Teen drivers lack the experience of other, more seasoned motorists on the roadways. Even newly licensed teen drivers do not have the training or road experience needed to operate a motor vehicle skillfully. However, that does not mean they should not be driving as safely as possible.
When teen drivers are responsible for causing collisions, liability can become complicated. At White Law, PLLC, we are often asked if parents are liable for teen driver accidents in Michigan. With help from your dedicated Michigan car accident lawyer, you can identify the at-fault party and demand total financial compensation for your damages and suffering.
Common Causes of Teen Driver Accidents
It is important to examine the cause of the teen driver accident before we can determine whether the teen driver’s parents can be held accountable. If you were involved in a collision with a teen driver, that does not necessarily mean the teen driver is at fault. Some of the most common causes of collisions involving teens include:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Aggressive driving
- Failure to use a turn signal
- Reckless driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs
- Making unlawful turns
- Failure to check blind spots
- Failure to yield to the right of way
- Failure to stop at traffic lights and stop signs
- Driving drowsy
If any type of negligent driving caused the collision, and the teen driver was under the age of 18, you will have a stronger case against the teen driver’s parents, who are responsible for their child and any damages they may cause. However, if the teen driver is 18 or 19, they are considered legal adults and responsible for their own actions. If we discover a third party contributed to the accident, instead of pursuing a claim against the teen driver or their parents, we would instead pursue legal action against the liable third parties.
Your Fight Is Our Fight
Michigan Owner Liability Laws
Michigan follows owner liability laws. Here, teenagers and their parents can be held accountable when a teen is found responsible for causing the accident. However, this is only the case if the teen’s parents gave them permission to use the vehicle in question.
If the teen driver took the vehicle without the owner’s permission, owner liability may not apply. It is not unusual for parents to cover for their children, but they may be less likely to accept responsibility if they know they will be expected to cover your costs. For this reason, we often recommend working with a skilled personal injury attorney who will be able to investigate, establish fault, and hold liable parties accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
When teen drivers do not have permission to use the vehicle, depending on their age, you may be able to initiate a personal injury lawsuit against them. Just because they lack experience does not mean they should get away with causing your injuries and damages. Our team at White Law PLLC will ensure teen drivers and their parents are compelled to compensate you for your losses when they are responsible for your injuries and the collision.
Negligent Entrustment in Michigan
According to the above liability laws, negligent entrustment cases are not the norm in Michigan. Most reasonable parents would never entrust their vehicle to a teen driver when they know the teen is not an experienced or safe driver. However, negligent entrustment laws exist because some parents do not stop their reckless teen drivers when they have the chance.
For example, if a parent allows their teen to consume alcohol, knows the teen has been drinking, and still allows the teen to drive, the parents could be held accountable for any injuries or damages the teen causes. It is important to note that parents must explicitly give their teen permission to drive the car for negligent entrustment to apply. Our investigation will determine whether negligent entrustment applies in your case and what to do if it does.
Michigan Social Host Liability Laws
Under Michigan social host liability laws, social hosts can be held accountable when they allow already intoxicated parties, including teens, to drive. Failure to prevent drunk driving could be grounds for legal action against not only the teen driver’s parents but anyone else who allowed the teen to consume alcohol or drive after consuming alcohol or drugs. Dram shops that sell or serve alcohol to minors may also be sued under Dram shop liability laws.
Your Legal Options in Teen Driver Accidents
Teen driver accidents can unfold in a number of ways. The cause of the accident and the specific circumstances of your case will have an impact on how we approach your car accident claim. To start, we will consider whether you have an opportunity to file an insurance claim.
Michigan is unique in terms of how insurance claims are filed. While technically a no-fault insurance state, as of 2023, Michigan motorists can opt out of no-fault or personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Without no-fault coverage, you will not be able to file a claim against your own insurance policy and will instead need to file a claim against the teen driver’s or parent’s policy.
This coverage may not cover the total value of your damages. In this case, you need to be ready to move forward with a car accident lawsuit. Fortunately, at trial, the teen driver and their parents can be held accountable for their portion of the blame and compelled to compensate you for your losses in full.
We know how to get our clients the results they need in the toughest legal arenas.
Reach Out to Michigan’s Leading Car Accident Law Firm Today
Teen driver car accident cases in Michigan are notoriously complex. You may have grounds for legal action against not only the team driver who hit you but also their parents and other liable parties. Do not be surprised if multiple parties are found to share responsibility for the accident.
While your case may be more complicated, you are more likely to recover maximum compensation if blame is shared. Hold the liable party accountable for their negligence when you meet with a top-rated Michigan car accident lawyer at White Law PLLC. Fill out our online contact form or call our office to schedule your confidential case evaluation as soon as today.
We’re Experienced. We Care.
We Exceed Client Expectations.