Every year there are thousands of car, truck and motorcycle accidents in the Southern California area. A very common cause of an auto accident in California are inexperienced teenage drivers. Juvenile drivers (drivers under the age of 18) are typically insured by their parents insurance policy. In many cases, depending on how long they have had their license, may be subject to driving restrictions and or curfews.
According to studies conducted by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) car, truck and motorcycle accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. Thousands of teens die in motor vehicle accidents every year in the U.S., and statistically one in five 16-year-olds has a car accident in his or her first year as a new driver.
Causes of teen driver accidents
Car, truck and motorcycle accidents caused by teenaged drivers are due to the same driving behaviors and causes as adult drivers. The primary difference is the lack of experienced exhibited by teen drivers. They just do not have the experience to drive defensively and they may also tend to drive more carelessly. Aside from careless driving teen caused car accidents can also be due to:
Reckless driving and speeding
Speeding, which above a certain miles per hour over posted speed limit in California equates to reckless driving, is a traffic violation with consequences such as fines, points on your drivers license and possible license suspension. Teenagers are always on the go and frequently rush to and from work, to and from school, to and from the gym and many other destinations. Any time someone is speeding or driving hurriedly they are most likely attempting to multi-task while driving. All of these poor driving habits combined can often lead to an auto accident caused by speeding.
When a motorist is speeding, even if they are adhering to traffic signals, road signs and other safe driving behaviors there is still an increased risk of an accident. Due to the speed of the vehicle and the momentum involved it is possible to lose control of a vehicle while speeding. This is particularly true in inclement weather conditions. Should the motorist need to slow down or stop abruptly they cannot as a speeding vehicle takes longer to slow down or come to a stop. If a motorist attempts to swerve to avoid a person, another vehicle or an object in the road while exceeding the speed limit they may over-correct and a serious automobile accident can result.
Speeding accidents can cause all types of accident such as: rear end crashes, side swipe accidents, T-bone accidents, head-on collisions, intersection accidents, pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents.
Teen Driver Drunk Driving Accidents
DUI and drugged driving accidents are one of the most common types of teen driver accidents. Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or prescription medications is dangerous for everyone on the road, especially inexperienced drivers such as teenagers. The impact that alcohol and drugs has on motor skills and driving ability is even greater if the driver does not have much driving experience. This is due to a sheer lack of driving experience, aggressive or reckless driving behaviors as well as reduced motor function due to drugs and alcohol consumption.
Teen Texting And Driving Accidents
It is against the law to send and receive text messages while operating a car, truck or motorcycle in California. Texting while driving is not only a serious traffic violation, it is also very dangerous and can result in being involved in an auto accident that can inflict serious harm, injury and possibly death to the victim. If you, or a loved one, have been injured in a texting and driving accident please call an Irvine car accident lawyer handling texting while driving accident claims.
Dangers of texting and driving
Texting while driving is dangerous for several reasons. This is primarily because is distracts you as your eyes are taken off of the road momentarily. This lapse in judgement can cause you to slam into a car in front of you, drift onto the shoulder and run off the road or you can cross lanes into oncoming traffic. All of these scenarios can cause catastrophic injury to you, passenger’s in your vehicle as well as those around you.
Throughout all of California it is illegal to send and receive text messages while operating a car, truck or motorcycle. Texting while driving is not only a serious traffic violation, it is also very dangerous and can result in being involved in an auto accident that can inflict serious harm, injury and possibly death to the victim. If you, or a loved one, have been injured in an accident caused by texting while driving please call an Orange County accident attorney handling texting while driving accident cases.
Benefits awarded in teen driver accidents
There are numerous benefits and means of compensation that can be awarded in a car accident according to California personal injury law. Each case is different from the next in terms of what damages may be awarded to the victim. The extent of your injuries and their impact on your personal and professional life determine what damages are awarded. Possible damages may be:
- Medical Benefit Reimbursement And Compensation (including physical rehabilitation, medication costs and future medical costs)
- Lost Income Compensation (both current and future)
- Diminished Quality Of Life Compensation
- Pain And Suffering Compensation (if applicable)
- Death And Funeral Benefits
A parent’s liability for the teen’s driving
California requires parental consent for a teen under the age of 18 to drive. This consent creates parental liability for any injuries caused by their teen in a car accident. This liability will last until the child is 18 or until the parents withdraw consent of the driver’s license. A parent can withdraw consent at any time.
According to Forbes, texting and driving results in 11 teen deaths per day. There are many factors that determine the amount of liability that parents have when their teens cause injury from texting and driving.
Having a teen with a license can be helpful for running errands that parents cannot do. But in California, if a teen is involved in a car accident while running errands for a parent, the parents can be jointly and severally liable with the teen for damages. These damages can be up to $15,000 if one person is injured or dies; $30,000 if there are two or more injured. The parent can also be liable for up to $5,000 in property damages.
Negligent entrustment and damages
Parents can be liable under negligent entrustment if they let their teen borrow the car even though they are aware of drug or alcohol-related problems that the teen has. The liability for damages can be greater than those imposed for damages while running errands.
A parent is also liable for any willful misconduct by a teen that causes injury or death to another or any property damage. While the damages are restricted to medical, hospital and dental expenses, the maximum liability for each claim against the teen is $37,400 as of 2011 and increases every two years.
Personal injury claims related to teen driving
Parents who have their children on their insurance policies may be liable for their child’s traffic accidents. Car accidents lead to a significant amount of personal injury claims in California. Insurance companies want to settle fast and for as little as they can. They will often look for reasons to give little compensation to parties for physical injuries sustained in car accidents. Statements to insurance companies can affect the outcome of the claim, so having an experienced personal injury attorney can be effective in bringing a favorable outcome.