In a perfect world, everyone who drives would be fully insured and properly licensed. In the United States, this is not always the case, and accidents commonly occur with drivers without insurance, without a valid license, or both. Auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm explain how to go about filing an injury claim in this type of crash.
Although the laws vary from state to state, driving without a valid license lands you in a lot of trouble, particularly in Colorado, where it is punishable by a mandatory five days in jail. There are also fines ranging in the hundreds of dollars and extended jail sentences.
Insurance companies estimate that one in seven US drivers does not have car insurance. Legally, just because another driver does not have a valid license does not mean that a claim can’t be filed. The driver may still have insurance, but, more likely, they may have been borrowing the vehicle from a friend or family member.
In almost all states, insurance follows the car, not the driver. So if an unlicensed driver is operating a car illegally and the car is owned by someone else, it is the owner’s insurance that will have to pay the claim. Even if the unlicensed driver did have their own insurance, the owner’s insurance is still primarily responsible. The unlicensed driver will still be cited or even charged, however.
In the unlikely scenario that the driver is both unlicensed and is driving their own, uninsured car, a civil claim could be filed against their personal assets. Generally, dealing with an unlicensed driver is not as big of a deal and having to deal with someone without insurance.
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All insurance companies offer uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, which would protect you in an accident where the other driver did not have insurance. Either way, you should not try to handle the accident claim yourself, as it is very easy to sabotage your case, particularly with insurance companies at play.
Defective Guardrails Making Bad Accidents Worse
The yellow and black rectangles on the ends of guardrails – called end terminals – are supposed to protect drivers who hit the guardrail head-on. An ABC investigation recently revealed that these end terminals are actually malfunctioning, worsening already-serious accidents and injuring, even killing drivers.
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Instead of absorbing the impact or crashes like their supposed to, these malfunctioning end terminals are spearing and impaling cars throughout Illinois. The defective parts are manufactured by Trinity Highway Products, which is now subject to numerous wrongful death and injury lawsuits throughout the country.
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In one of these cases, a federal jury in Texas recently found Trinity liable for fraud for changes made to its end terminal designs. The company changed the part’s design in 2005 without notifying the Federal Highway Administration, which would have needed to approve the change before they could be put onto highways.
The secret design change has had disastrous consequences. A 24-year-old man in Park City, Illinois was involved in a crash that slammed his car into the defective guardrails in 2013. The end terminal sliced through his driver’s side door and impaled his stomach, exposing his internal organs.
There are about 22,000 defective guardrails located on highways throughout the country. Illinois along with 30 other states have suspended guardrail installation until further testing is complete. Our team of auto accident attorneys has been fighting on behalf of injured victims for over 30 years. We provide free legal consultations to concerned parties nationwide, and never charge any fees out of pocket.