Tips for managing accidents involving unlicensed drivers, hit and run incidents or uninsured vehicles


In any nation, unlicensed drivers, hit-and-run incidents, and uninsured vehicles present notable obstacles to road safety and the legal system. These occurrences not only endanger lives but also trigger inquiries into responsibility and legal procedures. This article endeavors to offer a comprehensive manual on effectively managing accident cases involving unlicensed drivers, hit-and-run occurrences, and vehicles without any insurance coverage

Who is an unlicensed driver?

An unlicensed driver is an individual who operates a motor vehicle without having the legal authorization or a valid driver’s license issued by the appropriate government authority. A driver’s license serves as an official document that indicates a person’s eligibility to operate a vehicle on public roads and highways. The various reasons why someone might be considered an unlicensed driver are:

For instance, an individual who has never undergone the process of obtaining a driver’s license would be considered an unlicensed driver. Similarly, if a person continues to drive after their driver’s license has expired without renewing it, they are also driving without a valid license.

Someone who has had their license suspended or revoked due to traffic violations or other reasons but continues to drive during the suspension period is another example of an unlicensed driver. Operating a specific type of vehicle with an incorrect driver’s license classification can also be considered a situation involving an unlicensed driver. Additionally, visitors from another country who do not possess a license recognized in the local area are also considered unlicensed drivers if they drive on the roads.

In cases where an individual is below the legal driving age set by their jurisdiction, such as a teenager who hasn’t reached the minimum age for driving, they are an unlicensed driver if they operate a motor vehicle. For example, section 65-sub section 1C of the Ghana Road Traffic Act 2004 (Act 683) disqualifies a person from holding or obtaining a license to drive a commercial vehicle if that person is under 25 years of age.

It’s important to note that driving without a valid driver’s license is against the law in most places, including Ghana. Being caught driving without a proper license can result in legal consequences, fines, and potential difficulties when trying to obtain a valid license in the future. Top of Form

Hit and run accident case

A hit and run incident involve a driver who departs from the accident site without fulfilling their legal responsibilities. These responsibilities encompass aiding injured individuals, exchanging contact details, and sharing insurance information to facilitate compensation for affected parties. Hit and run occurrences can encompass various scenarios including collisions between vehicles, interactions with pedestrians or cyclists or damage to others’ properties. Abandoning an accident scene without providing assistance is considered a criminal offense, carrying potential legal ramifications if the perpetrator is apprehended.

Uninsured vehicle

An uninsured vehicle pertains to any type of motor vehicle lacking a valid insurance policy. In numerous jurisdictions, possessing a minimum level of insurance coverage is obligatory before operating a vehicle on public roads. As an example, in Ghana, the Motor Third Party Act enacted in 1958 mandates that every vehicle owner is required to possess at least a basic third-party insurance policy.

This policy is designed to provide coverage for liabilities involving third parties. These liabilities encompass situations such as injuries, fatalities, death or damage to properties owned by third parties as a consequence of an accident.

Operating a vehicle without insurance not only breaches the law but also exposes the driver to personal financial responsibility for any harm or damages they cause during an accident. Should an uninsured driver be deemed at fault in an accident, they may need to personally cover the expenses for injuries and damages incurred.

Road Traffic Act

The Road Traffic Act is a legal framework that governs the use of motor vehicles on public roads and highways. It outlines the rules, regulations, and obligations that both drivers and vehicle owners must adhere to in order to ensure safe and responsible road use. Road Traffic Acts are enacted by governments in various countries and jurisdictions to establish a structured system for traffic management, road safety, and the enforcement of traffic laws. In Ghana for example, the Road Traffic Act 2004 (Act 683) regulate and governs the use of public roads and highways. Section 53 sub section 1 and 2 state the following with regards to the importance of driver’s license.

  • Except as otherwise provided in this Act, a person shall not drive a motor vehicle of any description or class on a road unless that person is a holder of a driving license authorizing the person to drive a motor vehicle of that description or class.
  • A person who contravenes a provision of this section commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding 250 penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months or to both.

What to do in the event of an accident involving an unlicensed driver, hit and run or uninsured vehicle

  1. Accident reporting In the event of an unlicensed driver or hit-and-run or uninsured vehicle involving in an accident, it is crucial to report the incident to the appropriate authorities immediately. Contact the nearest police station or call the national emergency number to report the incident, providing as much information as possible, such as the location, time, and description of the vehicles involved.
  2. Pursuing medical care: Prioritize seeking medical attention for any injuries sustained in the accident. Your health and safety are paramount and obtaining medical documentation of your injuries will be essential for legal proceedings and insurance claims.
  3. Collecting Evidence: Collect evidence from the accident scene including photographs of the damage, positions of the vehicles and any identifying information about the other vehicle involved. Witnesses can play a crucial role in corroborating your version of events, so obtain their contact information if possible.
  4. Notifying authorities about unlicensed driving: Unlicensed driving is a serious offense in Ghana. If the other party is driving without a valid license, provide this information to the police. This will be crucial in establishing liability and taking appropriate legal action against the unlicensed driver.
  5. Hit-and-Run Investigations: In cases of hit-and-run accidents, where the responsible party flees the scene, law enforcement agencies will conduct investigations to identify the driver and vehicle involved. Your cooperation with the police, providing any available information, and sharing evidence can expedite the process.
  6. Making a claim from your insurance company: If your vehicle is insured, you are required to get in touch with your insurance company and furnish them with all the essential paperwork. This is necessary for them to assess whether the damages / injuries fall within the coverage of your insurance policy.

Do insurance companies provide coverage for accidents involving unlicensed drivers, hit and run incidents, or uninsured vehicles?

Driving without a valid license is both illegal and a display of negligence. The absence of a driver’s license does not inherently make an unlicensed driver liable for an accident. The mere fact that an individual is operating a vehicle without a license does not automatically assign fault in the event of an accident. However, when an unlicensed driver is found to be at fault, complications can arise regarding liability and insurance coverage.

In cases where an unlicensed driver is responsible for an accident, their insurance company might be unwilling to cover the costs related to property damage or injuries. Insurance providers typically do not extend coverage to drivers without a valid license or those with suspended licenses. This leaves the unlicensed driver personally responsible for the financial repercussions arising from the incident. They would be obligated to cover the liabilities using their own resources.

For many unlicensed or uninsured drivers, meeting the financial obligations stemming from an accident can be challenging. As a result, there exists the possibility that the injured party may struggle to recover any compensation for damages. The lack of insurance coverage on the part of the unlicensed driver can hinder the process of seeking restitution for losses incurred. In Ghana for instance, the victims in such instances can fall on the Motor Compensation Fund (MCF) for compensation.

Nevertheless, if the individual affected by the incident holds comprehensive insurance coverage, it might broaden to include the costs of the damages sustained by their own vehicle, regardless of whether the accident was initiated by an unlicensed driver. Should this circumstance arise, the injured party’s insurance company will provide compensation to the injured party and subsequently seek reimbursement from the unlicensed driver.

Motor Compensation Fund (MCF)-Ghana

A Committee composed of representatives from the Commission and insurance companies responsible for underwriting motor insurance oversees the operations of the Motor Compensation Fund (MCF). The primary objective of this fund is to offer a measure of compensation to individuals or their family members who have suffered injuries or fatalities in motor accidents. Specifically, the fund covers cases involving Hit and Run incidents and accidents caused by Uninsured Vehicles.

Furthermore, the MCF plays a crucial role in extending compensation to the general public. This pertains to situations characterized by a Breach of Policy Conditions, encompassing circumstances like changes in vehicle ownership, the utilization of inappropriate driver’s licenses, and instances of driving without a license. Such policy breaches can lead to insurance claims being repudiated by insurers. In these cases, the MCF steps in to provide compensation to affected parties.

By offering financial relief in scenarios involving Hit and Run accidents, accidents with Uninsured Vehicles, and instances of policy condition breaches, the Motor Compensation Fund serves as a safety net for those impacted by these unfortunate events. The Fund’s oversight committee, comprised of Commission officials and insurance industry representatives, ensures that its operations are effectively managed and aligned with the fund’s objectives.

The table below shows the number of awards, total amount of claims paid and the average claim per award from the MCF from 2017 to 2021. For example, in 2020 the total amount of claims paid from the fund was GH¢2,400,000.00.

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
NO. of awards 78 105 191 161 246
Total amount GH¢ 1,300,000 1,200,000 2,600,000 2,400,000 1,500,000
Average claim per award GH¢ 16,369.00 11,439.00 13,829.00 15,112.00 6,159.00

Source 2021 Annual report of the insurance industry of Ghana. Page 26


In conclusion, navigating accidents involving unlicensed drivers, hit and run incidents or uninsured vehicles requires a proactive approach and a comprehensive understanding of legal, safety, and insurance considerations. By following the guidelines provided in this article, individuals can better manage the complexities that arise from these challenging situations. Prioritizing safety, gathering evidence, seeking legal advice and cooperating with authorities are all pivotal steps in ensuring accountability, safeguarding one’s rights and facilitating appropriate compensation. As road safety and legal compliance remain paramount, these tips can offer valuable insights to effectively address and mitigate the consequences of accidents involving unlicensed drivers, hit and run incidents, or uninsured vehicles.


Motor Third Party Act of 1958

Road Traffic Act 2004 (Act 683)

>>>The writer is a chartered insurance Practitioner (CII, UK) and holds a professional qualification in Risk Management (ARM) from the American Insurance Institute. He has over nine years’ experience in insurance, reinsurance and risk management. He is currently a manager at Star Assurance Company. He can be reached via +233249236939 and or [email protected] / [email protected]

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