Why would my boyfriend be charged with failure to maintain due care if he had an accident with an unlicensed driver?

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Why would my boyfriend be charged with failure to maintain due care if he had an accident with an unlicensed driver?

He is an owner operator and was involved in an 3 vehicle accident, where a small car slammed on their brakes in front of him. He maintained a safe following distance and was not distracted. While trying to stop his truck struck their car (which suffered little damage) and jack-knifed the truck into the on-coming lane where another semi hit him. The vehicle that originally slammed on their brakes did not use a turn signal, was driven by an unlicensed driver, had no insurance, and the driver fled the scene on foot. Since that car wasn’t even supposed to be on the road at all wouldn’t they be responsible in this case?

Asked on March 17, 2011 under Accident Law, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Two completely different issues:

1) If the other driver was not licensed and did not have the required insurance, he or she has violated several laws and may face legal liabity for that. However, these failures do not necessarily mean that he or she was negligent or careless in how or she drove; for example, an unlicensed driver could be driving in an exemplary fashion and not at fault in an accident.

2) Fault depends upon the level of care in driving, so the issue of whether someone maintained due care is based on the facts of that specific circumstance. Note that it is possible for both drivers in an accident to be careless or at fault, which would affect the outcome of and amount (if any) paid under a lawsuit. For example, say that your boyfriend was in the semi and he locked up his brakes--perhaps he was at fault in not braking quickly enough; in braking in an unsafe manner and locking his brakes; or, if it was his truck, not maintaining the brakes properly. It is possibe that even if the unlicensed driver did many things wrong and was at fault, that your boyfriend was at fault, too--it depends on the circumstances.


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