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 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 by not driving without a license, he would not be in that place at that time and the accident would never have happened. But that argument is ridiculous. The lack of a driver’s license is not what caused the accident.
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 he 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 at the time of the accident, the injured operator of a motorcycle never had a license or previously had a motorcycle license which was expired, suspended or revoked, the motorcyclist IS entitled 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