When teenagers turn 16 in Pennsylvania, one exciting thing they look forward to is driving a car. In the Keystone State, teens must finish their driver's education and get at least 65 hours of supervised driving before they can venture out independently. But even with these requirements, teen car accidents are still a significant cause of death for teenagers between the ages of 16–20.
So if you suffer injuries after a teen car crash, who’s responsible for compensation? An experienced Philadelphia car accident attorney can examine the facts of your case and follow the evidence to the party at fault.
Philadelphia Teen Drivers Are Held to the Same Standards as All Motorists
State law holds teenage drivers to the same standard of care as adult motorists. However, there are circumstances when the parents or legal guardians of an underage driver might also bear responsibility for the damages arising from the car accident caused by their child. The specific circumstances of the teen's acts determine the degree and existence of parental liability.
What Happens if the Driver is 16 or 17?
Even though teenagers can begin driving on their own at 16, by law, they’re only considered adults when they reach 18. So a parent or legal guardian must sign off on a child's driver's license application in Pennsylvania. This means a parent or legal guardian may be held responsible for any harm or damage caused by a minor under their care.
What Happens if the Driver is 18?
Once teenagers reach 18, they’re considered legal adults. This means that filing personal injury claims against them follows the same process as it would with any other driver.
A Parents’ Car Insurance Policy Usually Covers a Teen Driver
In most car accident situations, the parents' auto insurance policy typically covers everyone living in the same household, including teenage drivers. If a minor driver causes an accident where the damages are lower than the coverage limit of the parent's insurance policy, neither the driver nor the parent pays for the costs out-of-pocket. Instead, the victim can receive compensation directly from the insurance company.
If the available car insurance coverage isn’t sufficient to compensate for your damages, you might have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit against the parents of the driver responsible for the accident.
Why You Need the Help of a Car Accident Attorney in Pennsylvania
Collisions involving teenage drivers become complicated quickly. A knowledgeable car accident attorney has helped many victims through the complex process. While you focus on your recovery, a lawyer can help by:
- Investigating the crash.
- Talking to the insurance company.
- Negotiating a fair settlement.
- Helping estimate your damages.
- Taking your case to court if needed.