Can You Sue a Teenager If They Cause Your Car Accident?
Teenage car accidents happen more often than any other demographic, which leaves a lot of drivers in the difficult position of pursuing insurance claims against young people. But can you sue a teenager? And what should you expect from the process if a teen causes your accident?
Teenage Drivers Come With Special Risks
According to the CDC, car accidents among teens ages 16–19 occur more than any other age group. In fact, this age group has a fatal crash rate “almost three times as high as drivers ages 20 and older per mile driven.”
These numbers are three times higher for male teenagers than female and also increase if other teenagers are present in the car. Not surprisingly, teens have a higher crash risk in the first few months of getting their license than at any other time.
The CDC cites a number of reasons for these crashes, including inexperience, distracted driving, and substance abuse. The high fatalities may also result from lower rates of seatbelt use among teens.
Insurance rates reflect these numbers. Generally, car insurance costs much more for teenage drivers than any other age bracket.
The insurance companies know teens cause accidents…but that doesn’t mean they’ll willingly pay you what you deserve when it happens.
Steps If You’ve Been In a Car Accident With a Teen
If a teenager causes your accident, first you should make a claim with their insurance company. This works the exact same way as any other crash. You exchange information, notify both insurance companies, and hope they’ll pay what you’re owed.
However, if the teenager’s insurance denies your claim, you can pursue a civil suit just like any other car accident suit.
In virtually all cases—just like any other car accident—the lawsuit contains the driver’s name at the top. So yes, you can sue a teenager. However, the teenager typically doesn’t pay the final settlement. The money actually comes from their insurance company.
Who Is Responsible for the Car Accident?
In some circumstances, you may choose to pursue a civil case against someone else instead. In any car accident, the driver is most liable. However, parents also hold responsibility and often pay for the teenager’s insurance. In addition, if the car belongs to someone else, like a sibling or relative, they also have responsibility.
In those situations, you might pursue a claim against the teenager’s parents or the owner of the car. This shouldn’t impact the teenager’s penalties, because remember: the insurance companies pay the price. Instead, the driver gets points on their license, just like any other insured driver.
In addition, if the teenager is uninsured, the case functions as any other uninsured motorist accident.
Lastly, in rare cases, the parents may have shown real negligence. For example, perhaps they knew their child had driven drunk before and hadn’t reformed. In those cases, the parents could be held financially liable. Those situations happen rarely, and usually working through the insurance companies will suffice.
Finding An Attorney Who Can Bring You Success
So can you sue a teenager?
Yes. As lawyers like to joke sometimes, you can sue anyone you want. You can sue the Pope or the President. The question is: will you prevail and/or will the suit get thrown out?
Because they involve new and inexperienced drivers, teenage car accident cases can come with some complications. They can take extra time and energy to handle successfully.
Make sure you find a lawyer who gives their full time and attention to your case. You should avoid massive firms that rush car accident cases through like an assembly line.
Our attorneys treat every case like our own family, and as a result, we’ve won multiple awards for client satisfaction. We give you our time and attention, and we don’t win anything unless you do.
To get started with a free conversation, contact me today at 901-327-2100 or use the form on this page to have us reach out to you. We look forward to discussing your case and helping you get the compensation you need and deserve.