Learn How This Scenario Is Viewed in Colorado
If you get into an auto accident in Colorado while driving without a license, the situation may seem dire. But if your license has expired because you didn’t have the money to renew it or didn’t have the time to go to the DMV, your lack of a driver’s license will be treated separately from the car accident.
If the accident is the fault of the other motorist, you may get off with a fine or a suspended sentence. The principles of negligence would still apply and you would be able to proceed in the same manner as anyone else. If the accident wasn’t your fault and the other party has insurance, you may have a legitimate cause of action against him, and his insurer would have a duty to represent him. His liability–and your recovery of damages–would not depend on whether you had a license or insurance at the time of the accident.
Suspended or Revoked License
Driving without a license is not the same as driving with a suspended or revoked license. The latter means that your license was legally taken away to prevent you from driving. If you are caught driving anyway, that’s a much more serious offense.
In Colorado, driving without a current valid driver’s license is only a class B traffic infraction as long as you do have a valid license but simply didn’t have it with you at the time of the collision or your license has been expired for less than one year. Driving without having been issued a license is considered a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense. But driving with a license that has been revoked or suspended, known as “driving under restraint,” can result in severe penalties, including jail time of up to six months. A driver who commits a second offense will also be prohibited from getting a Colorado driver’s license for three years.
What to Do After the Accident
As soon as possible after the accident, you should begin to gather relevant information. Obtain:
- Contact information from everyone involved, including drivers, passengers, and witnesses to the collision.
- License plate numbers of all vehicles involved.
- Driver’s license numbers and insurance policy information from those responsible for the accident.
- Pictures of the vehicles and of the accident scene.
If you were in an accident while driving without a license, you should get your driver’s license as soon as possible. Doing so may improve your standing with insurance companies that try to use your lack of one against you.
To recover damages from the at-fault party, you need to file a claim with his insurance company and/or bring a personal injury lawsuit against him. Resist the urge to lie or to refuse to answer questions about not having a driver’s license. Doing so is bound to compound your problems later on and make recovery more difficult.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car or motorcycle accident in Colorado, contact Dan Rosen at (303) 454-8000 or (800) ROSEN-911 to schedule your free initial consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer.