I was Injured in a Car Crash Involving an Unlicensed Driver

/ / Car Accidents
Unlicensed Kansas Driver

On February 19th, 2021,Topeka resident Kathleen Bryson was killed in a car crash that involved an 18-year-old unlicensed driver. The accident was hardly a stray incident considering the fact that as far back as 2010, unlicensed young motorists were responsible for more than 10% of all fatal crashes in the state.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg! According to the NHTSA, nearly 20% of all accidents, and not just fatal crashes, are attributed to unlicensed drivers. Another fact to consider is that a motorist driving without a license is likely to either have just a few weeks of driving experience or multiple driving violations.

So, if such a motorist causes a crash, chances are that he will leave death, destruction, and severe injuries in his wake. Put all of this information and risk factors together, and it becomes vital for everybody who uses Kansas roads to know how the compensation process plays out when the crash involves an unlicensed motorist. Continue reading to find answers to all your questions about this…

Unlicensed and uninsured on the roads of Kansas!

Yes, the car coverage follows the vehicle and not the driver. But, it’s highly unlikely that any insurance company out there would risk selling auto insurance to an unlicensed driver. After all, driving without a valid license is a Class B misdemeanor in Kansas, and an insurance provider would inevitably be supporting the offense by providing insurance to someone who intends to commit the crime.

Now, in the case of young drivers, you may presume that the car must have been borrowed from a parent or a family member (with or without their knowledge), and as such, the vehicle must have the legally required insurance coverage.

Yes, there is a good possibility that in such a scenario, the vehicle in the accident will have the minimum coverage on it. But, a lot of insurance companies protect themselves with a clause that voids the coverage if the vehicle is operated by an unlicensed driver.

And that, once again, leaves the injured party in a lurch! To add to the woes of the victim, unlicensed drivers seldom have the money to pay compensation to the victims, so going to court against them will, in all possibility, get you nothing.

So, is there no restitution available for victims of unlicensed driver crashes?

All isn’t lost! But, it goes without saying that the compensation process becomes far more complicated when an unlicensed driver is involved in the accident. Depending on the cost of treatment, these are the various options available to defendants:

  • 1. Your PIP coverage: Because Kansas is a “no-fault” state, the personal injury protection bundled into the coverage plan of your vehicle will immediately kick in after the incident. If you don’t own a vehicle, but if your spouse/parent/child/sibling (family member who lives in the same house as you) has an insured vehicle, you will be able to claim PIP benefits from their policy.

If you were a passenger in the car that the unlicensed motorist crashed into, you’d still be covered by the PIP component of the vehicle you were occupying at the time of the accident. Pedestrians are also covered by the personal injury protection plan of the car insurance they own or coverage owned by their immediate family. Even with the minimum required insurance, PIP would still cover you for medical bills up to $4500.

  • 2. Your UM/UIM coverage: Assuming that the unlicensed motorist was driving an uninsured vehicle at the time of the accident, you can seek compensation from the “Uninsured/Under-insured motorist” component of your auto insurance.

That would help you tide over another $25,000 in medical bills, even if you have no more than the bare minimum coverage.

  • 3. Owner of the vehicle: Unless the vehicle is stolen, you can sue the insurance company of the vehicle owner for compensation. However, Kansas Laws indemnify the vehicle owner from any liability that may arise from the operation of a vehicle after it is stolen.

But, this does not apply to situations in which the consent to use the vehicle is implied or when the vehicle is used without permission but isn’t actually stolen. For example, if a teen takes his father’s car out for a ride and ends up crashing into other vehicles, the parent/parents will be liable for the damages. In this scenario, if the auto insurance does not cover the accident, the vehicle owner will have to compensate the victims out of his pocket.

  • 4. The business that owns the vehicle or employed the unlicensed motorist: If the vehicle is owned by a business and/or was operated on the instructions of a business, any liability arising through the operation of the vehicle will lie with the business.
  • 5. Other parties that may have contributed to accident factors: If factors such as poor road conditions or alcohol have contributed to the accident, other parties, aside from the at-fault motorist, can be held accountable for the crash and the damages it has caused.

It can turn into one big, messy, and time-consuming affair!

A personal injury claim is rarely a straightforward process, yet, at the least, there is a clear line of causation in which you know that the negligence of certain parties played a role in the mishap. Hence, the defendant has a fair idea of who is liable to pay compensation for the damages.

However, when the motorist in question is an unlicensed driver, meticulous and thorough investigation is needed just to understand who is liable for the mishap and hence the damages. And that calls for the involvement of a highly experienced attorney.

At DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers, our attorneys have decades of experience handling personal injury cases We know how the insurance companies work, and we prepare well in advance for the issues that are likely to crop up.

So, call us in Topeka at 785-888-8888, in Wichita at 316-888-8888 and we will ensure that you are not left grappling with a crushing debt that resulted from the sheer callousness of another person. Remember, every day counts in personal injury claim cases, so contact us today for a free case evaluation.