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Is Driving an Unregistered Vehicle Negligence?

If you've been involved in a car accident that resulted in your injury or injuries to others, and there was a vehicle involved which was unregistered, you are probably wondering the implications of the lack of registration on your case.

Well, if we're talking about a personal injury matter, the analysis is very much like when a driver in an accident is unlicensed. That does happen and, sometimes, it happens due to simple oversight. The rule is well established and long-standing and is outlined in Massachusetts General Laws chapter 90, subsection 9.

There, the law provides that evidence of a vehicle being unregistered is not per se negligence. Rather, it's evidence of negligence. It may be submitted to the jury to support the contention that negligence occured, but it's not conclusive on the issue.

It would be illogical for the simple fact that a vehicle is unregistered to be the only fact necessary to prevail in a case. If that were the case, it would mean that if you were driving an unregistered car, even if it were unknown to you, and someone veered into your lane of traffic and hit you head-on, you would be without recourse against that party.

Likewise, a driver whose vehicle was unregistered would be at fault, even if there were no breach of the driver's duty of care. Meaning, even if that driver was taking the greatest precautions possible and driving objectively safely, that driver would still be considered at fault, even when another driver involved was more careless.

The jury will receive the evidence and will make a determination as to the appropriate weight to assign to it.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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