Can You Sue If Driving without a License?

I received a call from someone who was hurt when his car was struck in the rear by another car.  He was calling to find out if he could have a case.  He didn’t think of calling a lawyer at the time of the accident because he was driving without a driver’s license.

The caller said that because he was driving illegally and was issued a ticket for driving without a license, he thought that a lawyer would not represent him.  I asked him, if you had a license at the time of the accident, would that have prevented the accident?

Someone could be driving without a valid license for various reasons such as because it was valid but left at home; was suspended or revoked; the operator failed to renew it; or the operator never obtained a license.

Some people think that an unlicensed operator could not file a lawsuit because had the driver obeyed the law, he would not be in that place at that time and the accident could never have happened.  However, the only issue is whether the other driver is at fault.  This caller’s injuries were 100% caused by someone else’s negligence when his car, which was stopped at a red light, was hit in the rear by another car.  The caller is entitled to be compensated for his injuries.

If the injured driver previously had a license which was expired, suspended or revoked and did not have a valid license at the time of the accident, the lack of a valid license should have no bearing on the accident or his right to compensation for injuries because an argument could not be made that the driver did not have adequate training to operate a motor vehicle.  Only contributory negligence, if any, could be considered.

If a driver had never been issued a license, it would only become an issue if lack of training had anything to do with the accident.  It would be considered contributory negligence, similar to the failure to wear a seat belt.

If you have been hurt in a car or motorcycle accident in which you were operating without a valid license, please call a lawyer immediately.