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Expired Licenses and Pursuing a Claim

By San Diego Attorney on September 24, 2020

Renewing a license is a common, if annoying, affair that California drivers have to deal with every few years. Sometimes it is as simple as submitting an application online and paying a fee, while other times you have to make an appointment with the DMV, submit new paperwork, and take a test. Whatever the case, getting into an accident when your license is expired can be a stressful and confusing situation. You may assume you are unable to file a claim or that you could face criminal charges by the police. However, you may still have options if you were in an accident when your license was expired.

What if My License Was Expired When I Was Hit?

If you have been involved in an accident, you should always contact the local authorities. Failing to report a car accident can lead to charges of a hit and run, which can lead to a license suspension. Even if you did not have a license at the time of the collision or your license was expired, that does not mean you will face serious criminal charges. Driving with an expired license is only a minor traffic violation, meaning you will only receive a minor citation and fine.

In addition, you should not ignore getting treatment. Your medical injuries are likely serious and should be evaluated by a trained medical professional. While you may be worried about covering your medical bills, your own auto insurance policy may partially cover your treatment through Medpay. In addition, if you do choose to file a claim, you will want to have detailed medical records that support your case.

Will Showing the Police My Expired License Impact My Claim?

Not exactly. In an auto accident, the only elements that matter in a claim are negligence and liability. If the other driver struck your car because they were texting, speeding, or ignoring traffic signs, then they would be liable for your injuries and compensation. Your expired license in no way affected your ability to drive or the actions of the at-fault driver. That means, even if you were driving with an expired license when you were hit, that doesn’t mean an insurance company can deny your claim.

However, after an accident, you will want to quickly renew your license. While the driver’s insurance company cannot outright deny a claim for an expired license, they can attempt to diminish it based on California’s comparative negligence laws. They may argue that failing to renew your license means that you should not have been driving at the time of the accident and were at least partially at fault for your injuries. But your attorney and you can argue around that point by demonstrating that you intended to renew your license, that you had no other traffic violations, and that the other driver still has the majority of fault for acting negligently.

Renewing your license can demonstrate your commitment to abiding by California traffic laws and limit the amount of fault applied to you. When it comes time to file a claim, you can then use the accident report and your medical records to support your case and ensure you receive proper compensation.

Injured in an Accident? Call Us at (760) 630-2000

Receiving compensation from an insurance company is a stressful process, especially if your license was expired. Insurance companies are quick to dismiss injuries and minimize coverage, but with a skilled San Diego car accident attorney handling your case, you may be able to hold them to their policies. After you have filed an accident report and seen a doctor, reach out to jD LAW. We can review your claim in a free case evaluation and advocate for your right to compensation. Call us at (760) 630-2000 and learn how our legal team can represent you in an auto accident claim.

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Posted in: Car Accidents

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James N. Dicks
jD LAW, P.C.

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If you feel uncomfortable with an in-person meeting due to the recent surge in COVID-19, our office is offering remote appointments via phone and Zoom. Please call or email us to set up your appointment.

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