Teen Driver Accidents
Although younger drivers may possess quicker reflexes than older adults, teen drivers experience a higher risk of motor vehicle crashes. Teen driver accidents are also more likely to involve fatalities than accidents involving drivers of other ages. The risk is compounded when the car holds a group of teenagers. If a teen driver caused an accident that injured you or a loved one, you should call the seasoned Syracuse car accident attorneys of DeFrancisco and Falgiatano.Teen Driver Accidents
Young people may not fully understand the risk factors associated with driving. Additionally, they may lack the experience to avoid a collision when confronted with an unexpected driving situation. New York is a no-fault state. You can only sue for damages if you meet the threshold for “serious injuries" after turning first to your own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. To recover damages after teen driver accidents, you need to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant: (1) owed you a duty to use reasonable care on the road, (2) departed from the standard of care, (3) in so departing, caused your injuries, and (4) you suffered actual damages.
All drivers, including teen drivers, must use reasonable care to avoid injuring others on the road. Actions that depart from the standard of care include speeding, driving under the influence, tailgating, weaving, racing, and failing to obey traffic signs and signals. If a teenager driver struck your car while texting a friend, you may hold the teenager responsible for your injuries and property damage. Likewise, if your teenager was rear ended by a speeding driver and sustained spinal damage, you could sue the speeding driver for negligence.Comparative Negligence
Under the doctrine of comparative negligence, each party’s fault for an accident will be assessed and their total damages will be reduced according to their percentage of fault. Insurers may be biased against teen drivers. Accordingly, if your teenager was at all at fault for a car accident, the insurer for the other party may be unwilling to pay the full amount of damages you incurred. However, under this doctrine, the other party may still be held responsible for a portion of the damages. For example, if a teen driver suffered catastrophic injuries that required extensive surgery and hospitalization, even if the teen is found 50% liable for the car accident, the other driver who was also 50% liable will be responsible for half of the damages. So, if the losses suffered by the teen driver totaled $300,000, the driver may still recover $150,000.Parental Liability
When a parent allows an unlicensed or reckless teenager to drive his car, it may be appropriate to hold the parent responsible for negligently entrusting the teenager with a dangerous instrumentality. Under a theory of negligent entrustment, a parent can be held liable for a teenager's accident if he knew or should have known the teen driver presented a danger to others with whom she shared the road. For example, if a parent still provides his teenager with a car even though he knows that the teenager drives recklessly and has previously caused an accident, the parent may be held responsible.
A parent will only be held liable if the teen driver has express or implied permission to drive the car. There are certain exceptions to that. Similarly, under a theory of vicarious liability, parents can be held responsible for their teen drivers’ negligent driving when teens are acting under their authority while pursuing a family purpose at the time of the accident. A lawyer can identify all the responsible parties in an accident and help you seek compensation from them for your injuries.Damages
If you can establish liability for a car accident, you may be able to recover compensatory damages. These may include both economic and noneconomic losses.Consult an Experienced Syracuse Attorney
People harmed in teen driver accidents should talk to our seasoned lawyers. We represent accident victims across upstate New York in Syracuse, Rochester, Watertown, Lowville, Oswego, Auburn, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Ithaca, Lyons, Oneida, Cooperstown, Utica, Elmira, Herkimer, and Binghamton. Complete DeFrancisco & Falgiatano’s online form or call us at 315-479-9000.