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What Happens if You Get in an Accident Without a License in Illinois?

Posted on April 25, 2023

Any person operating a vehicle in the state of Illinois should be licensed, either in this state or in another state. However, there are certainly times when vehicle accidents involving unlicensed drivers occur. Consulting with a Chicago auto injury lawyer can provide insight into your legal options if you find yourself in this situation. Here, we want to discuss the ramifications of operating a vehicle and getting into a vehicle accident without a driver’s license.

Drivers Must be Licensed in Illinois

Drivers must be licensed in Illinois in order to operate a motor vehicle. That is not a surprise to anyone, and this is a requirement in all 50 states nationwide. However, operating a vehicle without a license may be illegal, but it does not necessarily mean a person will be considered at fault when an accident occurs.

The Investigation Process Remains the Same

After an accident occurs with an unlicensed driver, the investigation into the incident will remain the same. Yes, even though law enforcement may write a citation or even arrest the individual without a license, the person without a license may still be able to recover compensation if the incident was not their fault.

Police will always investigate a vehicle accident to determine liability. The investigation should be unbiased, meaning it should not be influenced by whether or not an individual has a license or insurance.

Who Will be Held Liable if an Unlicensed Driver Causes a Crash?

If an unlicensed driver causes a crash, they can still certainly be held liable for the incident. The reality is that an unlicensed driver is unlikely to have insurance coverage. Every major insurance carrier requires an individual to carry a valid license in order to be insured. If an unlicensed driver does not have insurance, it may still be possible to file a civil personal injury lawsuit against them in order to recover compensation for the Internet.

The owner of the vehicle may also be held liable if the driver was operating the vehicle without a license (assuming the driver and the owner are two separate people). Typically, insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver, so if a vehicle owner lets an unlicensed driver operate their vehicle, then the vehicle owner’s insurance carrier may end up being liable for the incident. In fact, it may be possible for a victim to file a lawsuit against the vehicle owner, particularly if they knew that the person they allowed to borrow the car did not have a license.

In the event there is no available insurance coverage from the at-fault party or the vehicle owner, individuals may be able to use their own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage in order to recover compensation. If you do not have these types of coverage, we strongly encourage you to look into adding them to your current auto insurance policy to help with situations like this.

Do You Need an Attorney

If you or somebody you love has been injured in a vehicle accident caused by the negligent actions of another driver, you should certainly speak to an attorney for a free consultation of your claim. Whether you were unlicensed or you were injured by an unlicensed driver, working with an attorney can help bring clarity to the next steps moving forward for your particular claim. If you were unlicensed and another driver caused the accident, seek out options for compensation.