Teen Driver Accidents
Various states have enacted specific laws related to teen drivers in order to address the particular dangers that these inexperienced drivers may pose while driving. In Tennessee, for example, drivers who are under age 18 must participate in a graduated license program that allows them to practice driving while supervised and with restrictions. Despite carefully designed programs like this, teen driver accidents still happen in Tennessee and elsewhere in the South. If a negligent teen driver hurts you, consult the Memphis car accident attorneys at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz about your right to recover damages for your losses.Pursuing Damages After a Teen Driver Accident
Teens are less experienced drivers, and they may be distracted more easily while driving, particularly if there are other passengers in the car. If a teen driver injures you, you may be concerned about the probability of recovering damages. In most cases, you may recover damages even if the driver is a teenager. They may be covered under their parent's insurance policy. In most states, you will need to establish the teen driver's negligence by a preponderance of the evidence in order to recover compensation. This means that the teen driver was more likely than not driving unsafely, and their failure to use reasonable care caused your injuries.
Many states allow for a parent to be held liable for a teen driver's negligence in case the teen is not named on an automobile insurance policy. One theory of liability is negligent entrustment, or the "family purpose doctrine." When this rule is applied, an accident victim may hold the owner of a family car responsible for damages caused by a teen driver depending on the facts of the case, such as if the car owner knowingly agreed to the teen driver's use of the car.
In Tennessee, for example, you may recover damages under the family purpose doctrine if you establish that the head of the household owns and maintains the vehicle in order to provide pleasure or comfort to the family, and the vehicle was being used to further a family purpose with the permission of the head of the household at the time of the incident. The Tennessee Supreme Court has clarified that the doctrine does not always depend on an at-fault driver sharing an actual residence with the head of the household.
A parent may also be held liable for a child's negligence under a theory of negligent supervision. This theory applies if the parent knows or should know that a teen driver is not capable of safely operating a car, but the parent fails to take reasonable actions to stop the child from driving the car. For example, if a parent knows that a teen is a chronic alcohol abuser who has been charged with DUIs but still loans the teenager a car, the parent may be responsible for accidents that result from providing access to the vehicle.Hire an Experienced Memphis Attorney for Your Car Wreck Case
Teen driver accidents may have tragic consequences. It is important to retain an experienced attorney who is familiar with the distinctive issues that arise in these cases and can develop a strong strategy to pursue damages. Our Tennessee-based firm employs over 30 attorneys and 100 staff members. We serve victims in Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, and Mississippi, including in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, Caruthersville, Hayti, Oxford, Starkville, Grenada, Columbus, Tupelo, Meridian, Jackson, Little Rock, and Jonesboro. Call Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz at 1-800-LAW-4004 or complete our online form for a free appointment with a motor vehicle collision lawyer. NST is the way to go.