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Can I Still File a Claim if a Minor is at Fault for My Accident?

Posted on behalf of Anderson Cummings on Dec 02, 2020 in Auto Accidents

teen texting and driving Teenagers can be very dangerous behind the wheel of a car. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 33 percent of high school students nationwide admitted to texting and driving at some point while 12 percent of distracted drivers involved in fatal car accidents were teenagers.  

If you or a loved one have been hurt in an accident caused by a negligent teenage driver, you may be wondering how to file a claim. Call our car accident lawyers in Fort Worth today to discuss your legal options.

Parental Responsibility Laws in Texas

Under the Texas Family Code, parents can be held liable for their child’s negligent destruction of property if the child’s negligence can be traced back to the parent’s failure to exercise control and reasonable discipline of the child. Parents may also be held liable if the child’s actions were willful and/or malicious, and the child is between the ages of 10 and 18. There is a $25,000 limit on liability for willful or malicious conduct.

There are many situations where a parent could be held liable for his or her child’s negligence and the resulting destruction of property. For example, if the parent of a teenage driver knows the child drives recklessly, allowing the child to drive the family car a long-distance or at night could be seen as negligence on the parent’s part. However, if the parent had good reason to consider his or her child a safe driver and allowed the child to take the family car to a friend’s house a short distance away, there might not be a strong claim for liability against the parent.

The negligent entrustment doctrine may also come into play after a car accident. This doctrine states that a vehicle owner is liable for damages or injuries caused by a negligent person whom they entrust to drive their vehicle. That means a teenager’s parents may be liable for a car accident if the parents knowingly gave him or her permission to drive the car, knowing the child could be reckless or negligent.

Driver License Restrictions for Teenagers

Minors who are at least 15 years of age may be eligible for a Minor Restricted Driver’s License (MRDL). Teenagers looking to obtain an MRDL must undergo at least six months of training with a learner’s license. This permit is the first stage for drivers under 18 to move their way through the licensing process.

State law also requires teenage drivers to complete the Impact Texas Teen Drivers Program, which talks about the dangers of texting and driving, on top of the regular testing requirements for licensing purposes. Failing to complete the mandatory program could result in the suspension of a person’s driving privileges.  

Texas law allows a teenage driver with an MRDL to have one passenger under the age of 21 in the vehicle at a time unless the other minors in the car are family members. For example, a 16-year-old driver may only have one friend in the car with him or her at a time.

Keeping Your Teen Drivers Safe

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration suggests showing your teenage driver some driving statistics directly related to teen drivers. There is a chance this may have a sobering effect.

Parents are also urged to set consequences for bad driving habits. For example, if your teenager is pulled over and ticketed for speeding, experts suggest taking away driving privileges until he or she learns to obey the speed limits.

Talking about drugs and alcohol with your teenager is also suggested to help discourage driving under the influence. And lastly, setting a good example while driving is also a good practice.  

Call a Licensed Attorney

Car accident claims involving teenagers may be complicated. Let our licensed attorneys at Anderson & Cummings review your claim and see how we may be able to help you through the legal process.

We do not charge anything upfront and you do not owe us anything unless we recover compensation for you.

Call today at no risk to you: (877) 920-9009.