What happens if the victim of an auto accident was driving on a suspended license? 31 Answers as of June 10, 2013

The driver of the car that was hit was driving on a suspended license. Is this a defense for the driver of the car that hit them in civil litigation?

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Bloom Gates Sigler & Whiteleather, LLP
Bloom Gates Sigler & Whiteleather, LLP | Matthew Shipman
While driving on a suspended license may be admissible in court, it depends entirely on the circumstances of the accident, the driver and the reason for the suspension. It is not an absolute defense however.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 5/25/2011
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
That is no defense. May get a ticket and probably will, but that has nothing to do with the injury claim.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 5/23/2011
El Dabe Law Firm
El Dabe Law Firm | Edmond El Dabe
This can be excluded from evidence. All that matters is the negligent party was negligent. The license status of the injured party is irrelevant for auto accidents in California.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/17/2011
Wilson & Hajek, LLC
Wilson & Hajek, LLC | Eddie W. Wilson
Not usually if the other driver was solely at fault and the suspended license had no bearing on the accident.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 5/17/2011
Allegretti & Associates
Allegretti & Associates | James L. Allegretti
No it is not a defense.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 5/13/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    It could act as a partial defense, but that will be up to your attorneys to figure out with you. Speak to a Personal Injury attorney right away. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    No, as it has no relevancy to who was at fault in causing the accident.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Ramunno & Ramunno, P.A.
    Ramunno & Ramunno, P.A. | Lawrence A. Ramunno
    No, it is normally not a defense, unless it caused the accident.
    Answer Applies to: Delaware
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    The Law Offices of Mark Kotlarsky
    The Law Offices of Mark Kotlarsky | Mark Kotlarsky
    Not a good one. You should have a lawyer, however.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Tenge Law Firm, LLC
    Tenge Law Firm, LLC | J. Todd Tenge
    It should not be, assuming liability is clear against the other driver. If the other driver was clearly at fault, then fault and liability won't be at issue. It will be the type of thing that will be the subject of a pretrial motion to exclude any evidence or mention of the fact that the injured party was operating the vehicle with a suspended license.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    No. I once had the issue in trial several years ago. My opponent and I were arguing our point with the court because the jury came back to ask that question. I actually called Dean Gamble who taught both me and my opponent Evidence at the University of Alabama (although he taught my opponent years before me). I caught him in his car, and he explained that it was a "condition," not a causal factor. The judge instructed the jury not to consider it, and we got a verdict in our favor. God bless Dean Charles Gamble and his family. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Mercado & Hartung
    Mercado & Hartung | Stephanie Hartung
    If the driver was at fault he/she will be responsible for the results of the accident. The victim may face criminal charges for driving on a suspended license but he/she will not be held liable for the accident just because of that fact.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O.
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O. | Eric R. Chandler
    Typically, in Nebraska, it will be irrelevant to the personal injury action. You could still face criminal/traffic charges for Driving Under Suspension, but it does not affect whose fault the accident was.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Interesting question; without researching it my initial thought is that it should not excuse the negligent behavior of the at fault driver.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Law Offices of Joseph I. Lipsky, P.A.
    Law Offices of Joseph I. Lipsky, P.A. | Joseph Lipsky
    The fact that the driver of a car which is struck by another car had a suspended license has no relevance to proving who was a fault in causing the accident. The facts of the collision itself, as described by the two drivers and any witnesses, are the critical issues. These issues are precisely why it is important to consult an attorney experienced in handling car accident cases.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Maybe. Depends on the reason suspended. Might have an impact on damages. Bigger question, did the Victim have insurance?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Ackley Law Group, PLLC
    Ackley Law Group, PLLC | Andrew N. Ackley
    Generally, whether or not someone had a valid driver's license is not admissible to prove negligence, i.e. that the injured person contributed to the cause of the collision. It is typically not relevant to causation, and is considered highly prejudicial.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
    Great question. Without doing additional research their are limitations on the right to sue based on several factors. I believe, subject to additional research, that driving uninsured may limit the extent of damages you can seek or deny you the right to sue. This question deserves further research.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    No. The civil litigation is based on the law of negligence. If the Auto accident victim was driving negligently, that would be a defense. However, while driving on a suspended license is illegal, it does not constitute negligence. The fact that the victim was driving on a suspended license may not even be admissible as evidence in the civil trial. Hopefully the other driver who had a license had liability insurance coverage that will pay the damages if that driver was negligent and at fault.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A.
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
    Driving with a suspended license should not operate as a complete defense to an at-fault driver who causes an accident, in most jurisdictions. The issue is whether the defendant driver was negligent and whether his/her negligence caused damages. The fact that the victim could be ticketed for driving with a suspended license should not affect that determination. I would seek an Order from the trial judge preventing any mention of the suspended license to the jury at trial. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/21/2012
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    No. There are some grey areas in violation if statutes, but a suspended license wouldn't bar a case. Call me to discuss.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    David Hoines Law
    David Hoines Law | David Hoines
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/10/2013
    West law Office
    West law Office | Russell West
    Even though that driver should not have been driving this did not directly cause the accident if that person was not at fault. Therefore it will not have much effect on liability.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC
    Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC | Travis Prestwich
    No. Under Oregon law neither the at-fault driver's, nor the injured driver's, license status is an issue in the case.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC | Russell D. Gray
    Liability for an accident depends on whether that driver was at fault (i.e., negligent or caused the accident).
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates | Lyle B. Masnikoff
    You can still pursue claim since you did not cause accident.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    No. License status has nothing to do with whether someone drove negligently.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Allen Murphy Law
    Allen Murphy Law | W. Riley Allen
    Though driving on a suspended license, the lack of a license was not what is called the "proximate cause" or "legal cause" of the accident. The conduct of the drivers, i.e., whether one was careless and the other not careless, would determine the legal cause. Though the other person should not technically have been driving, that would not change the fact he or she was not the negligent party in terms of how the accident occurred. So, the answer would be "no."
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Kirshner & Groff
    Kirshner & Groff | Richard M. Kirshner
    Only if they contributed to causing the accident.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/12/2011
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