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What Happens If You Are Struck by an Unlicensed Driver in Illinois

Posted on February 5, 2021 in

Even though it is dangerous and highly illegal, some people drive without a driver’s license. There are many reasons why an unlicensed driver may be on the road; the driver may have forgotten to renew the license, be unable to obtain one, or have a license suspension or revocation on his or her record. If you are in an accident with an unlicensed driver, it is important to take immediate steps to assess the situation and seek help.

Is the Unlicensed Driver Automatically At-Fault?

Illinois follows a fault-based system when it comes to car accidents. If you are the victim of a car accident that someone else caused, you can pursue an insurance claim or lawsuit against him or her. An unlicensed driver is not automatically responsible for an accident he or she is involved in, however.

In order to hold the driver accountable, you or your Chicago injury lawyer will need to establish that his or her actions directly caused the accident and your resulting injuries. For example, a driver who rolls through a stop sign and collides into an oncoming vehicle would be liable for the accident, since he or she violated Illinois traffic laws.

It is also important to keep in mind that unlicensed drivers are unlikely to have insurance coverage. Illinois state law requires all drivers to maintain a minimum level of liability insurance in case of an accident. If the unlicensed driver does not have insurance, you may need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit or file a claim under your uninsured motorist policy. Illinois requires all liability insurance policies to include uninsured motorist coverage with policy limits equal to your liability coverage.

Penalties for Driving without a License in Illinois

Although an unlicensed driver may not automatically be at fault for the accident, he or she may face criminal charges for driving without a license. In Illinois, an unlicensed driver may face Class B misdemeanor penalties for his or her actions. The driver may have to spend up to 180 days in jail and pay a fine of up to $1,500.

What to Do After an Accident with an Unlicensed Driver

The steps you take immediately after your accident will impact your ability to seek compensation for your damages. It is important to seek medical treatment, report the accident to law enforcement, and preserve as much evidence as possible.

  • Call 911 and report the accident. A police officer will visit the scene of the accident and create a police report based on his or her observations, which can help your claim.
  • Seek medical attention and save all documents related to your treatment. You should always go to the hospital after an accident to establish a record of your injuries.
  • If it is safe to move around without further injury, take as many pictures of the scene as possible. Capture your injuries, damage to the vehicles, and any traffic signs, debris, or skid marks around the crash.
  • Exchange contact and insurance information with the unlicensed driver. If there are witnesses in the area, ask them for their contact details as well.
  • If the unlicensed driver flees the scene of the accident, do not chase him or her. Pull over to a safe location, call 911, and write down as many details about the vehicle and accident as possible.

Before speaking to an insurance adjuster, discuss your legal options with a Chicago car accident attorney. Filing a claim against an unlicensed driver can be complex, and your attorney can guide you through the process. Once you receive medical treatment, contact an attorney to discuss your case.