According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teen drivers ages 16 to 19. In the most recent year for which statistics are available, 2,364 U.S. teens were killed in car crashes and 300,000 more treated in emergency departments for their injuries.
These statistics are of great concern to the personal injury lawyers at Springer & Lyle. In addition, drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are almost three times more likely to be involved in an accident than older drivers, and those aged 16 to 17 are the most dangerous. These dangerous young drivers are on the road negligently causing harm to others.
Main Causes of Underage Vehicle Accidents
The CDC lists “eight danger zones” as the leading causes of teen crashes:
- Driver inexperience
- Driving with teen passengers
- Nighttime driving
- Not using seat belts
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Reckless driving
- Impaired driving
Texas Parental Liability Law
Texas law establishes that parents are liable for the property damage caused by their children if “the negligent conduct of the child is reasonably attributable to the negligent failure of the parent or other person [who has control over the teen] to exercise that duty of care; or the willful and malicious conduct of a child who is at least 10 years of age but under 18 years of age.”
When parents are liable. Parents are liable for the vehicle accident if they negligently allow their child to drive their car, knowing their teen is not licensed, has a tendency to have an alcoholic beverage, does not have the requisite safe-driving skills, or they fail in other ways to exercise reasonable discipline over their teenager.
When parents are not liable. Parents who have every reason to believe that their teenager is a safe, licensed driver, and allow the teen to drive a well-maintained vehicle on a short drive will not be liable.
What to Do if You are in an Accident with an Underage Driver
The parents of teenagers are required to provide automobile insurance coverage to their teen driver. If you are severely injured, you may find the policy limits are not adequate. That is when you may need to establish parental liability to have a chance of receiving the compensation to which you are legally entitled.
If you have been in an accident with an underage driver, the personal injury attorneys at Springer & Lyle can help you obtain reasonable compensation you are entitled for your injuries, lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other physical damage. Contact us at 940.387.0404 for a free consultation.