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Under Louisiana law, everyone who operates a motor vehicle must possess a valid driver’s license. 

However, if you are involved in a car accident and do not have a license or the person driving did not have a valid license, you can still make a claim for damages.

Our attorneys at Kiefer & Kiefer have handled a multitude of auto accident cases and have extensive knowledge of the claims process. We have helped clients who were involved in car accidents in New Orleans, car accidents in Metairie, and just about every other parish in Louisiana.

Are unlicensed drivers in Louisiana automatically liable for an accident?

Unlicensed drivers in Louisiana are not automatically liable for an accident solely because they do not have a valid license. 

Liability for the accident is dependent on the negligence of those involved and whether a person failed to act reasonably. 

As such, if you are driving without a valid license, you can still file a claim if you were not at fault for the accident. 

Similarly, you can file a claim against someone driving without a license if you can show they operated the vehicle in a careless manner to cause the accident.

So I can make a claim if I was injured in a car accident while driving without a license? 

Yes, you can make a claim. As an injured party, you have the legal right to pursue and recover damages – even if you were driving without your license. 

As with any car accident case, an experienced Louisiana personal injury attorney can help you pursue damages such as the following: 

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish

Penalties for driving without a license in Louisiana

However, driving without a license does not affect your ability to make a claim for injuries caused by an accident. You are still subject to penalties. 

Every driver must have a valid license, including a digital image through the Louisiana Wallet Program. 

A licensed driver without the license in their immediate possession faces a fine of $10 to $500 and up to six months in jail

Driving without a valid license can result in a misdemeanor conviction, which can lead to up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $500.

What about driving without insurance in Louisiana?

While driving without a license may not affect your ability to make an insurance claim, driving without insurance can limit your recovery.

La. R.S. § 32:866A.(1) states: 

“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.”

So you will be unable to recover for the first $15,000 of your injury claim and the first $25,000 of your property damage claim if the accident arose out of ordinary negligence

These reductions do not apply in situations where 

  1. the adverse driver is charged with operating his or her vehicle while intoxicated and is either convicted or pleads no contest to the charge
  2. the accident was caused intentionally
  3. the adverse driver flees the scene of the accident
  4. the accident occurred while the other driver was committing a felony crime

Contact Kiefer & Kiefer today

At Kiefer & Kiefer, we have handled many cases of Louisiana car accidents involving a driver without a license. We know what we have to prove to get you compensation despite driving without a license, and we will gather the evidence to make sure you receive what you deserve. Contact us today to get started.