Teens often fail to recognize the impact of reckless driving on their parents and their own pockets, reports Boca Raton car accident lawyer Joseph Osborne.
For teens, the day they finally get their drivers license is one of the most exciting days of their lives. However, with this newfound freedom and independence comes great responsibility that is too often neglected. Teens frequently fail to recognize the high risk associated with reckless driving, and the extent of the damage they can cause themselves and their parents pockets, reports Boca Raton car accident lawyer Joseph Osborne.
In fact, this risk is so high that The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the biggest factor of death among teens is reckless driving. Young drivers, ages 15-24 represent only fourteen percent of the US population, however they account for nearly 30%, about nineteen billion dollars, of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries nationwide. These costs more often than not fall to the parents as a result of the vicarious liability law.
Despite their adolescence, teens are held to the same standards as all other drivers, reports car accident injury lawyer Osborne. The driver involved in a car accident in which they are at fault as a result of careless driving is financially responsible for the accident due to civil liability. However, since parents are usually the ones purchasing cars for their children, the fault and responsibility for the accident extends beyond the teenage driver to the owner of the vehicle if the teen is driving a car that is registered in the parents’ name.
Our car accident law firm has seen many cases in which vicarious liability leaves parents financially vulnerable. One case example involves a college student driver who was driving a car that was registered in his father’s name. The teenager got into an accident with a motorcycle with two passengers. Although the driver originally thought the collision was nothing more than a fender bender, the crash caused the passenger in the back to lose her foot. The passenger was immediately rushed to the hospital and is now pursuing a lawsuit against the driver. However, due to the ownership of the vehicle, the father is legally responsible for all damages cause by the accident.
So how can a parent limit their liability?
The best car accident lawyers would recommend that in order to protect their assets, parents should not let teens drive a car that is registered in their name. If the car is gifted to the teenager then the car should be registered in the name of the teenager and a sufficient insurance policy purchased. This ultimately makes the teenager the owner of the vehicle and responsible for that vehicle in the case of an accident. Without ownership of the car, the laws imposing vicarious liability will not apply to the parent.
If you are the parent of a teenager who has been involved in an accident, contact an experienced Boca Raton car accident lawyer at Osborne & Associates online now or call us at (561) 293-2600. We handle car accident cases and we can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.