Teenagers are high risk drivers. Their inexperience on the road and stronger tendency towards impulsiveness increases their risk of getting involved in a vehicular collision. In the US, vehicular collisions are the leading cause of death for teenagers, according to data reported by the CDC; in 2010 alone, around 2700 teens ages 16-19 died and 282,000 required emergency medical attention from injuries suffered during crashes.
In dealing with the aftermath of an accident, one of the points to consider along with any medical bills and property damage is the issue of responsibility. Are you responsible for your teenager's car accident?
Parents aren't always responsible for what their teen does on the road. But it's an important issue to consider. Because of the complexity of the law and of the circumstances surrounding many car crashes, the following are some of the issues to discuss with an attorney:
1) Was your teen even negligent? Did their negligence contribute to the accident? Your teen may have gotten involved in a collision that wasn't their fault.
2) Was your teen using your car or one that they themselves own?
3) Was your teen improperly supervised? For example, if a teen has a learner's permit and may only drive when supervised by someone 21 years or older, parents or guardians can't permit them to drive on their own. Furthermore, if the supervising parent or guardian was in the car at the time, but was irresponsible about supervision (e.g. they were distracted, sitting in the back seat, or intoxicated) then they may be held responsible.
4) Did your teen sneak the car out on their own? Parents can get in trouble for granting driving permission to a teen driver with a history of recklessness on the road, but may be off the hook if the teen snuck out with the car.
5) Was your teen doing something on your behalf at the time or working for you? For instance, if your teen gets into an accident while grocery-shopping for you (using your car with your permission) or carrying out some work you're paying them for, you may be held responsible.
Important preventive steps you can take as a parent is to supervise your novice teen driver and lay down strict safety rules for the road, including bans on texting and cellphone use while driving and restrictions on which types of passengers they can take with them unsupervised; for instance, transporting passengers under the age of 21 does increase the risk of accidents for teen drivers.
If an accident does occur, you need to work with experienced Anchorage car accident lawyers who will carefully review all the details with you and determine who can be held responsible for the crash. Even if as a parent you aren't held responsible, your teen may be facing lawsuits, various insurance issues, and other repercussions.
Give us a call today to discuss your teen's car accident.