Teen drivers, aged 16-19, are the highest risk age group for motor vehicle crashes. In 2018, almost 2500 teenagers were killed in fatal car crashes and 100 times that number were injured enough to require emergency room treatment. The risk of teen driving is not limited to teens, however. Being involved in a crash with a teen driver can happen to anyone, leaving injured parties wondering who is liable in the accident and how their medical bills and lost wages will be paid.
Insurance Follows the Car, Not the Driver
Car insurance follows the vehicle, regardless of who is driving. In most cases, teen drivers don’t own their own car and are not paying for their own car insurance. If a teen is driving their parents’ car and gets into an accident, the parent or guardian’s insurance policy would apply.
However, there are certain exceptions to this generalization that a parents’ policy always applies. It is important to note insurance policies often have exclusions for criminal, egregiously negligent or malicious actions. If the teenager’s actions were intentional, insurance on the car may not apply. Or, if the teen driver does not have a license and the driver cannot legally operate the vehicle, insurance companies could refuse the car crash claim. In these situations, it may be necessary to speak with an experienced car accident attorney about options for holding the parents liable for your injuries and damages.
If the crash involved a teen who was driving another teen’s car or a car not owned by their parent or guardian, the situation could be more complicated. However, so long as the teen had permission to drive the car, the insurance policies of the car or car owner would apply. If the teenager did not have permission to drive the car, liability insurance on the car may not apply and other options may need to be considered.
No Fault Insurance
New Jersey, New York, Florida and other states are no fault insurance states. This means that in the event of a car accident, you first must go through your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance to pay for any injuries and lost wages. If you’ve been seriously injured, your own coverage may not be enough to compensate for all of your losses. Or, your own insurance company may be trying to settle with you for less than the full cost of your damages. If this is the scenario you face, you should discuss your options with a personal injury attorney experienced in car accidents and PIP arbitration.
Teen Driving Safety Tips
If you are the parent or guardian of a teenager, it's important to discuss road safety with your child as early and as often as possible. Teens are notorious for risky behavior and driving is no exception. According to the CDC, one of the best ways to protect teens and other drivers on the road is for parents and teens to be aware of 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
Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, Can Help
If you’ve been injured in a car crash, working with an experienced attorney who understands the nuances of your case can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we are committed to client care and your well-being. We work on contingent fees that are only collected if we win your case. If we don’t win, you don’t pay. Contact us today for a free consultation. With our proven track record of success and our commitment to client care, we can turn your setback into a comeback.