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What if I Was in a Car Accident and it Was Not My Fault, but I Don’t Have a License—Do I Automatically Lose My Case?

A serious cara crash can happen at any time. The Texas Department of Transportation reports that approximately 720 people are injured in motor vehicle collisions in the state each day. Even if you are a safe, careful driver, you could still end up the victim of someone else’s crash. In Texas, the at-fault party can be held liable for the crash. This raises an important question: Can you still bring a personal injury claim for a crash that was not your fault if you did not have a driver’s license? Here, our Irving auto accident lawyer highlights the key things you should know about your rights and your options if you were involved in a crash without a valid driver’s license.

You Need a Valid License to Operate a Motor Vehicle in Texas

Every motorist must have a proper driver’s license—either from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or from another state. You can be charged with a crime if you are an unlicensed driver in Texas. It is a misdemeanor offense that can result in fines, vehicle impoundment, or even potential jail time. That being said, operating a motor vehicle without a license in Texas does not take away your right to bring a civil personal injury claim. You will not automatically lose a car accident claim based solely on the grounds that you lack a valid driver’s license.

Car Accident Without License

Texas is a Fault-Based Motor Vehicle Accident State

How does motor vehicle accident liability work in Texas? The state follows a fault-based system of liability for car crash claims. In other words, the person—whether a licensed driver, an unlicensed driver, or any other party—deemed liable for the crash is responsible for the resulting damages. Fault is based primarily on negligence, which is defined as the failure to take proper care. Some common examples of negligence that can contribute to car accidents in Texas include:

  • Speeding.
  • Running red lights.
  • Failure to yield.
  • Following too closely.
  • Distracted driving.
  • Drunk driving.
  • Roadway hazards; and
  • Manufacturing defects.

Your Lack of a License Does Not Absolve the At-Fault Party

A lack of a driver’s license can make the resulting legal claims process complicated. Still, you will not automatically lose your case. Just because you were driving without a license does not mean you are at fault for the accident. Quite the contrary, the other driver caused the crash, and they are still responsible. You can still bring a personal injury claim against them and their insurance company.

Remember, in the car accident injury claims process in Texas, the key detail is who caused the crash due to their negligence. If the other driver was driving recklessly, speeding, or breaking traffic laws, they are at fault. Your lack of a license does not change that fact. Even without a license, you still have the right to seek full and fair financial compensation for your injuries.

Fault Can Be Complicated (Modified Comparative Fault Standard)

Car crashes can be complicated. Multiple parties may bear the blame for the same collision. Under Texas law (Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 33.001), a modified comparative negligence standard is used to apportion liability. A person found to be 20% at fault for their own car accident in Dallas County would be liable for 20% of their own damages. They could still seek compensation for the other 80%.

If you are partially at fault for your own motor vehicle collision, you can still pursue compensation from the other party—so long as you are responsible for no more than 50% of the crash. A person who is 51% liable for an accident will be barred from bringing a claim against the other person. As every percentage point of fault matters, it is imperative that every motor vehicle collision is thoroughly investigated by an experienced lawyer.

The Bottom Line: You do not automatically lose your case if you get into a crash that was not your fault without having a valid driver’s license. A lawyer can help you fight for financial compensation.

Speak to an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney in North Texas

At David Sanchez Law Group, PLLC, our Texas accident attorney will protect your rights. If you or your loved one was involved in a car crash without having a valid driver’s license, we are here as a legal resource. Contact our Irving personal injury lawyers today to set up your confidential, no-obligation initial appointment. From our Irving office, we handle auto accident injury cases throughout North Texas.


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