Teen driving accidents cause a significant number of deaths in California every year. Many teen drivers lack the experience and brain development to respond to dangerous driving conditions quickly. Overall, teen drivers are more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents than nearly any other drivers. If you or your loved one have suffered an injury in a teen driving accident, you may have a right to compensation.
At SoCal Injury Lawyers, we have helped many car accident victims throughout Southern California recover compensation for their injuries. We have a history of winning substantial damages for our clients. Contact our Southern California personal injury law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.
The Dangers of Teenage Driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1,830 teenage drivers died in motor vehicle accidents in 2017. That year, 12 percent of deaths caused by motor vehicles involved teenage drivers. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers aged 15 to 20 — the risk of being involved in a fatal car accident doubles when teens drive with passengers.
Submitting an Insurance Claim After a Teen Driving Accident
Most teenagers do not have the assets to pay for damages caused by their negligent driving. If you’ve suffered an injury caused by a teenage driver, you have a few options for recovering damages. First, you should work with an experienced attorney to file a claim with the teenage driver’s insurance policy carrier.
If the teenage driver crashed into your vehicle, you should make a third-party claim against the teenage driver’s insurance carrier. The insurance company will process your claim and should pay you for your medical bills, property damage, and the cost of a rental car, if necessary. What if the teenage driver doesn’t have car insurance? In that situation, you will need to file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim through your auto insurance carrier.
Keep in mind, insurance companies operate as for-profit businesses. Their agents try to pay out as little as possible to car accident victims. At SoCal Injury Lawyers, we have experience assertively negotiating with insurance companies to ensure that our clients receive the entire amount of compensation they need after an accident. We will advocate for you throughout the process so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
Personal Injury Lawsuits Involving Teen Drivers
When compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company isn’t enough to cover your injuries, you may need to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. All motorists are held to the same legal standard under California law. In other words, teenage drivers will not be able to use their age and inexperience as an excuse for negligent driving.
Every licensed California driver who gets behind the wheel of a car owes every person on the road a duty of reasonable care. This duty of care extends to the teen driver’s passengers, pedestrians, all other drivers, and motorcyclists.
When a teen driver breaches his or her duty of care through negligent or reckless driving, they are liable for any injuries caused by their negligent driving. The injured party has a right to file a civil personal injury lawsuit against the teen driver to recover compensation for medical bills, lost income, property damage, pain, and suffering.
Parent’s Responsibility for Teen Driving Accidents
Most states, including California, have passed laws that may hold parents responsible for their teen drivers. This legal principle is called vicarious liability. When a reckless teen driver causes an accident, the victim of the accident can hold the teen’s parents financially responsible for their injuries.
In California, the teen’s parent or legal guardian must sign the application for a driver’s license. All drivers under the age of 18 must prove that their parent or guardian has signed their driver’s license application. As a result, the parents or guardians of the teen driver are jointly liable for injuries caused by the teen driver.
Additionally, when a parent gives his or her teen driver express or implied permission to drive a vehicle, the parent may be responsible for all foreseeable damage. This rule may apply whether or not the teen driver has a driver’s license. Essentially, the parent may be jointly responsible for the teen driver for paying for all of the damages caused by the teen’s accident.
Succeeding in a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against a Teen Driver
If a teen driver has injured you, you can file a lawsuit against the teen driver’s parents or guardian. There are a few additional elements that you’ll need to prove to recover financial compensation from the teen driver’s parent or guardian.
First, you will still need to prove that the parent or guardian can control or supervise the teen’s driving at the time of the accident. For example, if the teen moved out of his or her parent’s home and was not in contact with his or her parent at the time of the car accident, it will be challenging to hold the parent or guardian responsible. Holding parents responsible for the legal theory of vicarious liability is often advantageous. Most teenagers do not have enough assets to pay for the damages caused by car accidents. Their parents are much more likely to be able to pay for your damages.
Successful plaintiffs in teen driving accident lawsuits can recover economic damages for medical bills, property damage, and lost income. They can also recover non-economic damages for the pain and suffering caused.
Contact SoCal Injury Lawyers Today
If you’ve suffered an injury caused by a teen driver, you need a skilled lawyer. At SoCal Injury Lawyers, we are ready to discuss your personal injury case with you. Contact our law firm today to schedule your initial consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers.