What Happens If a Minor Crashes a Car?

Teens who only recently acquired a driver’s license often cause car crashes in Alabama. Inexperience, lack of judgment, and various distractions lead to many accidents involving minors, from fender benders to fatal collisions.

When a teen driver hits you, you may ask what happens if a minor crashes a car. Who should cover your losses, and can you hold the teen’s parents accountable?

If you’re involved in an accident with an underage driver, consult an experienced car accident lawyer in Mobile, AL. A competent attorney will help you understand who’s responsible for the damage you suffered and what compensation you may expect.

Why Are Teens Such High-Risk Drivers?

According to the Foundation for Traffic Safety, teen drivers end up in more car crashes than any other age group. One reason for this is inexperience. Unlike a seasoned driver, who usually has a track record of handling many tricky situations on the road, a newbie motorist is more likely to misread cues from other drivers or lose control of the vehicle in bad road conditions.

Teens also tend to be less careful, have less foresight, and take more risks than adults. Without proper car safety training, teens often engage in dangerous driving behaviors like speeding, tailgating, or disregarding right of way. Underage drinking is another issue that can cause catastrophic accidents.

Finally, teens are typically inseparable from their mobile phones. Texting or checking social media behind the wheel leads to many accident cases involving underage drivers. 

Who’s Responsible for the Damage a Teen Driver Causes?

Like all motorists in Alabama, teen drivers must have proper insurance coverage. Parents can add the teen to their auto insurance policy or purchase separate coverage for the minor. The mandatory liability insurance in Alabama is $25,000 for injury or death per person per accident, $50,000 for accidents with multiple victims, and $25,000 for property damage. 

An accident claim after a collision with a teen driver works like any personal injury claim. The at-fault driver’s insurance provider would be responsible for compensating you. As with any accident case, you must prove liability, document your accident-related losses, and file a claim. 

What If a Teen Driver Doesn’t Carry Enough Insurance?

You may also ask what happens if a minor crashes a car and their insurance isn’t enough to cover all your losses. If the teen driver only carries the minimum liability insurance, your medical costs and lost wages can easily outstrip their coverage. This is especially true when you sustain serious injuries or are one of several victims.

Some teens also drive without insurance, even though it’s illegal. 

In this case, your uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage may step in. UIM coverage usually pays for medical costs and damage to your vehicle up to your policy’s cap. 

Proving Liability in Collisions With Teen Drivers

Since Alabama is an at-fault state for car accident claims, the teen driver’s insurance company typically will only pay you if you prove the teen was acting negligently. For example, maybe the underage driver was speeding or handling their phone when they rear-ended your car. 

You could lean on different types of evidence to prove a teen driver’s reckless or negligent behavior. The police report, medical records, photos and videos of the accident scene, and witness statements can all be useful.

Do You Need a Lawyer for a Teen Driver Collision Case?

Many people ask, “Can’t I handle my own insurance claim?” after a car accident. 

You could take care of your own claim if you walked away with a few minor bruises and a busted headlight. Otherwise, we strongly recommend working with a car accident lawyer.

Skilled legal help is crucial in Alabama, which is one of the few contributory negligence states. Under the contributory negligence doctrine, you’ll usually be unable to claim damages even if you’re only 1% responsible for the accident and the other side is 99% at fault.

Claiming that you’re partly at fault is an often-used tactic of insurance companies who want to avoid paying victims. You need a skilled lawyer to protect your rights. Since car accident lawyers typically handle cases on a contingency basis, you’d only pay the attorney fee when you collect your settlement.

Call Jackson & Foster If an Underage Driver Hit Your Car

Did a teen driver hit your car? Call us at Jackson & Foster. Our lawyers can explain what happens if a minor crashes a car and analyze liability in a car accident. We’ll also calculate your eligible losses and explore all legal options in pursuit of the highest possible settlement. 

Call 251-433-6699 or contact us online for a free consultation.

Contact us for an evaluation of your case today.