Who is Liable in a Crash Caused by a Student Driver?

student driver-liability

When you face losses in a car accident, it is vital that you identify the liable party. You can then file for damages and get compensated by the liable party with help from a good Charlotte car accident lawyer.

While liability is relatively straightforward in many car crashes, it can be complicated in exceptional cases. This is particularly so in car accidents caused by a student driver. Such a driver is required to operate a test vehicle under the direct guidance and supervision of an instructor. So what happens if the student causes the crash while learning to drive?

Liability can be a complicated issue in such an accident. Here is a look at the parties that can be held liable for a crash like this.

Parties That Can Be Held Liable

Following parties can be held responsible in case of a student driver crash.

Liability of Student Driver

In a crash caused by a student driver, the driver can be held responsible. This is particularly so when investigations reveal that the student driver was driving in a reckless manner. If the driver was over-speeding, tailgating, running a red light, or otherwise violating any traffic rules, it can be demonstrated that the driver was acting negligently.

In such a case, you can file a claim for damages against the student driver. Even though a student driver is still learning to drive, he or she is required to carry auto insurance. So if the driver’s actions cause a crash resulting in your injuries and losses, you can seek damages from the driver’s insurance company.

It is important to note here that more than one party can be held liable in a crash apparently caused by a student driver. In such a case, the principle of joint and several liability comes into play.

Liability of Driving Instructor

In many accidents that happen when a student is learning to drive, the driving instructor can also be held liable. The instructor is usually seated on the front passenger seat next to the person learning to steer the vehicle. It is the job of the instructor to make sure that the student is driving safely. The instructor is also responsible for alerting the student of any road hazards and ensuring that the student is observing traffic rules.

Driving school vehicles usually have specialized controls. These may include a second steering wheel for the instructor and brakes on the passenger side. These controls allow an instructor to intervene at a critical moment and prevent a likely crash. If an instructor fails in these duties, you can file a claim of damages against him or her.

Liability of the Driving School

When a student driver operates a vehicle owned by a driving school, the school is responsible for many things. These include:

  • Ensuring that the vehicle is properly maintained and safe to operate
  • Making sure that the student driver is accompanied by an instructor when operating the vehicle
  • Recruiting, hiring, and training the instructors in such a way as to ensure that they are fully equipped for guiding and accompanying student drivers

If the school fails to fulfill these responsibilities, it can be held vicariously responsible. This means that the school can be considered indirectly liable for any losses in a crash caused by the student driver. You can then file a claim of damages with the school’s insurance company.

Liability of the Car Manufacturer

A fourth party that can be deemed liable in a student driver accident is the car manufacturer. As noted above, a driving school vehicle usually features specialized equipment. This equipment ensures that an instructor can maintain control of the vehicle while the student driver operates it.

If there is a malfunction in the vehicle, specifically pertaining to the emergency control equipment, and a crash results, the car manufacturer can be held liable for faulty design or malfunction. As a victim of such a crash, you can then file a claim for damages against the manufacturer.

Hiring a Qualified Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer

If you have suffered losses like injuries or property damage in a crash caused by a student driver, we can help you seek the maximum amount of compensatory damages. Here at Ted Greve & Associates, we work with you to first identify the party that is liable for the crash. Our lawyers then help you gather the requisite evidence and file a claim for damages at the earliest. We also negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company on your behalf to get the best settlement. Get in touch with us now to discuss your claim today.