California roadways are stocked full of under-aged and inexperienced drivers. We here at the Law Offices of William C. Bibb have handled numerous cases involving serious injury accidents caused by teenagers. These cases can be especially complicated, given the fact that parental liability is often a factor and can play a major role in the claims process. That is why it is so important for California motorists to understand state guidelines for under-age driving and liability.
According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Research Institute, drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are considerably more likely than any other age group to be involved in a serious accident. Beyond that, it has been found that the vast majority of young drivers exiting the learning program exhibit significant skill deficits over more experienced and older drivers. Such inexperience on the part of young and new drivers can have serious and even fatal consequences.
If you or a loved one is ever involved in an injury accident with a teenage driver, it is important to understand California state laws addressing liability. The California Bar Foundation outlines the process for teenagers to get behind the wheel of a car legally, explaining that a young person must meet several standards in order to be eligible for a learner's permit and/or a provisional license. Drivers under the age of 18 are generally prohibited from having anyone under the age of 20 in the car with them, and parents assume a certain level of responsibility in signing for their children's driving permits.
In regards to teenage drivers and liability insurance, it is not uncommon for parents to add their children onto their insurance policies. Teenage drivers who choose to have their own policies are required under California law to have a minimum of liability coverage of $15,000 for one injury or death per accident, $30,000 for multiple injuries or deaths per accident, and $5000 for property damage per accident. It is important to keep in mind that parental liability is often capped at the amounts discussed above. There are instances, however, where parents can be held liable for full damages.
In the event that a parent has entrusted his or her child with a vehicle negligently, standard liability limits may not apply for an injury accident. If the parent/s knew or should have known of their child's intoxication and/or poor driving record, the parent/s may be found fully liable for accident injury damages caused by their child.
Call the Law Offices of William C. Bibb to learn more about teenage driver and parental liability.