An UNLICENSED driver is fully responsible in case of an accident eventhough is not his fault? How about the owner of the car?

Asked over 1 year ago - Denville, NJ

What is the law regarding responsibility in case of accident when an Illegal person; that has never obtained a driver’s license in the usa, has decided to drive a car on the daily basis? is this person fully responsible regarding if it as at fault or not?. Please keep in mind that the car driven is owned and insured by a different person. How about the owner of the car that intentionally has provided his name in order to register and insure the car under his name just to allow an unlicensed driver operate his car? I have encountered many contradictory answers. Can you cite a case as a reference? Thanks.

Attorney answers (7)

  1. David J. McCormick

    Contributor Level 20

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Accepting your facts as true it appears that the owner and insurer of the car knew that the person they were letting drive the car had no driver’s license. If that is true then you could have a claim of negligence entrustment against the owner of the car.

    If you were injured in the crash I would contact a local personal injury attorney. For property damage, work through your insurance for now.

    Good luck.

    DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being... more
  2. Lars A. Lundeen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Licensure has no bearing on determinations all fault. However, people who ensure vehicles under their name while expecting others to drive the vehicle without a license etc. are committing a form of insurance fraud. You certainly are free to report to the police any drivers you know to be unlicensed.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

  3. Daniel Nelson Deasy

    Contributor Level 20

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . A claim for negligent entrustment is the exposire in this situation, and it carries all of the liability attached to the driver.

    Good luck.

    In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship.... more
  4. Yolanda Navarrete

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . An unlicensed driver is not responsible for injuries if injuries were not his fault.

    Please be advised my answers to questions does not constitute legal advise and you should not rely on it, due to... more
  5. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . There would be liability if the driver was negligent notwithstanding the lack of license.

    Licensed in PA & NJ. 29% Contingency Fee. Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com
  6. Michael David Lindner Jr

    Contributor Level 13

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I am a iittle unsure about your fact pattern but if the unlicensed driver was not at fault - then from a personal injury case standpoiint - there is no claim against the unlicensed driver, nor by extension to the owner of the car under a theory of negligent entrustment. Now, on the issue of insurance fraud, and criminal charges - that is a separate issues, and the driver and owner have some seriuous issues if these facts are true.

    Each case is fact senstive, so all answers should be viewed as general advice only, and should never replace a... more
  7. Dale G. Larrimore

    Contributor Level 12

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Pennsylvania has specific provisions in the Vehicle Code that make it unlawful for a vehicle owner to permit an unauthorized person to drive a vehicle. See below:

    75 Pa. C.S. § 1574. Permitting unauthorized person to drive.
    (a) General rule. No person shall authorize or permit a motor vehicle owned by him or under his control to be driven upon any highway by any person who is not authorized under this chapter or who is not licensed for the type or class of vehicle to be driven.
    (b) Penalty. Any person violating the provisions of subsection (a) is guilty of a summary offense and shall be jointly and severally liable with the driver for any damages caused by the negligence of such driver in operating the vehicle.

    75 Pa.C.S. § 1575. Permitting violation of title.
    (a) General rule. No person shall authorize or knowingly permit a motor vehicle owned by him or under his control to be driven in violation of any of the provisions of this title.
    (b) Penalty. Any person violating the provisions of subsection (a) is guilty of a summary offense and is subject to the same fine as the driver of the vehicle. If the driver is convicted under section 3735 (relating to homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence) or section 3802 (relating to driving under influence of alcohol or controlled substance), the person violating subsection (a) shall also be subject to suspension or revocation, as applicable, under sections 1532 (relating to revocation or suspension of operating privilege), 1542 (relating to revocation of habitual offender's license) and 3804(e) (relating to penalties).
    (c) Indemnification. In cases where a driver of a motor vehicle is required to conduct a pretrip safety inspection pursuant to department regulations and is subsequently convicted of one or more equipment violations under this title, the owner of the vehicle shall indemnify the driver for any fines and costs paid if the specific equipment violation was listed on the driver's pretrip inspection report and acknowledged in writing by the owner.

    I don't know if New Jersey has similar laws or not.

    But the driver of the car is not automatically liable for an accident just because he was unlicensed. The question with regard to the accident is whether or not the driver was negligent and whether that negligence caused the vehicle crash.

    Legal disclaimer: The comments above by Dale Larrimore, Esq. are provided as general information and not as a... more

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.

 

Ask now

24,999 answers this week

2,798 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

24,999 answers this week

2,798 attorneys answering

Legal Dictionary

Don't speak legalese? We define thousands of terms in plain English.

Browse our legal dictionary