Just Because You Lack a Driver’s License Does Not Mean You Do Not Have a Personal Injury Claim Under Florida Law
A constant worry in South Florida’s large immigrant community is the need for many workers who may not be licensed to drive to nevertheless operate a car to travel to work, take their kids to school, go to the grocery store and all of the other necessities of daily life. South Florida is not like New York or Chicago in terms of having a well-developed public transit network that area residents can rely upon as they go about their daily lives. Because not only having a car, but being able to operate one, is such an absolute necessity of life in South Florida, sometimes individuals may choose to drive without a Florida driver’s license. Whatever the reasons for doing so, whether for previous criminal convictions for driving under the influence or due to the driver’s immigration status, this is technically against the law in Florida.
Even Unlicensed Drivers Have Rights Under Florida Law if Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident
Nevertheless, there is a common misunderstanding that if an unlicensed driver is the victim of an accident in which he or she is not at fault and is injured, the victim somehow has no legal rights because of his or her driver’s licensure or immigration status. This could not be further from the truth. Florida law places a duty on all motorists on the state’s roadways to operate their vehicles safely and with reasonable care. This duty applies regardless of whether or not a person whom a motorist injures is licensed or not or an immigrant to the United States or not. If a driver fails to abide by this duty of care and injures another person, then the injured person has the right to seek recovery against the negligent driver who caused his injuries. This includes damages for pain and suffering, the costs of any medical treatments due to the victim’s injuries as well as any income losses the victim may suffer as a result of the accident. This is true regardless of whether the victim was a Florida resident, was licensed to drive in Florida, was a resident of another state, was a minor, a resident of a foreign country or an undocumented alien living in the United States without a green card or other official documentation. Florida tort law governs accidents on Florida’s roadways and injuries caused to a person by someone else’s negligence, not federal immigration law. Therefore, if you are an unlicensed Florida driver who has been injured in a motor vehicle accident with another motorist, you should consult an experienced Florida personal injury attorney. This is true regardless of what the press may report about accident rates and accidents being caused by unlicensed drivers on Florida’s roadways.
A Victim’s Licensure Status is Not the Legal Issue if an Unlicensed Driver is Injured in an Accident
Simply put, if you are an unlicensed driver, your own licensure status is not the issue at play in a motor vehicle accident. Instead, it is the motorist who caused the accident’s duty to make sure that he or she operates his or vehicle in a manner that is safe for all other persons on the road whether they have a license or not. The fact that a victim may or may not be an immigrant, does not possess a driver’s license person can pursue the claim because the fact that the person is undocumented and has no drivers license plays no role in whether or not the person that cause the accident was negligent. This is not a defense under Florida law that the negligent driver or his or her insurer can use to somehow avoid responsibility for not fulfilling their duty to operate a motor vehicle safely in Florida.
Contact Schwed Adams if You Have Been Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident in Florida
The personal injury attorneys of Schwed Adams have more than 150 combined years of legal experience. If you are an unlicensed driver who has been injured in an accident with a motor vehicle in Florida that was caused by another driver’s negligence, contact the experienced lawyers of Schwed Adams Sobel & McGinley, P.A. Our firm has extensive experience in representing personal injury victims, including those injured in motor vehicle accidents due to someone else’s negligence. Call us toll free at 877.694.6079 or email us today to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer regarding your situation.
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