I received a call from someone who was hurt when a car struck his motorcycle and he was calling to find out if he could have a case. He didn’t think of calling a motorcycle lawyer at the time of the accident because he was driving without a motorcycle operator’s license.
The caller said that because he was driving the motorcycle illegally and was issued a ticket for driving without a license, he thought that he would not be able to have a lawsuit. I asked him, if he had a valid motorcycle license at the time of the accident would that have prevented the accident?
Someone could be driving without a valid motorcycle license for various reasons such as: it was valid but left at home; was suspended or revoked; the driver failed to renew it; or the driver never obtained a license, but that didn’t cause the accident!
Some people think that if the motorcycle operator obeyed had the law, he would not be in that place at that time and the accident could never have happened. However, the only issue is whether the other driver is at fault. The caller’s injuries were 100% caused by the other driver’s negligence when the caller’s motorcycle, which was stopped at a red light, was hit in the rear by the car. The motorcyclist is therefore entitled to be compensated for his injuries.
If a motorcyclist did not have a motorcycle license, it would only become an issue if lied about having a license. If the motorcyclist testifies at a deposition or in court that he or she had a motorcycle license when it was only a learner’s permit or there was no license at all, evidence from the DMV can be submitted for the purpose of showing that the motorcyclist did not have a license and lied. The jury could now consider whether the motorcyclist is a liar and whether other testimony should be believed.
If the injured operator of a motorcycle previously had a motorcycle license which was expired, suspended or revoked but did not have a valid license at the time of the accident, the lack of a valid license has no bearing on the accident or his/her right to compensation for injuries.
If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident in which you were operating the motorcycle without a valid license, please call New York motorcycle accident lawyer Phil Franckel for a free consultation at