State law requires all motorists to have a valid driver’s license or learner’s permit in order to drive on Illinois roads. If you were hit by an unlicensed driver, you may have questions about what to do immediately following the crash.
What happens when an unlicensed driver causes an accident is, in most cases, very similar to what happens after any other type of accident. If the collision was not your fault, you will most likely be eligible for compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, auto repair bills, pain and suffering, and more.
In the following article, we’ll detail the steps you should take if you were hit by a driver without a valid driver’s license. If anything is unclear or if you have additional questions related to your legal right to recover compensation after an accident, contact our law office to schedule a free consultation with a Chicago car accident attorney.
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Is It Legal To Drive Without a License in Illinois?
It is not legal to drive without a valid driver’s license or learner’s permit in Illinois. If found to be driving without a license, a driver could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, jailed for up to 180 days, and fined up to $1,500.
If found to be driving on a suspended or revoked license, a driver may face the following consequences:
- First Offense – The first time a driver is found to be driving on a suspended or revoked license is a Class A misdemeanor. This carries fines of up to $2,500, a mandatory ten days in jail, and potential additional jail time of no more than one year.
- Second Offense – The second time a driver is found to be driving on a suspended or revoked license may be either a Class A misdemeanor or a Class 4 felony. Depending on the offense, fines may be as high as $25,000. A second offense also requires a mandatory 30 days in jail and potential additional jail time.
What Should You Do After an Accident With an Unlicensed Driver?
An auto accident can be a traumatizing event, which makes it difficult to know what to do in the immediate aftermath. At Thomas Law Offices, we recommend taking the following actions:
- Assess for injuries and call 911 if necessary. Do not attempt to move anyone who appears to be suffering from a head, neck, or back injury unless their life is in imminent danger.
- If possible, move your vehicle to the side of the road or out of the way of traffic.
- Exchange information with the other driver, including names, phone numbers, and insurance information.
- Contact the police and ask that an officer be sent to document the accident. You’ll be able to access information collected in the police report later.
- Take pictures of the accident scene, including damage to all vehicles, skid marks, debris, and road debris. Make sure your photos document the time of day and any adverse weather or driving conditions.
- Seek medical attention at the emergency room, or schedule an appointment with your primary care physician as soon as possible. Let them know that you’ve been in an accident and need to be evaluated for injuries.
- Speak with an attorney about your options for recovering compensation for your damages.
Illinois state law requires that you notify the police of an accident if there was an injury, death, or $1,500 or more in property damage. However, if you were hit by an unlicensed driver, we recommend notifying the police regardless of apparent bodily injury or auto damage. Creating a record of your collision will be invaluable when it comes time to file a personal injury claim.
Who Pays for My Injuries?
An unlicensed driver is not necessarily an uninsured driver. An unlicensed vehicle owner should still have auto insurance coverage and should list the licensed individual who will be driving it as the main driver. A vehicle owner whose license was suspended or revoked will most likely still have auto insurance coverage on their vehicle, as well.
In the event that you are involved in an accident with a driver who is both unlicensed and uninsured, your best options for compensation may be your own insurer. Illinois state law requires all drivers to maintain uninsured motorist coverage with the following minimums:
- $25,000 per person
- $50,000 per accident
You may also opt to purchase higher limits of uninsured motorist coverage that also provides compensation if you are injured by an underinsured driver. Underinsured coverage may be necessary if you were injured by a driver who carried less than state-required minimum coverage or if the cost of your injuries and other damages otherwise exceeded their insurance policy limits.
In the event that an unlicensed driver is either uninsured or does not have sufficient auto insurance coverage to cover the full extent of your damages, you will file a personal injury claim with your own insurance company. Do not be fooled into thinking they are on your side just because they are your insurer, though. Insurance companies will always prioritize their bottom lines overpaying out settlements, so do not hesitate to contact Thomas Law Offices if your settlement offer seems too low.
Are Personal Injury Cases More Difficult When an Unlicensed Driver Causes an Accident?
A personal injury claim does not necessarily have to be more difficult just because the at-fault driver was unlicensed. The biggest complicating factor is often whether that individual had insurance coverage, if the coverage was sufficient for your damages, and what to do in the event that they were uninsured.
Contact Thomas Law Offices if You’ve Been Hurt in an Accident
When an unlicensed driver causes an accident, you deserve to be fully and fairly compensated for your medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and other damages. Unfortunately, many insurance companies create unnecessary barriers to accessing maximum compensation.
If you were injured in an accident, the attorneys at Thomas Law Offices are here to help. We offer free consultations to all injury victims, and this no-obligation meeting gives both of us the opportunity to see if we are a good fit for your case. There is no need to delay, contact us today to schedule your complimentary case evaluation.