Teenagers are drivers who are the most likely to be responsible for a car accident. If you are struck by a teenager who has auto insurance, you will be able to file an auto insurance claim against them just like anyone else. However, the amount you can expect to receive from their insurance provider cannot exceed the limit set by the insurance policy. Since the teen driver is less likely to have assets, you will probably want to seek compensation from their parents with the help of a car accident attorney.
A teenager is liable for any damages resulting from a car accident, but their parents might also be liable. This will depend on the circumstances of the accident. Also, states vary regarding when a parent may or may not be held liable for the actions of their teen.
Some states require that parents sign an application when their child obtains a license in which they agree to accept liability in the event that their children cause an accident. Even in states where this is not required, the state might hold parents vicariously liable for damages that their children have caused behind the wheel of a car.
In most cases, a parent can be found liable for damages if they knew that their teen was a danger to the road and did nothing to stop them. For example, if the teen was drunk and their parents allowed them to drive their car, the courts might find the parent negligent.
Why Parental Negligence Matters
While you may seek compensation for your injuries through the teenager's insurance provider, the insurance provider will only offer a settlement as large as the policy limit. When you sue the child's parent, however, there may be other assets you can pursue to compensate you for your injuries.
To do this, your attorney may contact the parents to find out if they are willing to reach a settlement. Your attorney will assist you in negotiating the settlement. If you are not happy with the settlement offer, another option is to take your case to court.
However, to receive compensation from the parents, they must have legal custody of the teen. If the teenager has turned 18 and the car is legally in their name, the parent might not be held liable. Therefore, it's always important to speak with a car accident attorney about the best options to take.