Younger drivers have a duty to exercise resonable care and to avoid causing motor vehicle accidents. In Washington State teenage drivers are held to the same standards as an adult.
It is estimated that on average, for every driver age 15 to 17 killed in a crash, there are nearly two other people who are killed in the accident Teen drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident than any other age group. Car accidents remain the number one cause of death of people 16 to 20 years old.
Legal Rights of Victims of Teen Driver-Caused Accidents
Because of the unique liability and insurance (typically a parent is the insurance policy holder) issues related to car accidents caused by teenagers, victims of the following types of incidents would be well advised to discuss their legal options with an attorney to make sure that they are fairly compensated for injuries, harms and losses.
- Adults injured in a car accident caused by teenaged driver
- Family members of those killed in fatal accidents (vehicle, pedestrian, motorcycle) caused by a teen.
- Teen injured while they are passengers in a vehicle driven by another teen driver.
- Parents of a teen that was killed in an accident caused by a teenaged driver.
- Pedestrians that were struck and injured by a teen.
- Motorcyclists that were injured in a collision involving a teenager.
Teen Driver Liability: What If The Teen Wasn’t At-Fault?
Insurance companies will often automatically place some percentage of blame on the teen, even if the teen was not at fault (because teens so often are at fault). Teens who were injured in a crash should contact an attorney to protect their legal rights and to make sure they are compensated for their injuries.
Young Drivers Are Targeted by Insurance Companies
Teen drivers are more likely to be involved in a car accident than an adult driver. If your teen was involved in an accident that wasn't their fault, they need a legal consult soon.
If you're a parent, you know the worry that comes with having a teen driver. If you're a teenager, you've probably heard lectures about the privilege and responsibility of operating a motor vehicle. If you the victim of an accident caused by a teen driver then you know the frustration that comes with knowing that the collision was caused by an inexperienced driver.
Are The Parents Responsible?
Parents (and parents' insurance) can be held responsible for compensating people injured by their child. The circumstances of the child's acts determine the existence and degree of parental liability. Each case is a unique situation involving various types of negligent or willful acts of children. In civil matters, the most common negligent acts of minors are in car accidents.
Some people are reluctant to file an insurance claim, hire an attorney, or engage in a legal action out of concern for the parents of the teen driver. Auto insurance compensation (settlements, awards, etc.) options are available without necessarily financially damaging the parents of the teen’s parents. To learn more about parental liability for accidents caused by teen drivers get our free report: Teen Drivers & The Law: What Parents Need To Know About Legal & Financial Liability
Why Are So Many Teen Drivers Involved In Car Accidents?
Causes of Teen Driver Automobile Crashes
Inexperience: Teens are more likely to underestimate the amount of time required to safety stop or make a turn. And teens are less likely to recognize dangerous driving conditions. The first 500 miles for your teenage drivers are the most critical. During this time, they are 10 times more likely to be in auto crashes than adult drivers.
Immaturity: When I was a teenage driver I was very impatient and juvenile. I would constantly switch driving lanes, race other drivers, and speed up to 100 mph trying to beat a red light.
Distraction: 32.8% of high school students nationwide have texted or e-mailed while driving. 56% of teens admit to talking on cell phones while driving. Talking on a cell phone can double the likelihood of an accident and can slow a young driver's reaction time to that of a 70-year-old.
Speeding: Nearly one third of all fatal teen car crashes involve speeding. Whatever the reason, speeding is a dangerous habit among teenage drivers and significantly increases their risk of being in an accident.
Friends: Having other teen passengers in the car has been shown to increase the likelihood of high risk driving behaviors among teenage drivers.
Impaired: About 1/4 of fatal teen car accidents involve underage drinking and driving.
Teen Car Accident Statistics
- Drivers ages 16 and 17 are nearly 9 times more likely to have an accident than middle-aged drivers.
- 61% of teenagers admit to risky driving habits.
- Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among teens.