Regardless of age, every driver is responsible for operating their vehicle safely. However, accidents do happen, and sometimes they involve young, inexperienced drivers. You can seek compensation if you’re involved in a car accident with an adolescent driver. However, the process may differ from a collision with an adult driver.
Our experienced Florida car crash attorneys at Aigen Injury Law can help you receive a settlement from a minor driver, which typically includes filing with their parent’s insurance.
How Common are Accidents with Minors?
Per mile driven, drivers between the ages of 16-19 are nearly three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than drivers over 20. These accidents are often due to inexperience with operating a motor vehicle, with most accidents occurring in the first few months after teens first receive their license.
In 2021 in Florida, there were 3 fatal accidents and 31 incapacitating injury crashes involving teens under the age of 15. Adolescent drivers between 15 and 19 were involved in 111 fatal accidents and 664 incapacitating injury collisions.
Florida Efforts for Safe Teen Driving
In Florida, a structured approach, known as the graduated driver’s license system, is implemented to ensure young drivers gain experience under regulated conditions.
Under this system, new teen drivers face specific limitations. For instance, those with a learner’s permit may primarily drive only during daylight hours and must always have a passenger aged 21 or older in the vehicle supervising.
These guidelines aim to introduce teenagers to driving gradually, ensuring they gain the necessary skills and confidence to operate a vehicle safely.
The Process of Seeking Compensation
Florida operates under a no-fault insurance system. If there’s a crash, everyone involved turns to their own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to cover up to $10,000 of medical bills and damage.
If your damages go beyond that, you can seek compensation to cover your expenses from the at-fault party. If a teenager causes an accident resulting in damages or injuries, you may have a few options for pursuing this compensation.
- Suing the teenager directly. While minors can be held accountable for their actions, their legal capacity differs from that of adults. This might mean a different legal process, and any compensation awarded might be hard to recover due to the teenager’s lack of financial resources.
- Suing parents or guardians. When minors are involved in accidents, the liability can fall on their parents or guardians. Under Florida Statute 322.09, parents or guardians must validate their minor driver’s license application, acknowledging liability for any damages caused by the minor while driving. This means you may be able to sue the parents for compensation for your injuries.
- Insurance claims. Typically, teen drivers are covered under their parent’s insurance policy. If a teen driver hits you, your primary recourse for compensation is often to file a claim against the parent’s auto liability insurance. This is generally the most common and straightforward means to recover damages.
- Borrowed vehicle scenario or permissive use. If the teen was operating a vehicle that wasn’t theirs but had permission to use, the insurance policy of the car’s owner could be the primary avenue for compensation under the permissive use provision. If the teen was driving without the car owner’s consent, it may exempt the car owner from liability, complicating your ability to receive a settlement.
How a Skilled Florida Car Accident Attorney Can Help
The legal process can be more challenging when you’re involved in an accident with a teen driver. It’s not just about the accident; it’s about understanding the circumstances surrounding young drivers and the potential liabilities of their guardians.
Here’s how an attorney from Aigen Injury Law can help you with your case:
- Expertise in parental liability cases: While parents or guardians can sometimes be held accountable for a teen’s driving actions, it’s not always straightforward. We can navigate these issues, ensuring all legal aspects are explored and applied.
- Knowledge of minor insurance coverages: We can file timely and well-supported claims with the appropriate insurance, considering any stipulations for minors.
- Determining liability in borrowed vehicle scenarios: The claim can shift dramatically if the teen was driving someone else’s car. We can identify the best route for compensation, factoring in both the teen’s and the vehicle owner’s roles.
- Detailed accident investigations: Whether it’s analyzing potential distractions, social media activity, or other unique factors predominant in teen driving incidents, we can investigate the teen’s behavior leading up to the crash to prove their liability.
- Strategic negotiations: We can negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf with the teen or their parent’s insurer. We can counter any potential attempts to minimize the claim, helping you get the compensation you’re owed.
Contact a Florida Car Crash Attorney Today
If a teen driver’s actions have injured you, our legal team at Aigen Injury Law can guide you in determining liability and strategizing the most effective way to seek financial compensation. Arrange your free, no-obligation case review today so we can begin investigating your case and discuss your legal options.