Who Is Liable If a Teenage Driver Causes a St. Louis Car Accident?

Liability in an accident caused by a teen can be influenced by a lot of factors.

Teenagers behind the wheel are statistically the most prone age group to having accidents. Not only are they more likely to be in a fatal crash, but they can cause financial and legal problems to their parents as well. It’s clear why parents of teenage drivers often remind them to drive safely and responsibly.

However, accidents do happen. Therefore, it’s important to act responsibly, know your rights, and choose the right approach when you are dealing with the aftermath.

teenage driving accident

What You Need to Know If Your Teenage Child Was in a Car Accident

Liability in an accident caused by a teen can be influenced by a lot of factors. They are connected to the graduated licensing system, which only gives teens a certain degree of freedom at a time.

Here are the levels that a teen goes through during their first years as licensed drivers:

  • At 15, they can apply for an instruction permit. If they pass the test, they are allowed to drive, but only accompanied by a parent, grandparent or driving instructor until they are 16 years old.
  • Teen drivers who are at least 16 years old may drive only when accompanied by a person who is at least 21 years old and has a valid driver’s license.
  • A teen can get an intermediate license when they are 16 or older, by meeting certain conditions (at least 182 days of carrying an instruction permit, no alcohol-related convictions in the last year, no traffic convictions in the past 6 months, 40 hours of driving practice with a parent, legal guardian or instructor). A teen with an intermediate license can drive unsupervised, but only in certain conditions
  • At age 18 and more, the teen can apply for a full driver’s license.

As you can see, teen driving is strictly regulated, in an attempt to reduce the risks that come with this age. Unfortunately, many teens break these rules or are encouraged by their own parents in doing so.

Liability in case of an accident will be determined by examining the licensing level the teen is at, the conditions of driving that would apply, and if the parent tried to prevent the situation, knew about it or enabled it. 

The parent of a teen can be held liable for an accident if:

  • A friend of their teenagers was driving the car owned by the parent (owner’s liability)
  • The parent owns the car driven by the teen (negligent entrustment)
  • The parent is aware of their teen breaking the limits of their license

Speak With an Attorney

Whether the accident was a minor one or not, in a teen driver case it’s recommended to discuss the details of your accident with an experienced St. Louis auto accident attorney. They can evaluate your case and make sure your legal right to compensation is protected.

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Updated: June 11, 2020