Your personal injury lawyer will tell you that teen drivers are in a special risk category. This is why car insurance is so expensive for drivers under the age of 25. State legislatures realize this and have passed laws that hold parents and legal guardians responsible if their teens are involved in car accidents.
Standards for motorists apply to teenage drivers
Lawyers know that the rules of the road apply to all drivers regardless of their age. The same applies for driving standards. This is because all drivers have a duty of care towards the other drivers and pedestrians on the road. Therefore, if your teen drives negligently or recklessly and someone is hurt as a result, your teenager will be liable for all damages and injuries.Your lawyer will tell you that your headaches for your teen driver don’t end there.
Vicarious liability for parents and guardians
If your teen drives and is under 18, you’re vicariously responsible for him or her. Your personal injury lawyer will tell you that this occurs under the following circumstances. Of course, it does matter what state you live in:
● You officially ‘co-sign’ an agreement where you agree to be legally liable for your teen, any accidents that he or she may have when driving, and the resulting damages from this. This occurs when your teen gets his or her drivers’ license
● When your teen gets into an accident, or
● When your teen gets his or her license and when he or she gets into a car accident.
Canadian law stipulates that you have to sign your teen’s driver’s license application if you are the parent or legal guardian and your teen is under age 18. This holds you legally liable for any accidents your teen may have while driving and the resulting injuries/damages.But this only applies, if you have ‘contact’ with the teen when the crash happened.
Collateral source payments
If you have to make collateral source payments, then expect your settlement to be reduced accordingly. These are payments that other parties (except for the defendant) made to compensate you for your personal injuries. Good examples are medical insurance payments and worker’s compensation benefits.
What if your teen joyrides?
If your teen drives without your knowledge and/or permission and gets into an accident, the parental liability statute will apply and you won’t be liable for all damages. But this only applies if you don’t leave your car keys unattended. Just remember that your car insurance policy probably won’t cover these types of accidents.
Driving teens are tricky
As your personal injury lawyer in Kitchener will tell you, the situation becomes complicated when teens start to drive. This is because you’ll be responsible for their actions while driving if you’re their legal guardian or parent.