CanI sue the person thatI hit if they didn’t have a driver’slicense or valid insurance?

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CanI sue the person thatI hit if they didn’t have a driver’slicense or valid insurance?

My car hit the person’s car that was in front of me. Actually its because of my mistake but she doesn’t have a valid driverslicense, or car insurance. Can I place a claim against her because of this? The police arrested her for not having a license.

Asked on October 19, 2010 under Accident Law, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First, if someone does  not have insurance, you cannot file a "claim"--there's no insurance to claim against. You can try to sue her, if you think it worthwhile (note: people without insurance often don't have sufficient assets or income to make it worth suing them; even if you win, you might not recover anything). However, liability--being responsible to pay--depends on fault, which in an auto accident is a function of carelessness. The careless or inattentive driver will be at fault; whether that person has a license or not has literally nothing with whether they would liable in a lawsuit, since you can have a license and be careless, or not have one and yet have driven carefully and responsibily. As a general matter, there is a presumption--which can be rebutted, but not easily--that in a rear-end collision, the driver at back was the one at fault, not the driver in front.


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