When your child gets behind the wheel of a car, it’s not just their safety that’s at risk, it’s everyone else’s safety. While you may think your teen driver is mature enough to handle driving on their own, they still need to be properly trained and supervised.
In fact, according to Insurance Information Institute data, drivers between 16-19 years old have a higher rate of fatal accidents per mile driven than any other age group. In addition, if you are the parent of the underage driver, you may be held financially responsible for any damage or injuries resulting from the accident. Contact a personal injury lawyer in Chatham to discuss your legal options if you are a parent whose teenager has caused an accident.
Car Accidents Due to Negligence
Fault in a car accident is typically assessed with reference to the tort principle of negligence. The law of negligence is that people have a duty to conduct themselves so as not to interfere with the rights of others unreasonably. If someone fails to meet this standard and causes harm, they will be liable for damages, including payouts for medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and more.
Nearly everyone knows that new drivers on the road are required to exercise more care than most. While these drivers may be inexperienced behind the wheel or still developing their driving skills, they’re expected to follow all traffic regulations, given the same responsibilities as any other driver. Moreover, when a new or inexperienced driver fails to operate a vehicle reasonably carefully, he’s liable for damages.
Vicarious Liability for a Child’s Actions in a Car Accident
In some cases, the parent of a child can be held liable for damages caused by their child. This is called vicarious liability. Here’s how it works: If a parent allows their child to drive and they cause an accident, the parent could be held responsible for the damage caused by their child’s negligence. This is true even if the parent wasn’t driving at the time of the accident but provided the vehicle to their child.
For example, if a 16-year-old driver causes an accident and injures someone while driving with his parent’s permission, his parents may be held responsible for those damages. The reasoning is that parents are responsible for providing reasonable supervision and guidance to their children to keep them safe from harm and avoid situations where they might make poor decisions or act irresponsibly.
If you’re considering taking legal action, it’s essential to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side who can help you navigate the consequences of filing a civil suit and evaluate the evidence available. In addition, they may be able to negotiate an out-of-court settlement for you or pursue legal action on your behalf in court.