What Happens if You Get Into a Car Accident Without a License?

Posted On March 30, 2022 / By Manning Law / Car Accidents

The consequences of getting into a car accident without a driver’s license in Colorado are not as severe as you might think. While you will certainly face penalties for driving without a license, this will be kept separate from your car accident case. Driving without a license is not proof of negligence in Colorado. Find out more from a Denver car accident lawyer about what the recovery process might look like in this scenario.

Penalties for Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License

It is important to always stop at the scene of a car accident, even if you know that you are breaking a rule such as driving without a valid license. Facing a fine or ticket for a license infraction is much better than potential criminal charges for fleeing the scene of an accident (a hit-and-run). The penalty for driving without a license in Colorado is a fine of $15 to $100. If this is not your first such infraction, you will also receive six points on your driving record.

If you were driving on a suspended or revoked license, you can face more significant penalties. You could be charged with a misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. These penalties can change, however, if you lost your license due to a crime such as drunk driving or vehicular manslaughter.

Driving Without a License Is Not Proof of Fault for a Car Accident

Driving without a license will not affect the way that a car accident case is handled by law enforcement or an insurance company. It will not be used against you as proof of negligence or fault. Instead, these are treated as two entirely separate issues – your penalties for driving without a license and the car accident.

Colorado is a fault state, meaning that the person most responsible for causing the car accident has to pay. All drivers in Colorado must purchase minimum amounts of insurance to pay for the car accidents that they cause. You have the right to file a claim against another driver for causing your crash even if you were driving without a license.

Will Car Insurance Cover an Unlicensed Driver?

If the other driver is at fault for your crash, you will be eligible for insurance coverage regardless of your license status. If you need to pursue benefits from your own insurance provider, however, driving without a license could interfere with your recovery. Most companies require valid licenses before they issue benefits. Your insurer may withhold first-party benefits if there is an exclusion on your policy for drivers with suspended licenses, for example. However, if the vehicle was borrowed by someone without a license, the insurance follows the vehicle.

Car insurance companies are for-profit, meaning their goal is to save as much money as possible on claims. An insurance company may use tactics to try to avoid liability for your wreck, such as using the fact that you didn’t have a license against you. Do not allow an insurer to convince you to settle for less than you deserve because you were driving without a license. Instead, hire a car accident lawyer in Aurora to help you negotiate with a claims adjuster.

When Can Parents Be Responsible for Car Accidents Caused by Minors?

If the person involved in the accident is a minor under the age of 18 who does not have a driver’s license, the child’s parents could face vicarious liability for the wreck. The parents’ insurance provider will pay for the damage since minors are the legal responsibility of their parents. Someone could also be responsible for a car accident if he or she knowingly let an unlicensed adult drive the car. For more information about who is liable for a car accident without a license, as well as how to handle this type of case, contact Manning Law to request a free consultation.