In: Auto Accidents

Are Parents Personally Liable if Their Teenager Gets in an Accident?

Anyone with a teenager knows how challenging parenting can be at this age. When your teenager begins driving, it gives a whole new meaning to the word “worry”. Parents are often concerned about their new driver’s level of responsibility, and their ability to drive safely. When your teenager does get into an accident, an additional concern is whether the parents are personally liable for the accident. The accident attorneys at Ged Lawyers, LLP, have been helping Florida families since 1995, and are experienced and knowledgeable in all aspects of personal injury law, including accidents involving teenage drivers.

What is the parent’s responsibility?

When a driver – teen or adult – is issued a driver’s license, they have a duty to drive in a reasonably safe manner. If your child who is under the age of 18 failed to drive in a responsible manner and this resulted in another person’s injury, then your teen can be held liable for damages, such as damage to the vehicle, medical bills from the injury, and lost wages. In certain situations, the teenager’s parents may also be held liable for damages that stemmed from the accident. Whether or not the parents are personally liable depends upon whether the parents entrusted the vehicle to their teenage child.

Negligent entrustment

In some circumstances, parents may be held liable for damages if their teenager is involved in a car accident. If, for example, the parents were aware that their teenage driver was a danger to others on the road – perhaps because they had previous accidents — or if they should have been aware that their teenage driver put others at risk when driving, but they still gave the child permission to use their car, then the parents may be held liable for damages.

What is family doctrine or vicarious liability?

Under vicarious liability, if parents entrust their vehicle to their teenage driver for a specific purpose, such as going to the dry cleaner for the parent, and the teen causes a car accident during the course of running the errand, the parents can be held liable. Similarly, if the teenager uses the car for another purpose instead of going to the dry cleaner as instructed, the parent can still be held liable for damages because the parents gave the teen the authority to use the car.

Florida’s “no-fault” car insurance

Florida’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) car insurance is a no-fault system. So if your child is covered under your PIP automobile insurance policy, the medical expenses and other damages resulting from the accident will be covered according to your policy limits, regardless of who is responsible for the accident. It is important to note that PIP insurance does not provide compensation for non-monetary damages that are a result of the accident, such as pain and suffering. PIP also does not cover damages if the teenage driver’s misconduct is criminal.

Teenage driver in a car accident? Let us help

At Ged Lawyers, LLP, our experienced accident attorneys have helped Florida families through all sorts of accidents, including those involving a teenage driver. If your teen was involved in a car accident, let us help. Our skilled team is knowledgeable, experienced, and has a track record of success. Contact our office at 844-443-3529 or online to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation.