Driving without a license in Louisiana is never a good idea. Even under the best of circumstances, it’s a crime (unless you’re participating in the state Wallet Program, which we address below).
What Happens If I’m In a Car Accident Without a License In Louisiana?
If you drive without a license in Louisiana, you’re in violation of the law. While this comes with its own set of problems and consequences, it also does not concern the issue of damages (and your claim for them). If someone was at fault for your car accident, they’re responsible for damages to your vehicle and your person.
Driving Without a License In Louisiana
People who operate motor vehicles on Louisiana roadways need to possess and be able to present a valid driver’s license upon an authority’s request. If a licensed driver does not have immediate possession of his or her driver’s license, they are subject to a fine of up to $500. They may also have to spend six months in jail.
- Driving without your license on you when you are a licensed driver is not as severe as driving with a revoked (or even a suspended) license
- Usually, if you are a licensed driver, driving without your license will result in a ticket; it’s a traffic violation as opposed to an outright misdemeanor; many courts dismiss these tickets if you appear in court with your valid driver’s license, but fines are still common
The Louisiana Wallet Program
In Louisiana, you don’t necessarily need to have your physical driver’s license on your person in order to comply with state driver’s license laws. Under the Louisiana Wallet Program, a digital image of someone’s driver’s license presented with their cellphone is sufficient for identification.
Driving With A Suspended Or Revoked License In Louisiana
If you drive with a suspended or revoked license in Louisiana, you are subject to fines, jail time, and an extension of your driving suspension. Driving whilst your license is revoked or suspended is a crime.
What if I am charged for driving with a suspended or revoked license in Louisiana?
Sentencing after a charge for driving with a revoked or suspended driver’s license depends on a few factors. Your license class, for example, and any prior convictions you’ve had will change how charges look.
- Those with class A through C sentences may face a maximum fine of $5,000 and up to six months in jail
- If you have a class D or E driver’s license, the maximum sentence is a $500 fine and up to six months in jail
- Anybody with a conviction of driving on a revoked or suspended license may have their period of revocation or suspension extended for an additional year
Can I Make a Claim If I Was Injured In a Car Accident While Driving Without a License In Louisiana?
Yes. You can make a claim and you have the legal right to pursue and recover damages if you were in a car wreck without your license. A qualified car accident attorney can help you pursue compensation to account for damages such as:
- Medical bills: This includes past, present, and even projected medical bills caused by the accident
- Lost wages: If your accident caused you to miss time from work
- Diminished earning capacity: If your accident diminished the amount of money you can earn
- Pain and suffering: For accidents that have caused survivors physical pain
- Mental anguish: When accidents cause survivors to experience emotional trauma and anguish
What If I Was In A Car Accident While Driving Without Insurance In Louisiana?
Sometimes, when people have questions about driving unlicensed in Louisiana, they also have questions about driving under- or uninsured in the state.
If you are driving a vehicle in Louisiana, you are required to have auto insurance. State law also requires that every auto insurance policy includes uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage.
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage covers policyholders that are in accidents with under- or uninsured drivers
If you were involved in a car accident and you do not have insurance on your vehicle, you still have a legal right to make a claim for property damage and injuries.
Claim Limits and Claim Restrictions if You Were In an Accident Without Insurance In Louisiana
According to La. R.S. § 32:866A.(1)…
- There should be no recovery for the first fifteen thousand dollars of bodily injury and no recovery for the first twenty-five thousand dollars of property damage based on any cause or right of action arising out of a motor vehicle accident, for such injury or damages occasioned by an owner or operator of a motor vehicle involved in such accident who fails to own or maintain compulsory motor vehicle liability security.
In plain English, if you are uninsured and involved in a car accident in Louisiana, you won’t be able to recover the first $15,000 of your injury claim. You also cannot recover the first $25,000 of any property damage claim. If you experienced damages in excess of these amounts, you have the right to pursue and recover damages.
- It’s very important to note that reductions in damages never apply to passengers of vehicles, even if the driver is uninsured or underinsured
Exceptions: Driving Without Insurance In Louisiana May Not Reduce Your Claim
There are some scenarios where, even if you drive under- or uninsured in Louisiana, you still may not be subject to claim limitations. These include:
- Situations and car accidents where the adverse driver is charged with operating their vehicle while intoxicated
- The driver must either plead no contest to the charge or be formally convicted
- Situations involving car accidents that were caused intentionally
- Scenarios where the adverse driver flees the accident scene
- Situations where an accident occurred while the other driver was in the process of committing a felony crime
Were You Involved In A Car Accident While Driving Unlicensed Or Uninsured In Louisiana?
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a car accident while driving unlicensed din Louisiana, the team at Allan Berger & Associated may be able to help. Reach out to us today to speak to a compassionate legal professional about your accident.