When to Sue a Teenage Driver Who Caused Your Accident
Tagged: auto accident attorney, auto accidents, teenage drivers
Recent studies show that teenage drivers are disproportionately responsible for moving violations and accidents.
According to statistics compiled by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, teens aged 16–19 make up more than 52 percent of speeding violations in the state and 25.8 percent of turn signal violations. This is due to a low-risk perception of hazards, a tendency toward risk-taking and a lack of driving skills.
If you were the victim of a crash caused by a teenager, what is the threshold for taking the young driver to court to collect for damages? Officially, under state law, you can file a claim when damages are less than $7,500 in a California Small Claims Court. Claims for larger amounts require filing the lawsuit in the California Superior Court.
However, in either legal venue, you must prove the following:
- The driver did not live up to his or her duty to ensure safety.
- Your injury is due to that driver’s negligence.
- You suffered damages as a direct consequence of the accident, either due to medical bills or property damage (e.g., your auto), or loss of income.
Note that the attorney representing the youthful driver-at-fault could attempt to show you bear some or the entire fault for the accident. This is because California allows a reduced financial responsibility when the victim bears some fault. For example — if you were traveling too fast for weather conditions concurrent with the other driver failing to use a turn signal.
For any accident where the other driver was negligent and you suffered a loss, it makes sense to contact an auto accident attorney. The California statute of limitations is two years from the date of the mishap, after which your right to sue expires.