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Recovering from a teen driving accident

We’ve been looking at the issue of teens and distracted driving in recent posts, discussing first of all a recent study highlighting the extent of the problem and then some of the state laws seeking to address the problem. As we pointed out last time, laws addressing the issue of distracted driving are intended not only to keep highways safer, but also to serve as a basis for liability when accidents do occur.

Victims of teen driving accidents can and should seek compensation to cover their injuries and losses. The first place to look for this is with insurance. Teens who are covered by their parents’ insurance should be able to recover at least some costs that way. In cases where the teen driver is not covered or is inadequately covered by his or her parent’s insurance, for whatever reason, it may still be possible to pursue compensation from the teen’s parents, or the owner of the vehicle as the case may be, under a theory of owner’s liability or negligent entrustment. 

Under New York law, vehicle owners can be held liable for deaths and injuries resulting from the negligent use or operation of their vehicle, whether or not they were operating the vehicle at the time of the accident. In order to be liable, the vehicle owner—whether a parent or another individual—must have given permission to the driver to use the vehicle.

Permission may be either explicit or implied, the former referring to situations where the owner directly gave permission to the driver to use the vehicle and the latter referring to situations where permission was granted indirectly in some fashion. Those who seek compensation in such situations should, of course, always work with an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure their case receives the strongest possible advocacy. 

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