Liability for multi car accident if driver does not have a license?

by Eduardo
(Laredo, TX)

My son was at a stop light waiting for it to change green when another car rear ended him. When he was rear ended his car was pushed forward and rear ended the car in front of him (which was waiting for the green light also).

My insurance covers only liability, and it only covers me and my daughter. My son is not on the insurance policy because he still needs to get his driver's license. He did not have a drivers license at the time of the accident.

Will that person that rear ended my son cover all damages, even if my son did not have a driver license? Will I be held responsible for the vehicle damage to my car and the car in front? This liability and insurance issue is confusing for me, and any information you can provide would help. Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Liability for multi car accident if driver does not have a license?":

Eduardo (Laredo, TX):

Under the Texas Transportation Code Sec. 545.062.(a), the driver who collided with the car your son was driving should be fully at fault for the property damage and personal injuries your son may have sustained in the collision

Section 545.062.(a), commonly referred to as the "following too closely" statute, holds as follows:

"An operator shall, if following another vehicle, maintain an assured clear distance between the two vehicles so that, considering the speed of the vehicles, traffic, and the conditions of the highway, the operator can safely stop without colliding with the preceding vehicle or veering into another vehicle, object, or person on or near the highway."

You son’s failure to be a licensed driver should not impact the liability of the driver whose negligence caused the collision with the car your son was driving.

However, as the owner of the car you are vicariously liable for the property damage and personal injuries caused by your son. This is the case even though you only carried liability insurance.

Your insurance company can take one of two positions:

First: They will agree to cover your son and pay for injuries and resulting damages up to your policy limits sustained by the driver and passengers in the car in front your son. Damages can include medical and therapy bills, out of pocket costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

If the insurance company agrees to pay, there is a very good chance your insurance premiums will rise substantially, or at the expiration of the policy the insurance company may refuse to renew it.

Second: Under the "coverage defense" clause in your insurance policy, your insurance company may wholly deny coverage because you knowingly permitted an unlicensed driver to operate the vehicle.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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