DRIVING WITHOUT A LICENSE: What Happens If I Forget To Renew My Driver’s Licence And I Am Involved In A Car Accident?


There can be significant consequences for those caught driving without a licence in BC, including violation tickets, vehicle impoundment, and Driver Penalty Points. The consequences of driving without a licence are even more severe if you are involved in a car accident, particularly a major accident that causes serious personal injury such as a traumatic brain injury, paraplegia or quadriplegia, or death Let’s examine some of the implications of driving without a licence in BC and how unlicensed driving factors into an ICBC claim for personal injury compensation.

Driving without a licence is a breach of your ICBC insurance policy

A condition of all ICBC insurance policies is that the driver of the insured vehicle must be “authorized and qualified by law” to operate a vehicle. Whether you are driving without a licence because you accidentally missed the renewal date, did not have your driver’s licence properly reinstated after a suspension or prohibition, or did not have a driver’s licence in the first place (for example, by deliberate choice or because you are underage), you are in breach of the “authorized and qualified by law” condition. The implication of this breach is that ICBC can deny your entitlement to insurance coverage in the event of a car accident that causes property damage or personal injury.

Implications of driving without a licence in the event of a car accident

In BC, if you are driving without a licence or if you allow someone who is unlicensed to drive your vehicle, you can be held personally responsible for property damage and personal injury caused to other people in the event of an accident. If you were at fault for the accident, ICBC will attempt to deny you coverage, leaving you exposed to personal liability for damages. Compensation for the most serious accidents that cause permanent impairment, catastrophic injury or death can be valued in the multimillion dollar range.

What happens if I am injured while driving without a licence?

If you are injured while driving without a licence and you caused the accident, ICBC may attempt to deny your entitlement to Part 7 benefits (also known as no-fault benefits). However, you can still bring an ICBC claim against the driver and/or vehicle that caused the accident, regardless of your own policy breach or even complete lack of insurance. ICBC may attempt to deny your personal injury claim by arguing that you were wholly or partially at fault for the accident. These types of claims can be complicated, and the best course of action is to retain a lawyer early in your claim to protect your rights.

Get advice from a Vancouver ICBC claim lawyer

If you have been injured while driving without a licence or have been injured in an accident caused by an unlicenced driver, contact Simpson, Thomas & Associates for help. Our experienced lawyers will protect your legal rights and advise you with respect to your ICBC claim. You or a loved one can contact us at (604) 689-8888 to schedule your free consultation. Virtual as well as in person Vancouver, Surrey/Delta, Burnaby and Abbotsford office appointments are available, (following safety protocols).

By Stephen Ferguson

Simpson, Thomas & Associates