Teens and permit drivers often have little experience, and can cause dangerous situations on the road. You must practice defensive driving at all times to avoid accidents as much as possible. However, no matter what you do, negligent or irresponsible drivers can cause accidents.
In 2010, more than seven teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 died each day in the United States as a result of a motor vehicle collision. Drivers within this age group are about three times more to become involved in a car accident. The vast majority of those crashes are caused by simple driver inexperience.
Teens also engage in dangerous behaviors behind the wheel, often much more frequently than adults. For example, teens are more likely to become involved in auto accidents as a result of:
Teens who engage in these dangerous behaviors are far more likely to become involved in a car wreck that injures or kills themselves, their passengers or innocent third parties who share the road. Teens are also more likely to become involved in accidents if there are multiple riders/passengers in the car with a young and inexperienced driver.
Although thousands are injured by teen drivers every year, many people are reluctant to take legal action to hold the dangerous young drivers responsible. This is especially true when the injured victim of a car wreck is a passenger who was friends with the teen driver and who was in the teen’s car at the time of the wreck.
The fact remains, however, that teenage drivers are covered by insurance policies just as any other driver. This means that whether you are a stranger or a friend, you should make a claim against a young driver responsible for causing serious injuries or the death of a loved one. The insurance company will be responsible for paying medical costs, lost income/wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress and wrongful death damages to the victim and the family members. You should not be left to bear these costs on your own when a teen driver is to blame for the crash.
A Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer can assist you in understanding your rights and in filing a claim against the teen driver’s insurance carrier.
In Florida, young drivers are given an opportunity to learn how to drive with a learner’s permit from the age of 15 to 17, before they graduate to a full driver’s license. The learner’s permit is designed as a restricted license, to allow the teen the chance to drive on the roads while still supervised by a licensed driver in terms of when they are driving and how many passengers they are carrying. Although there is no better way to learn than through practice, sometimes a young and inexperienced driver can cause a car accident while learning to drive.
The state laws allow teenagers to apply for a learner’s permit when they turn 15. With the permit, a young driver must be accompanied by a licensed driver aged 21 or older, who must be riding in the front passenger seat. For the first three months, the learning driver can only operate a vehicle between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m., and after three months, this curfew is extended until 10 p.m. A driver with a learner’s permit must keep his record clean, with no points or convictions, for twelve months, before applying for a full license. These restrictions are intended to keep the permitted driver and his teacher, as well as other drivers out on the road, safe from accidents, hazardous situations, and other dangers.
If you have been involved in a car accident caused by a driver with a learner’s permit, the responsibility for the driver’s actions may be split between both the teenager driver and the parents responsible for teaching him or her to drive safely. If the driver was alone in the car, and the parents allowed him or her to operate the vehicle while they were not present, they have broken the state’s laws regarding supervision of a teen learning to drive and allowed an inexperienced driver out on the roads. In this case, the parent is partially, if not completely, responsible for making sure that the teen acts within the rules that govern the permit.
If the inexperienced driver was operating the vehicle without the knowledge or permission of his or her parents, their liability may be lessened, because they did not help the teen break the law. If this is the case, the young driver may bear the full brunt of the responsibility, including any and all medical, insurance, and car repair bills that resulted from the accident. If the driver is in the car with a licensed driver as the passenger, the driver will then be treated as if he were a fully licensed driver—the permit does not remove responsibility or excuse negligence. While the young driver may have caused the accident based on inexperience rather than negligence, that does not mean that he cannot be held accountable for the accident.
At David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A., our experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers understand the devastation that goes along with any car accident, especially one involving a young teen driver. Our goal is to represent the rights of every accident victim, whether a stranger or a friend who was a passenger, to ensure they get the compensation they deserve after a car crash.