Are Parents Liable for Their Teen’s Car Accident?
It is always a nervous time for parents when their teenagers get their driver’s permit and eventually a driver’s license. We all want our sons and daughters to grow up and be responsible and learn how to drive safely. Unfortunately, teenagers get into car accidents often. There are many reasons for this. Sometimes it is inexperience at driving, and sometimes it is caused by the reckless nature of a teenager. There are many teenagers who think that they know everything and nothing bad will happen to them. Regardless of the reason, teenagers tend to get into car accidents more than any other age category, even the elderly. A question that often arises is when your teenager causes an accident, can the parents be held responsible? Are there any scenarios in which a teenager causes a car or truck accident, but the parents are the ones that are ultimately held responsible for the collision and any injuries? This discussion will explore those potential circumstances.
Teenager Driving Accident Statistics
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there are, on average, over 2,000 teenager deaths from car and truck accidents every year. Every year, over 250,000 teenagers are injured in automobile accidents to the point at which they need treatment in an emergency department. Male teenage drivers have over two times the risk of death in a car crash than female drivers. In addition, new drivers who just got their license have the highest risk of an accident.
How Teenage Car Crashes Occur?
The CDC also compiled the major causes of teenage automobile accidents. Here are the most common reasons teenagers crash their vehicles:
- Distracted driving and paying attention to other things such as their smartphones
- DUI; driving while intoxicated from drugs or alcohol
- Reckless and careless driving such as speeding, tailgating, and switching lanes erratically
- Failing to obey the rules of the road and not driving carefully when the weather conditions call for it
Of course, there are many other reasons why a teenager gets into an accident. However, when looking at the parents’ culpability, the main concern is the parents’ knowledge.
When Are Parents Liable for Their Teenagers’ Car Accident?
The most common reason for a parent to be held responsible for their teenager’s accident is when the parent allowed the teenager to drive the parents’ vehicle knowing that, for whatever reason, the teenager was going to be an unsafe driver. There could be many reasons that a parent might know that their son or daughter is an unsafe driver. Here are just some examples:
- The teenager has a medical condition that would prevent them from driving safely, and the parents are well aware of the condition and how it affects their child.
- The teenager requires medication and the parent knows that the teenager failed to take the medication, creating a dangerous situation in which the teenager could pass out, become dizzy, have a seizure, or some other medical emergency.
- The teenage teenager has a history of reckless and unsafe driving, including several prior accidents and several traffic citations for speeding and/or reckless driving.
- The parent knowingly supplies their son or daughter with alcoholic beverages and then allows them to get behind the wheel when they are in violation of the law. In Washington DC, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drive after they drink alcohol, no matter what their blood alcohol (BAC) level is. You could be arrested for drunk driving if you are 19 years old and you had one beer. If the parents knew this occurred and allowed it to take place, they could be held responsible.
There are circumstances in which if a teenager engages in activity that would be considered criminal negligence, versus mere negligence, the parents ultimately could be charged with a crime. If, for example, the parents knew that their child was drinking alcohol or taking drugs or helped them obtain alcohol or drugs and then let them drive, this could be a scenario in which they could be charged with a crime. If the teenager is drunk and drives intoxicated and smashes into another vehicle, killing someone, the parents could also be charged. The parents could be responsible in a civil trial but also criminally responsible in a criminal trial.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help You?
Most of the time, car accidents that involve someone being seriously injured can be complex. It is certainly something that you should not try to handle yourself. The surest way to receive full and fair compensation for your injuries is to hire an experienced lawyer who will fight for your rights. The law firm you hire should have the knowledge, skills, and resources to be able to fully investigate the case and gather all the evidence available. Your law firm should do the following things without hesitation:
- Take photographs of the accident scene and damage to the vehicles.
- Get recorded statements from witnesses.
- Obtain the police accident report.
- Obtain medical records detailing the injuries and treatment.
- Investigate and contact all insurance companies that might be responsible for the injuries.
These would just be the preliminary tasks that your law firm should do when you initially hire them.
Bowie Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Clients Injured by the Negligent Driving of a Teenager
Being seriously injured in a car accident can turn your life upside down. The Bowie car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King will investigate the cause of the accident, and If your injuries were caused by a reckless teenage driver, we will investigate to see if the teenager’s parents should be responsible as well. Our experienced legal team will be your advocate so that your legal rights are protected and that you receive full and fair compensation. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington DC, Alexandria, Virginia, and Bowie, Maryland, we work with clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.