While not every driver under the age of 18 acts irresponsibly behind the wheel, statistics show that teen drivers are significantly more likely to get into auto accidents compared to older drivers. Whether it stems from a traffic violation, reckless behavior like driving drunk or high, or just a brief moment of carelessness or inexperience operating a car, teens who end up causing wrecks can hold civil liability for the consequences of their actions just like adults.
In practice, though, filing suit over teen driving car accidents in Las Vegas tends to work differently from suing over a crash caused by an adult, as any experienced car accident attorney could tell you. If you want to maximize your chances of recovering fairly for injuries you sustained in this sort of incident, you should make contacting the skilled legal professionals at Shook & Stone one of your top priorities.
Who Is Liable for a Car Crash Involving a Teen Driver?
Regardless of how old they are, any person who operates a motor vehicle in a reckless or careless way has “breached” the legal “duty of care” they hold to drive safely and lawfully at all times. This means they could be considered legally “negligent”—and held financially liable for ensuing damages—if their misconduct directly results in an otherwise avoidable wreck. That said, even teenagers who own their cars rarely have much in the way of personal assets or insurance coverage beyond the bare minimum required by law, making it difficult to recover effectively for serious injuries caused by a teen driving accident in Las Vegas.
Fortunately, it is often possible to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the parent(s) or guardian(s) of a teenager who causes a car crash through their misconduct. This typically involves proving that the teenager’s parent or guardian—or the vehicle’s owner, if it is a different third party—were:
- Negligent in entrusting their irresponsible child with a vehicle
- Knowingly allowed their child to act recklessly or carelessly behind the wheel.
A knowledgeable car accident attorney can play a key role in identifying all parties who could hold liability for a specific wreck and taking proactive legal action against them.
Establishing Fault for a Teen Driving Collision
Of course, in addition to the same “duty of care,” teen drivers in Las Vegas also have the same rights under state law as adult drivers, meaning the court will never automatically assume they are to blame for a traffic accident. Instead, it will still fall to you as the person filing suit over the wreck to prove through a “preponderance of evidence” that the teen driver or other people you have named as defendant(s) were, in fact, negligent to a legally actionable degree.
Furthermore, you should be prepared to contest allegations that you were partially or even primarily at fault for causing your own crash through reckless or careless driving. Otherwise, Nevada Revised Statutes § 41.141 would allow the court to reduce the total compensation you can get from a verdict in your favor—or even bar you from recovery altogether—depending on the percentage of “comparative fault” the court assigns to you.
A Las Vegas Attorney Could Help With a Teen Driving Car Accident Claim
The idea of filing a lawsuit against a teenager may not be especially appealing, but after a serious car crash, it can be a necessary part of the financial recovery process. With that in mind, it can also be important to have help from a legal representative who has handled similar cases and knows how to pursue yours tactfully and effectively.
After a teen driving car accident in Las Vegas, you have limited time to contact legal counsel and discuss your options for civil litigation. Call Shook & Stone today to schedule a free consultation.