Section 56-1-480 of the South Carolina Code of Laws mandates that all drivers have a valid license. However, many people on state highways and roads don’t have a license. Some of these drivers may have had licenses at one point, but authorities suspended them and revoked their driving privileges. According to the SCDMV (South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles), authorities can suspend one’s license if courts convict them of these charges:
- Operating an uninsured automobile
- Driving under the influence
- Failure to file the SR-22 certificate (certifies liability insurance coverage for high-risk drivers)
- Failure to pay one’s traffic ticket(s)
Drivers who are habitual offenders may also lose their licenses. Chronic offenders are individuals with at least three convictions for serious driving offenses or ten convictions for moving violations. The offenses include the above cases and other violations, such as leaving an accident scene, speeding, and reckless driving.
Who Drives Without a License?
Besides individuals that authorities suspend their driving licenses and revoke their driving privileges, these groups of people are likely to drive without a license:
- Teenagers who are too young to get a valid license, or teens who haven’t taken the necessary steps to get a license
- Elderly persons who fail a driving license renewal exam because of age-related conditions like mental or visual impairment
- Individuals that authorities have revoked their license due to a medical condition like seizures
- Immigrants who are in the country and haven’t secured a valid driver’s license (even if they had a license in their home countries)
Vehicle Crashes Caused by Unlicensed Drivers
Stats reveal that unlicensed drivers pose significant risks to themselves and other road users. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety:
- Unlicensed drivers are in 20% of fatal car accidents
- Almost 50% of these drivers have a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) above the legal limits
- More than half of unlicensed drivers try to flee the accident scene
The data suggests a correlation between hit and run accidents, drunk driving, and unlicensed drivers.
Unlicensed teen drivers may pose challenges on the road. Studies indicate that a significant proportion of young drivers in fatal accidents don’t have a license. These individuals often have no insurance, exposing accident victims to financial and legal challenges. You may need a car accident lawyer to navigate the legal issues that emerge when an unlicensed driver hits your vehicle or causes various injuries.
Steps To Take If You Collide With an Unlicensed Driver in Myrtle Beach
Follow these steps if you are in an accident with an unlicensed driver:
1. Stay Calm
An accident can trigger various emotions that you may struggle to manage. However, try your best to be calm. Take a deep breath, evaluate whether you’ve sustained severe injuries, and try not to panic. If you didn’t sustain serious injuries, you could remain at the scene for a brief period to handle some issues before seeking medical care.
2. Gather as Much Information as Possible
Gathering adequate information can help you protect your interests and prove fault. Get the other driver’s name and contact details. Photograph the damage to your vehicle, debris, road marks, injuries, traffic controls, road lines, the other car, and its license plate. You may also note the unlicensed driver’s vehicle make and model. If there are any witnesses, you can obtain their contact information.
3. Contact the Police
Contact law enforcement whether the other driver cooperates. The police document the scene in an accident report. You and your attorney may use this document to prove the other driver was unlicensed and at fault.
4. Contact Your Insurance Company
When you have a copy of the accident report and the unlicensed driver’s contact details, contact your car insurance company and follow the appropriate steps to inform them of the collision. Your insurance company can explain your policy and clarify where you have doubts. They may first determine who’s at fault before continuing the compensation process. Unlicensed drivers may lack insurance. Your policy can protect you if you have an Under-Insured Motorist Coverage (UM) in your auto insurance policy. An attorney can help you interpret and understand your insurance policy.
5. Preserve Records of Accident-Related Medical Care and Expenses
Seek medical attention to ensure you sustained minor or no injuries. Keep records of any medical expenses and care you get due to the accident. These documents can help your attorney if you file a claim against the unlicensed driver.
6. Hire an Accident Attorney
You can hire an experienced car accident lawyer. The attorney can protect your interests if an insurance company tries to trick you. Your lawyer can also explain your options for seeking compensation for damages and help you file a suit. Consider these aspects to choose a reliable attorney:
- Reputation and reviews
- Legal fees and payment plans like contingent fee arrangement
- Customer service
- Staffing and caseload
Unlicensed Drivers and Liability
The first step after a car accident is to determine the party at fault. While the other driver was driving without a license, it doesn’t mean they are responsible for the collision. The driver that disobeyed traffic rules, the right of way, or common sense is liable. For example, you may be at fault if you ignored traffic signals, drove while drunk, or drove while texting, even if the other driver is unlicensed. A car accident attorney can examine your case and guide you about liability.
Getting Compensation After an Accident Involving an Unlicensed Driver
You need a pathway to recover damages if an unlicensed driver caused the accident. You may have these options:
- Unlicensed driver driving an uninsured vehicle: You may get your uninsured motorist insurance coverage to pay your medical expenses and other costs. An attorney can help you bring a claim against the driver, but the driver may lack the out-of-pocket money to compensate you.
- Unlicensed driver driving a borrowed vehicle: The car’s insurance company can cover your damages if the unlicensed driver was driving it with permission from the owner. An attorney can help determine whether the unlicensed driver had permission through discovery, witness statements, and depositions.
- Unlicensed driver driving another person’s car without permission: The vehicle’s insurance company may not cover such an accident, even if the unlicensed driver was responsible. You may make a claim under the unlicensed driver’s insurance policy for another vehicle if they have one. However, the unlicensed driver is unlikely to have any insurance. You may rely on your insurance company for compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are frequently asked questions about collisions with an unlicensed driver:
Can I File a Case After an Accident Involving an Unlicensed Driver?
Yes, you can file a lawsuit. Such a case may be challenging, and you need an experienced lawyer to guide you.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me in a Lawsuit Involving an Unlicensed Driver?
A car accident attorney can protect your interests by gathering proof, presenting your case, managing the process, and handling exchanges among the relevant parties.
What Compensation Can I Get After an Accident Involving an Unlicensed Driver?
You can settle for a sum of money, or the relevant entity, like a court, can impose an amount the unlicensed driver pays for economic and non-economic damages.
If you are hit by an unlicensed driver in Myrtle Beach, find out what you should do. After an automobile accident, contact David Aylor for assistance. with an unlicensed driver. Contact us today to get affordable and reliable representation in Myrtle Beach.