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.
DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.
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.
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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.
A claim for negligent entrustment is the exposire in this situation, and it carries all of the liability attached to the driver.
In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.
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 the fact that we have never met, I have not been aprised of the facts in you case nor have I reviewed any documents.
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 legal opinion or legal advice, because all facts are not available. The person requesting information and all others reading the answer should retain an attorney in your state who can examine the complete facts and provide a legal opinion on your case. All information provided in the above answer and other information provided by Dale Larrimore, Esq., of Larrimore & Farnish, LLP, does not create an attorney/client relationship within any state or under Federal law.
There would be liability if the driver was negligent notwithstanding the lack of license.
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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 thorough and in depth consultation with an experienced attorney. Further, an answer should not be seen as establishing an attorney-client relationship.
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