California Car Accident Attorney

What Happens If a Minor Causes a Crash? A California Car Accident Attorney Answers

Young, inexperienced drivers are at a higher risk of causing an accident than more seasoned motorists. What happens if the driver who hit your car was a minor? Are minors legally responsible for the injuries they caused?

If you suffered an accident and believe a minor driver was at fault, contact a California car accident attorney right away. You’ll need reliable auto accident legal counsel in California to understand your options and build a strong claim.

Who Is Responsible for the Actions of a Minor Driver?

California minors convicted of reckless driving or a DUI could face various penalties, like restrictions on their driving privileges. However, you can’t file a lawsuit against a minor in a civil court. Instead, your lawsuit should target their parent or legal guardian.

When a person under 18 applies for a driver’s license in California, their parent or guardian must sign the application. By signing, the parent or guardian assumes civil liability for any negligent actions of the minor driver. This includes scenarios of willful misconduct, like road racing or deliberately causing a collision.

A car accident lawyer in California can help you find out which insurance company is responsible for covering your losses. This may be unclear in complex accidents, and sometimes, several drivers may share liability. 

Proving Fault After an Accident

California is an at-fault state for car accidents. Thus, the insurance company of the driver whose actions caused the accident is responsible for covering your losses. 

If the driver was a minor, they probably appear on their parents’ auto insurance policy. It’s also possible the parent or guardian purchased a separate policy for them. However, to claim compensation, you’ll need to prove that the teen driver’s actions caused your accident.

Proving fault can be tricky, regardless of the driver’s age. Your California car accident attorney will work to show that the teen motorist’s actions led to the accident — for instance, by speeding, not keeping enough distance from your car, or ignoring traffic laws. 

What If the Teen Driver Was Uninsured?

In California, all drivers should carry minimal insurance coverage of $15,000 for bodily injury per person and $30,000 per accident, plus $5,000 of property damage insurance. Driving without insurance is illegal, but some motorists still fail to purchase coverage. 

If it turns out that the teen driver who hit your car was uninsured, you could turn to your Uninsured Motorist (UIM) coverage for compensation. Additionally, a vehicle collision lawyer in California could help you file a civil lawsuit directly against the uninsured driver’s parents.

What Compensation Could You Claim?

As in a regular car accident claim, a settlement after a collision with a teen driver would typically cover economic losses like medical expenses and lost wages. A car crash attorney in California could also help you claim compensation for non-economic losses (a.k.a. pain and suffering). 

In some cases, a court may also award you punitive damages. This would apply if the parents knew their teen was a negligent or incompetent driver but still let them use their car. In this case, punitive damages would serve to punish the teen driver’s parents and deter others from similar irresponsible behavior. 

Call The Cifarelli Law Firm: California Personal Injury Lawyers Fighting for Your Rights

Did a driver under 18 cause your car accident and injuries? Call The Cifarelli Law Firm. Our dedicated team of California auto accident attorneys will let you know who’s likely responsible for compensating you, help you prove fault, and work relentlessly to resolve your claim as fast as possible.

Call 949-409-6324 today for a free consultation with a California car accident attorney.

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Irvine, CA 92618

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