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Are Parents Responsible for Their Teenager’s Car Accident?

Are Parents Responsible for Their Teenager’s Car Accident?

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Driving for the first time is pretty exciting for a teenager, but not so for parents. Most parents get terrified when their teenage children start driving. Their fears are understandable, as studies show that teenager car crashes make up the majority of road accidents.

One such study conducted by the CDC, shows that in 2011, 2650 teenager drivers aged between 16 to 19 were involved in fatal car accidents. In the same year, 292,000 teenagers in the same age group ended up in emergency rooms with injuries sustained from car crashes.

For parents, an accident situation gets even more complicated when it comes to determining fault. Granted, you don’t want your child to get into legal trouble, but you also don’t want to wake up one day to find that the actions of your teenager have cost you, legally and financially. But a lot of parents whose children have caused car wrecks, find themselves in this exact situation.

Below are a few things to know as parents with teen drivers :

  1. Parents obligation under the “Family Purpose Doctrine”

The “Family Purpose Doctrine” argues that as a parent, you are the head of your family, just like a boss of an employee, and therefore, you assume responsibility and control over your teenager’s behavior.

If you know that your teenager has reckless tendencies and can behave irresponsibly behind the wheel, it’s your duty to make sure that doesn’t happen. The best thing is to hide or lock the keys in a safe place.  

  1. Does placing your teenager’s name on all vehicle documentation waive your legal liability?

No, you will still be responsible for any accidents your teen gets into, regardless if all documents are in their name, until your teen turns 18.

  1. Who’s responsible if your teenager uses your car with your permission?

If your teenager has permission to use your car and ends up in a car wreck, the legal liability lies with you. If you entrust your car to a teenager who has a history of teenager car accidents, you’ll be responsible for “negligent entrustment.”

  1. If your teenager wrecks a friend’s car, who’s responsible?

If your teenager is driving a friend’s car, the person who owns the car has “vicarious liability,” meaning they will be held legally responsible for the incident.

  1. What happens if your uninsured teenager causes an accident?

In this case, the injured driver can decide to sue you or your teenager. Even if the other driver has cover for accidents caused by uninsured drivers, they might still try to sue for injuries.

In summary, even though a teenager has a license to drive, a parent’s responsibility for teenage drivers is still very huge. If your teenager is reckless and unfit to drive, do not allow them to drive as the financial and legal liability will be yours.

If your teenager has been injured in a car accident, please call Sean Duffy at (914) 879-4550. Also, please visit www.accidentvictimhelp.com to learn more.

This information is in no way legal advice, and does not create the attorney-client relationship. Consult expert legal counsel such as Sean. Duffy to go over your case details to fully answer your questions.

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