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Who Can I Sue When a Crash Involves a Teen Driver?

Teen drivers don't have the best track record. In fact, more than 28,000 teen driver crashes were reported in Florida in 2011. When these accidents result from the negligence of the teen driver, the parents or guardians of the young motorist may be legally liable for the consequences.

Top causes of teen driver crashes

Because of their relative immaturity, teen drivers are more prone to risky behavior behind the wheel. Common dangerous teen driving practices include:

  • Talking, texting or emailing on a smartphone
  • Cramming too many passengers into the vehicle
  • Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
  • Eating, drinking or grooming

Parental liability

Under Florida law, a parent who signs his or her minor child’s driver license is liable for the child’s conduct behind the wheel until the child turns 18. A parent may be liable even after the child turns 18, because Florida’s dangerous instrumentality doctrine makes the owner of a vehicle vicariously liable for the negligence of those entrusted to operate the owner’s vehicle. This doctrine can come into play when a student takes a parent’s car to college and causes an accident.

Potential damages

In a personal injury lawsuit against a teen driver and his or her parents, several types of damages may be recoverable, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage

If you’ve been injured in a crash with a teen driver, contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can identify the potentially liable parties so you can get full compensation for your injuries.

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