Chain | Cohn | Clark on Accidents With Unlicensed Drivers

May 23, 2022 | Article by Chain | Cohn | Clark staff

Chain | Cohn | Clark on Accidents With Unlicensed Drivers

Obtaining a Car Accident Report in California 

You may have been injured in a car accident. Or perhaps your parent or guardian is the injured party. Assuming the California Highway Patrol was on the scene to investigate the accident, you can request a copy of the report. 

Obtaining a car accident report for your accident is crucial to the success of any personal injury or property damage claim in the state of California. Nothing can be proven about your accident without such a report. 

Prove Your Presence

Police officials are trained to investigate car accidents. They are also trained to take down all contact information for anyone involved with the crash. This includes passengers, drivers, and witnesses, such as nearby pedestrians and cyclists. 

If, for whatever reason, your name isn’t mentioned in the accident report, a defense attorney can make the case that you weren’t present at the site of the accident. 

You should call the police to the scene of your accident immediately by dialing 9-1-1. If you or anyone has been injured, you should also ensure that paramedics are on their way. They will create their own report, which can also serve as evidence in court, if necessary. 

Receiving Your Accident Report

For a fee of $10, you can request your accident report in person or through the mail from your local Highway Patrol office. 

Use California’s Highway Patrol’s Application for Release of Information CHP 190. You’ll need to provide:

  • The date of the accident
  • The location of the accident
  • The names of the drivers or owners of the vehicle
  • The party of interest

In order to receive your copy by mail, you must enclose a money order or a $10 check with your request in addition to a copy of your driver’s license. It may take up to 14 days for you to receive the report.

Once again, make the sure you always call the police to any accident. If you’ve been injured, ensure that paramedics are being sent with the police. Do not let anyone talk you out of calling the police. 

If someone tries to flee the accident, get their license number, if possible—and so long as doing so doesn’t require you to leave the accident scene. The accident report is vital to any future legal case you may pursue. 

The CHP 555 Traffic Collision Report

The official title for an accident report in California is a CHP 555 Traffic Collision Report. If for some reason a police officer did not arrive to the scene, you can fill out a SR-1 Report of Traffic Accident within 10 days of the accident if there was more than $1,000 in damage or someone was injured or killed. 

An Unlicensed Driver Causes a Car Accident…

There are few things more frustrating than getting into an accident, only to learn the other driver didn’t have a proper license. If this is the case, there’s a good chance they don’t have insurance coverage on their vehicle either. This happens more often than you might expect in California. 

You may automatically assume that an unlicensed driver is the liable party in the accident, but it doesn’t always work out that way. What happens if you were at fault? What if the car they used was borrowed? These are important questions that we will answer below.

Unlicensed Driver’s Liability

If you are involved in an accident and don’t have a license, you should talk to one of our experienced lawyers on the Chain | Cohn | Clark team as soon as possible. Also important to your case is whether or not you have liability insurance, which is required by state law. 

California is an at-fault state, meaning one driver will be deemed at fault. After you are in an accident, if you are the injured party, you can then file a claim with your insurance. This means you can pursue a claim with a car accident lawyer even if you don’t have a license or a valid license. 

You can also be found at-fault if you don’t have a license. In short, driving without a license is illegal, but doesn’t change who is at fault for an accident.

Unlicensed Driver With an Uninsured Vehicle

You need a driver’s permit to purchase a valid insurance policy on your vehicle. There’s a good chance if you’ve been struck by an unlicensed driver that their insurance is also invalid or nonexistent. This means you’ll have to pursue all damages through your own policy and the court system. 

The legal team at Chain | Cohn | Clark is knowledgeable in this field and can help you fight with the insurance companies, including your own. 

Unlicensed and Driver Borrows a Car

This happens frequently in California and across the United States. Sometimes family members will illegally drive a car that they borrowed from a relative. Even if they don’t have a valid license, an associated policy should cover damages owed if there is a collision.

Unlicensed Driver Using a Stolen Car

Coverage will never be in place on stolen vehicles where there was never any permission granted to drive. Occasionally, if the liable driver has a secondary policy, there may be some injury costs recovered. 

Reasons People Drive Without a License 

When you get in an accident, you should always ask for the other party’s driver’s license, registration, and insurance information. Make sure to take pictures of all injuries and property damage, as well. 

If the other party doesn’t have any of the above information, ask them why that is. There are many reasons people drive without a valid license:

  • Medical conditions that resulted in loss of driving privileges 
  • Inability to acquire auto insurance
  • Too may driving violations on their record
  • Failure to renew license due to age
  • New immigrants to the U.S. who haven’t completed their license transition 
  • Revoked license due to crime
  • Criminal convictions, such as DUI/DWI

There is an increased risk of injury when someone chooses to drive a vehicle without obtaining a proper driver’s license. California’s at-fault stance on liability can leave injured parties without adequate recourse to compensation.

Only a skilled attorney like the ones at Chain | Cohn | Clark can help you in such a frustrating situation. We can help ensure that you recover full and fair compensation.

Protect Yourself During Accident Situations With an Unlicensed Driver

Always take quick action to protect yourself after an accident if you are healthy enough to do so. This is whether or not you or the other driver is licensed. Here are the crucial steps you must take after an accident:

  • Contact law enforcement
  • Exchange contact and insurance info with the other driver(s)
  • Take photos of the damage
  • Gather witness contact details
  • File a police report
  • Get checked for injuries by a medical professional
  • Hire a car accident attorney

The sooner you hire an attorney that specializes in car collisions, the better off you will be. We are skilled in helping you recover damages with as little stress as possible. 

Hire the Best Car Accident Lawyers Today

Were you recently in a car accident? If so, you’re probably injured, confused, and overwhelmed. Or even worse, you may have lost a loved one in the accident. 

Our attorneys are here to support you from the beginning to end of your car accident case journey. We have the experience, expertise, knowledge, and skills to maximize your compensation. So don’t hesitate to contact an attorney at Chain | Cohn | Clark

Our lawyers can get you the information you need and won’t take a dime unless you successfully settle or win your case in court. Call (661) 323-4000 to schedule an appointment today. Be sure to ask for references, reviews, and referrals. We want to earn your trust.