Do you need a valid license to file a car crash claim? If you have suffered a car crash in Augusta, Georgia, you can seek damages from an at-fault driver. Under the personal injury laws of the state, you are eligible to receive compensatory damages for the losses suffered in the crash. A good Augusta auto accident lawyer can help you with filing the claim and recovering the maximum amount of compensation.
In most crashes where one driver is clearly at fault, the claims process is rather simple. However, if you were also partly at fault for the crash, Georgia’s contributory negligence law comes into play.
As defined under Georgia Code Section 51-12-33, you can recover damages only when you are less than 50% at fault for the accident. If your percentage of fault is 50% or greater, you are barred from recovering any compensation whatsoever.
The fault of a given party is determined by considering a number of factors. Whether or not you have a valid driver’s license may also have an impact on the degree of fault ascribed to you after an accident. Here is a look at how the lack of a valid license can affect your prospects of getting damages.
Can I Seek Damages Without a Valid License?
Yes. Legally, there is no problem in seeking compensatory damages for an accident even if you don’t have a valid driver’s license. Similarly, an insurance company does not have any legal reason to turn down your claim solely on the basis that you weren’t licensed when you were operating the vehicle.
This is because the fact that you don’t have a license, and that you were involved in an accident, are treated separately in the legal domain. One fact doesn’t affect the other. If you were speeding and caused a crash, this would impact your claim. Similarly, if you ran a red light and suffered a crash, your odds of receiving damages will diminish. However, the absence of a driver’s license alone doesn’t have a direct bearing on the crash.
Impact on Your Car Crash Claim
If you are filing a claim against an at-fault driver, the driver can argue that you didn’t have a valid license. Legally, this can’t have an effect on your ability to recover damages. But if the driver can show that the lack of license was also related to your poor driving abilities which contributed to the accident, your claim will be affected.
Specifically, if the other party shows that you were guilty of a traffic violation, and then attempts to connect this to the fact that you don’t have a valid license, the argument may seem powerful.
Still, a good lawyer will be able to help you seek damages regardless of the status of your license. If sufficient evidence shows that the other driver was at fault, you have a valid claim. You may be partly at fault for a traffic violation, such as speeding, but that will not eliminate your chances of receiving compensation. Instead, your compensatory amount will be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault.
Penalties for Driving Without a License
If you suffered a crash while driving without a permit, your absence of license will almost certainly be discovered by the police. Depending on the severity of the crash and your degree of fault, the discovery may cause the police to either fine you or take you into custody. Such an arrest will be solely related to your absence of a license, and shouldn’t impact your car crash claim for damages.
Penalties for driving without a license in Georgia include a fine of up to $1,000. The first offense is legally considered a misdemeanor. In addition, you may also be sentenced to jail for a minimum of two days and up to a year, depending on your previous criminal history. For a second or third offense, penalties include a fine of $1,000 to $2,500 with a minimum jail time of 10 days up to 1 year.
That being said, you can be fined or jailed for a lack of a driver’s license, and still be able to recover compensatory damages in a crash caused by another driver.
Why Hire an Augusta Car Accident Lawyer?
As noted above, things may be a bit complicated when you suffer a crash while driving without a valid license. In such a case, you will need to deal with the penalties for driving without a license while trying to seek damages for your crash-related losses.
Our lawyers at Ted Greve & Associates can help you at such a time. We work with you to ensure that you are able to recover the maximum amount of compensation for your crash-related losses. Get in touch with us now to discuss your Augusta crash claim with our lawyers.