According to teen driver facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drivers in the 16-19 age group are the most dangerous people on the road. These teenage drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal automobile accident as a driver who is over 20.
If a driver who is 18 or older causes an auto accident, the liability issues play out the same as with other adults. But who is liable for car accident injuries caused by a teenage driver? We have provided the answer to this common car accident question below.
Establishing Liability in a Motor Vehicle Accident
Fault for a motor vehicle collision is based on negligence. This legal concept states that drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles in a reasonable manner. Therefore, if the driver violates their duty and causes injury to another person or property, they are legally liable for the damages.
Negligence applies to all drivers, including teenagers. It does not matter that teen drivers have less experience operating motor vehicles. If they possess a valid license and decide to get behind the wheel, they are held to the same standards as adult drivers. Therefore, teenagers can be sued for negligence by the injured party.
In some scenarios, the parent of a teen driver may be liable for the losses their child’s car accident causes. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and wrongful death damages. However, this depends on the laws of the state in which the crash occurred and the circumstances surrounding the collision.
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Parental Liability for Teen Driving Accidents
In New York, liability and automobile insurance follow the car. That means the motor vehicle owner is legally responsible for injuries and damages caused by the driver as long as the driver was using the vehicle with the owner’s permission. Generally, the owner’s automobile insurance is left to cover the damages.
Therefore, when teenagers drive motor vehicles belonging to their parents, the parents are responsible for the damages the teen causes. That means the injured party can pursue compensation from the parent’s auto insurance carrier. While this system of liability addresses most car accidents caused by teenage drivers, there are exceptions.
For example, if the teenager takes someone else’s car without permission, the owner should not be liable for injuries and damages the teen causes. In addition, New York law allows teens 16 and older to own and register motor vehicles in their own names. If the teenager is the owner of the motor vehicle, then they or their insurance provider must cover the accident damages.
Third-Party Liability for Teen Driving Accidents
Whether or not a teen driver’s parents or another owner of the vehicle involved in the crash is liable, an experienced New York car accident lawyer can assess the facts of the case to determine if other parties share responsibility. One common example is determining liability for accidents involving intoxicated underage drivers.
Assessing whether a third party may be held liable for a young drunk driver’s actions is complicated. But a New York motor vehicle accident law firm can provide legal guidance to help you better assess your situation and determine liability. In addition, an accident lawyer can help you seek compensation from liable parties and hold them accountable for their negligence.
New York Underage Drinking Laws
The Dram Shop Act holds establishments that serve alcohol liable for any damages an intoxicated person causes if the establishment knowingly overserved them. Dram shop laws also hold bars and restaurants accountable for serving underaged patrons, including young drivers.
In addition, there is the New York General Obligations Law 11-101. The legal doctrine holds any person who sells or provides alcohol to an underage party liable for injury, death, and property damage caused by the intoxicated minor.
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Let a Car Accident Driver Handle Your Accident Claim
If your teenage driver was involved in a New York car wreck, let the car accident lawyers at Dansker & Aspromonte Associates handle the claim.
Our accident attorneys can evaluate your case, assess your legal options, and determine the best steps to take next. We help car accident victims hold negligent parties accountable for their actions, whether they are teenagers or parents. Contact us now to learn more.