A 15-year-old girl has reportedly been charged in the deaths of three other teens in a tragic New York accident. According to news articles, there were nine teens and an 18-month-old child in the vehicle. Articles state the vehicle was reported stolen, but the owner is the parent of one of the teens. The teens who were killed were reportedly not wearing their seat belts.
This accident shows the tragedy that can occur when young, inexperienced drivers are behind the wheel. According to the CDC, the risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16-to 19-year-old drivers than drivers in any other age group, and they are nearly three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than older drivers. Younger drivers are at higher risk, with 16-17-year-olds having a fatal crash rate per mile driven nearly twice that of 18-19-year-old drivers. Additionally, teens who drive with other teens in the car face an increased risk of a crash, with the risk increasing with the number of teen passengers.
Parents should talk about driver safety with their kids before they are ready to start driving. Kids should understand that driving is a huge responsibility before they ever get behind the wheel. Ensuring that young drivers understand the risk factors and the importance of safety may prevent a tragedy.
When a tragedy does occur, victims may have significant medical expenses, time off from work, and other losses. Since teens do not tend to have many assets, victims injured by a teen driver’s negligence may be concerned about how they can recover compensation for their injuries. The potential sources of recovery depend upon the circumstances. If the teen is licensed and driving a properly insured vehicle with the permission of the owner, insurance coverage should be available. There may be coverage exclusions in some circumstances, however, such as a parent’s failure to add the teen to the insurance policy.
A parent may be held liable for negligently entrusting the teen with a “dangerous instrumentality” if, for example, the parent allowed an unlicensed and inexperienced teen to drive. An owner who is not the parent may also be held liable for allowing the teen to drive. Generally, in New York, a vehicle owner may be held liable for death or injuries resulting from the negligent operation of their vehicle. However, this owner liability only applies when the driver has permission, either express or implied, to drive the vehicle.
Even if the owner does not give permission, he or she may be liable for injuries resulting from a crash of the stolen vehicle if the keys were left in the open inside the vehicle while it was parked on a public highway or on a road open to public traffic.
There may also be other sources of recovery available. For example, if the teen had been drinking, the person or company that supplied the alcohol may be liable.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an automobile accident caused by a teen driver, an experienced New York car accident attorney can help you identify possible sources of recovery. Call the Law Offices of Marc S. Albert at 1.855.252.3788 to talk about your case.
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