Who pays for damages suffered in an accident with a teen driver?

There are a number of reasons why car accidents occur. This includes a driver’s inattentiveness, intoxication, or drowsiness. One of the factors less commonly talked about is inexperience. Teen drivers, for example, have recently begun driving and are usually unable to anticipate a vehicle’s reaction time and respond accordingly. This is why accidents involving teens are often more common than those involving middle-aged drivers.

However, when an accident is caused by the negligence of a teen driver, recovering compensation through a personal injury lawsuit can be difficult. The reason for this is quite simple: they do not have any financial sources. In Massachusetts, however, parents can be held responsible in a civil suit for their children’s harmful actions in a similar way to an employer being held liable for an employee’s actions. Even though not directly responsible, a parent can be held responsible.

The family car doctrine holds that the owner of a vehicle whose driver, a family member, negligently caused a wreck can be held liable if the owner knew of and consented to the family member’s use of the car. Massachusetts is one of the states where this law applies. It is often referred to as negligent entrustment. Even if an adult does not have the minor child listed on their auto insurance policy, the adult remains financially responsible for any damages caused by that minor’s negligence.

Medical expenses can quickly accumulate, and lost wages can make a car accident victim’s situation worse. Pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against a teenager who doesn’t have a job or a source of income may not be fruitful. The legal theory of negligent entrustment allows an accident victim to pursue a lawsuit against a teen driver’s parents, thereby increasing the chances that a victim will be able to recover compensation for his or her damages. Those who find themselves in this situation may find it beneficial to consult with an experienced attorney to learn more about one’s options in the aftermath of one of these accidents.



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