Will Insurance Cover an Accident on a Suspended License?
No driver can drive without a valid license. That said, some drivers still make the decision to do so. Unfortunately, these drivers put everyone else on the road at risk when engaging in this kind of behavior.
It’s for this reason that drivers have to consider how their insurance coverage varies based on licensure. Whether you have your license during an accident or not, you’ll want to understand what your post-accident financial situation—and legal options—might look like.
Suspended Licenses in Virginia
If you or someone you know loses access to their license, that loss will likely only last for a short period of time. These controlled suspensions are known as definitive license suspensions. The state addresses this kind of suspension in Code of Virginia 46.2-301. This statute suspends the licenses of drivers who:
- Refused to get automobile liability insurance
- Driven while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Received several tickets in a short period of time
- Endangered a junior driver
Comparatively, Virginia also issues indefinite suspension orders. These orders require drivers to perform specific actions to reclaim their licenses. Indefinite suspension orders do not come with a deadline. You can receive an indefinite suspension order if you refuse to:
- Pay traffic tickets
- Pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment
- File an accident report
- Pay child support
- Pay your state taxes
- Purchase automobile liability insurance
Drivers who take to the road while under suspension can suffer additional consequences, to the point where the state may charge drivers with misdemeanors or felonies. That said, drivers who want to restore their licenses can work with their area DMV to pursue license reinstatement.
Fault and Insurance Coverage in Virginia
Accidents in Virginia are addressed through the lens of fault. The state considers each accident based on damage contributions. In turn, law enforcement representatives can assign fault. Insurers then can assign liability and support drivers accordingly.
Some insurance companies refuse coverage to drivers with suspended licenses. Others will reduce a driver’s coverage. In these cases, the driver in question may face significant expenses should they get into an accident without their license. Other drivers, too, may not benefit from comprehensive coverage if an unlicensed driver causes their accident.
Accidents Involving a Driver Without a License
There’s no single way to look at an accident involving an unlicensed driver. While an unlicensed driver may face additional legal consequences for their behavior, those consequences do not impact the role an insurer plays in their losses. Rather, the circumstances surrounding a collision contribute to a person’s post-accident financial standing.
Getting Hit by an Unlicensed Driver
It’s assumed that drivers who take to the road without a license are often underinsured or uninsured. While this may not be the case, a driver’s relationship with their insurance provider influences what kind of financial support they may receive after an accident.
Because Virginia is an at fault state, the driver determined to be responsible for a specific accident will be expected to help the injured party with their recovery. Unfortunately, drivers operating on suspended licenses may have reduced or no coverage, leaving them to face someone else’s post-accident expenses alone.
If you were in an accident with an underinsured driver without a license, you can always discuss your options with an attorney. In some cases, a civil suit may net you the compensation you need to recover. However, comprehensive insurance coverage on your part has a better chance of protecting both you and your property.
Getting Hit as an Unlicensed Driver
An unlicensed driver’s legal options after an accident vary depending on whether or not they have insurance. If your insurer hasn’t removed you from your policy of choice, that insurer can be expected to help you cover your accident-related losses. That said, unlicensed drivers without insurance must bear the brunt of accident-related losses alone.
What’s more, your insurance policy doesn’t protect you from additional legal consequences. Even if you’re not at fault for an accident, law enforcement may choose to reconsider your case if you’re caught driving without a license. In these cases, you can call a Virginia car accident attorney for representation.
Hitting Someone as an Unlicensed Driver
If you’re driving without a license and you hit another person, you may be in trouble. Law enforcement representatives on the scene may charge you for violating your suspension. That said, you do not automatically take on fault for the accident.
Instead, both law enforcement representatives and insurers can consider the circumstances surrounding the accident. For example, if the other driver ignored a stop sign before your collision, they may be at fault for your losses.
In cases where you’re not at fault for an accident, you can rely on someone else’s insurance to cover your losses. If you are at-fault, though, talk with your insurer. If your coverage has been reduced or revoked along with your license, the financial burden of the accident may fall on your bank account.
Filing for Compensation in an Unlicensed Car Accident
The circumstances of an unlicensed accident contribute to your eligibility for financial support. If you can prove that you didn’t contribute to your accident, or that your contributions are less than those of other parties involved, you may retain the right to file for accident compensation.
There are some downsides to filing a car accident claim after an unlicensed car accident, though. The person you wish to hold liable for your losses may not have the means to repay your damages. If so, your suit may not be as effective as you want it to be.
Discuss Your Most Recent Car Accident Today
The legalities of today’s car accidents aren’t always straightforward. Your circumstances may feel even more harrowing if your accident involved a driver with a suspended license.
Whether you’re the driver without your license or not, talk with your insurance provider about your post-accident coverage. The sooner you can protect yourself against financial losses, the better.