In accordance with Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act of R.S.O. 1990, Chapter H.8, if you get into a car accident in Ontario and do not have a driver’s license, you may face serious penalties, including substantial fines, and vehicle impoundment. However, an unlicensed driver may not necessarily affect the way liability is determined in the case.
While no one should not operate a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license, this factor alone may not automatically determine an unlicensed driver’s liability in a collision. In order to determine liability in any collisions, even those that involve unlicensed drivers, specific criteria need to be met. As such, even if you were driving without a license, you may still be able to recover compensation from the other driver.
You May Face Penalties for Driving without a License
As outlined in the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, unlicensed drivers may face penalties, including:
- Vehicle impoundment
- A fine of at least $100 for a first conviction, or at least $200 for a second conviction
If your driver’s license has been suspended due to a previous violation of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, and you are caught driving, you may face additional penalties, including:
- Fines between $200 and $1,000
- Up to six months in jail
- Further license suspension
Driving without a License May Not Affect Liability
Although you may face penalties for driving without a license, if you were injured in a collision caused by another driver’s negligence, you may still be able to recover compensation for damages you sustained as a result of the car accident. This is true of both no-fault claims for accident benefits and liability-based claims. Liability in a car accident is determined by the province’s Fault Determination Rules, not the status of your license.
If these rules determine that the other driver’s negligence was primarily responsible for your accident, even if you were driving without a license, you may be able to pursue legal action through a tort claim. In these situations, a car accident lawyer may be able to help you recover the costs you incurred as a result of injuries you sustained in your accident.
How a Lawyer May Be Able to Help Unlicensed Drivers
If you sustained injuries in a car accident in Ontario, even if you did not have a valid driver’s license at the time of the accident, a lawyer may be able to help you determine if you’re eligible to pursue a liability-based claim. A lawyer may be able to evaluate your car accident case and provide advice on the various legal options that may be available to you.
Car accident victims may have only two years to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for their accidents, per Justice Statute Law Amendment Act, 2002, S.O. 2002, c. 24 – Bill 213. Preszler Injury Lawyers may be able to help you pursue legal action today, even if you did not hold a valid license at the time of your accident. To discuss the circumstances of your collision, call Preszler Injury Lawyers at 1-800-JUSTICE for a free, initial consultation.