but carries no insurance or too little insurance.
A Louisiana Auto Accident Attorney Will Be By Your Side
You have the right to decline this coverage in writing. However, it leaves you vulnerable when you get into an accident with an unlicensed driver. An uninsured/underinsured motorist policy may cost a bit more. However, think of the cost of medical bills, lost wages, and vehicle damage. These can easily run into thousands of dollars.
You may be wondering if you can sue the driver for personal injury. Louisiana is one of the states which allow victims to forgo the insurance claims process and file a lawsuit. This option is definitely available if the driver has no insurance. However, the driver needs to have enough assets to pay your claim. If your medical bills are high, they may not have enough assets. The average driver isn’t wealthy. That’s why uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance is the safest option.
If you opt to sue the driver, you must remember the statute of limitations. Under the laws of Louisiana, you have one year following the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you do not meet the deadline, you won’t be able to seek compensation for injury or property damage. Even if your case was strong and the driver had significant assets, they would dismiss your claim.
A year can seem like a long time. However, your Louisiana car accident lawyer needs time to gather the necessary documents and build your case. The time can pass very quickly so you need to contact an attorney at the earliest opportunity.
Contact a Louisiana Auto Accident Attorney Today
If involved in an accident with an unlicensed and uninsured driver, contact a Louisiana car accident lawyer. They know the law and understand all the variables. They will help you seek compensation. The attorneys at Louisiana Injury Lawyers are ready to offer you their experience. Call them today!