Unlicensed driving is against the law in Tennessee, but victims still have rights.
There are many reasons a motorist may not have a valid driver’s license, from never getting one or not renewing it to receiving a suspension or revocation from Tennessee authorities. In most cases, the motorist faces a Class C Misdemeanor under state law, punishable by up to 30 days in jail. Class B Misdemeanor charges may apply in a case involving a suspended or revoked license, and the driver may be sentenced to a maximum of six months of incarceration. The penalties can be significant since it is unlawful to drive without a license, regardless of the underlying reasons.
Punishment for the offending motorist may offer closure, but the losses for victims are considerable. However, these penalties provide little consolation to a person hurt in an accident caused by an unlicensed driver. Fortunately, you have legal remedies, and a Nashville car accident attorney can assist with pursuing them. An overview explains why you still have rights even if the person who hit you has no valid driver’s license.
Summary of Your Rights as an Auto Crash Victim
A driver’s license is a privilege extended by Tennessee authorities, who can give and take one away. An unlicensed driver faces criminal charges and possible consequences with an insurance company. Still, a victim’s rights after a car accident are not dependent upon whether the at-fault motorist is legally allowed to drive.
Instead, the key issue is a fault, a concept based on the negligence theory. For purposes of proving liability, you must have evidence showing that:
- The other driver had a duty to exercise reasonable care behind the wheel.
- The motorist breached this legal duty.
- The breach of duty was the direct cause of the collision.
- You suffered losses because of being hurt.
These are considered the four essential elements of a negligence case. You can see that not one of them refers to needing proof that the other driver did or did not have a license.
Monetary Damages for Injured Victims
Compensation in a traffic accident case is intended to make the victim whole and as if the crash never happened, as much as realistically possible. Therefore, the focus is on what losses the victim sustained. Some are tangible and can be measured by dollar value, such as medical surgery, hospitalization, and other treatment costs. Economic damages may also cover lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses.
Other losses are subjective and personal to the victim’s experience. These are noneconomic damages, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other effects on quality of life.
Consult with a Tennessee Car Accidents Lawyer for a Free
To learn more about how the legal process worked when the at-fault motorist did not have a license, please call Bednarz Law at 615-256-0100 or visit our website. We can schedule a complimentary consultation with a Nashville auto crash attorney who will advise you on options.