If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a teenage driver, you may qualify for compensatory damages. A good car accident lawyer in Charlotte, NC can help you file a claim and recover compensation from these teenage crashes at the earliest.
Traffic accidents are caused by a number of factors and by people of all age groups. However, accidents caused by teenagers constitute a significant portion of the total number of crashes. According to the 2017 Crash Facts by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), a total of 52,385 accidents involved teen drivers aged 15 to 19. These crashes resulted in 12,869 teen injuries and 88 teen deaths.
The victims of such accidents are often left wondering whether or not they are entitled to damages. The issue of liability is also confusing for crashes like this. Here is a look at common causes of teenage crashes and the entities who may be held liable.
Causes of Teenage Car Crashes
Common causes of teenage accidents include:
Lack of Experience
Many teenagers are not sufficiently experienced in driving. This lack of experience results in careless or reckless behavior on the road, contributing to accidents.
Distracted Driving Habits
Distracted driving is a problem commonly associated with teenage drivers. According to a research by AAA foundation conducted by using dash cameras, it was found that distractions were the cause of 6 out of 10 moderate to severe teen accidents in North Carolina. The most notable causes of distracted driving included:
- Using smart phones
- Self-grooming while driving
- Looking at something in the vehicle
- Looking at something outside of the vehicle
- Listening to music or making videos
- Reaching for an object
- Talking to somebody in the vehicle
Another common reason for teenage car accidents is over speeding. Teenagers particularly indulge in over-speeding for the thrill and fun of it. The resulting adrenaline rush can lead to judgment errors and tragic accidents.
Teenagers frequently ignore the need to use seat-belts during driving. As a result, any crashes they may suffer during driving result in more serious injuries.
Liability for Teenage Crashes
An important consideration in teenage crashes is the issue of liability. Liability must be determined before you can file for compensation in any accident caused by a teenager. As per North Carolina laws, the parents as well as the teenagers themselves can be held responsible for teenage accidents. Parent liability is typically established through the Family Purpose Doctrine.
Family Purpose Doctrine
The Family Purpose Doctrine states that a parent would be responsible for teenage crashes if the car is being used for some family related purpose such as shopping, purchasing grocery, or for recreational purposes. So if a teenager causes a crash in the course of such family-oriented activities, parents bear liability for the negligence involved.
In North Carolina, the owner of the vehicle is liable for any kind of crash caused by that vehicle. However, you must be able to show that the person has an actual control over the vehicle. For teenage accidents and parent liability, this involves proving:
- Parent’s payment or repayment of the purchase price
- Payments of insurance premiums
- Payment of repairs expenses
- Possession of vehicle keys
Entrusting the Vehicle to a Negligent Driver
As a parent if you know that your teenage child is negligent or inexperienced as a driver, you will be held responsible for any accident caused by him or her. For instance, if a teenager has been issued several traffic tickets previously and a parent still entrusts the vehicle to him, the parent is likely to be held responsible.
Giving Vehicle to Your Non-licensed Teenager
You will be held responsible as a parent if you entrust the vehicle to your under-aged or non-licensed child.
What to Do as a Responsible Parent?
As a responsible parent you must do the following before giving your vehicle to teenagers:
- Ensure that they have a driving license
- Make them learn to drive safely and observe traffic rules
- Tell them the hazards of drinking and driving
- Educate them about effect of weather on driving
Hiring a Charlotte, NC Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a teenage driver, you may be able to hold the parent or guardian accountable and recover suitable damages. Contact us today to see if you have a valid claim for damages against the teenage driver and the guardian.