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St. Augustine, FL – Car Accident at FL-5 and County Rd 204 Intersection

If a Teen Causes a Car Accident, Are the Parents Liable?

Teens are known for contributing to many car accidents every year in the U.S. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers who fall between the ages of 16 and 19 are at the highest risk for being involved in serious car accidents. This means that parents and guardians have many worries when it comes to their teens hitting the roads. When a teen is involved in a car accident and it is believed that they caused the accident, who is liable?

A Better Understanding of Negligence and Fault

When somebody is trying to determine who is at fault for a car accident, they will look at negligence and how it played a role in a crash. Drivers are expected to follow the rules of the road so that they can prevent serious car accidents. This is true for teens as well, who are newly-experienced and might be more likely to become involved in a serious car accident. When somebody is harmed in an accident, they have a right to hold a negligent party liable for the harm that they have caused.

When a teen causes an accident, therefore, you would assume that the teen might be liable. This is true. However, under certain theories, parents and guardians of these teenagers could also be held liable for the harm that has been incurred. This depends on the circumstances leading up to the accident.

Factors That Could Hold Parents Liable for Teen’s Actions 

If a Teen Causes a Car Accident, Are the Parents Liable? Negligent Entrustment: Under the theory of negligent entrustment, a parent could be held liable when a teen causes a serious and injurious car accident. This is true in situations where a parent knows that a teen driver is a danger to others who share the roads. For example, let’s say that a teen driver just received their license. Let’s also assume that the teen driver has received multiple reckless driving charges and is in danger of losing their license. If the parent continues to allow the child to drive but knows that they could be a danger to others, they could be held liable for that next accident. 

Vicarious Liability: Vicarious liability is another type of factor that could play a role in these types of accidents. This type of liability might also be referred to as what is known as the “family purpose doctrine.” This means that parents could be held liable for the injuries that their children have caused if they were pursuing a family “purpose.” For example, if a parent tells a teen to run to the grocery store for milk, the parent could be liable if the teen is involved in a car accident that they caused.

Speaking with an Attorney After a Teen’s Accident 

Being involved in any type of Florida car accident can impact all aspects of your life and leave you with questions. One of these might be, “Who is liable when a teen driver causes my accident?” Luckily, you have options and the right to recovery after an accident that is not your fault. At Sheftall & Associates, our accident attorneys are dedicated to helping you hold drivers liable for their wrongdoing when you have been harmed in a serious car accident. Please contact our accident attorneys in Florida for more information on your options at (904) 575-9026.