Legal Question in Personal Injury in Virginia

Unlicensed or Underage Driver

Who would have to pay if I was involved in a wreck hitting an underage driver or a suspended driver? Who would be at fault, myself or the non-licensed?

Asked on 1/26/06, 11:24 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Michael E. Hendrickson Attorney & Counsellor at Law
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Re: Unlicensed or Underage Driver

If you were the cause of the accident, you would be at fault and either you and/or your insurance carrier would have to pay for the damages resulting therefrom.

The mere fact that the other driver may either

have been underage or had been driving on a suspended license would not absolve you from liability unless this person in some way contributed to the cause of the accident.

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Answered on 1/26/06, 11:39 pm
Jonathon Moseley Office of Jonathon Moseley
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Re: Unlicensed or Underage Driver

Yes, I agree with Michael Henderson. However, assuming that you are being charged as causing the accident, the argument that the other driver helped cause the accident would be made much stronger by the fact that they were not licensed or had a suspended license. It would simply make it more believable.

In Virginia law, someone who contributes to the accident cannot recover from the other. THis is called "contributory negligence." It is more complicated than that and one should not jump to conclusions. But it is a principle that is out there to be considered.

But the law would look to what actually happened in the accident, not that they were unlicensed or underage.

It certainly would make sense and perhaps the General Assembly should consider a change that if someone is driving without a license that should be a strong factor in finding them at fault. But I haven't heard of anything like that under the present law. I could be wrong on that, though. I just haven't run across it.

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Answered on 1/28/06, 8:20 am

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