You are driving to work and suddenly another car crashes into you. After the first shock, you get out of your car and suffer another shock: the other driver is just a teenager. How can you possibly get damages after an underage driver accident? Can you sue their parents? The best decision is to talk to a skilled Miami Beach car accident lawyer and understand your rights.

In the meantime, here are the basic facts you need to know about getting compensation from a teenage driver.

Florida Laws Make Parents Liable for Accidents Caused by Teens in Two Ways

The first thing you need to know is that you can hold an underage driver’s parents liable. There are two different legal doctrines in Florida Statutes that make parents responsible for their teenage child’s negligence behind the wheel.

These doctrines are:

The Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine

Florida legislators passed a bill that imposes financial liability for dangerous instruments in the following situations:

  • A person owns a product or item deemed to be dangerous
  • The owner entrusts, loans or leases the object to a third party
  • The third party causes injury through negligence to another person while using the dangerous item.

A motor vehicle classifies as a dangerous item under this doctrine. If it is used negligently, it has the ability to cause injury to a person.

Parents Need to Sign for a Teenager’s Driver License Application

According to Florida Statutes 322.09(2), the person who signed for the driver license application filed by a teenager is liable for an underage driver accident. There is no way of getting away from this type of liability, because teenagers cannot obtain their learner’s permit without a parent signature.

What to Do after an Underage Driver Accident

Although the law appears to be clearly in your favor, you should consult with a Miami Beach car accident lawyer before filing your claim against the insurance policy of the teen’s parents.

Just like in any other type of traffic accident, you will be dealing with an experienced insurance adjuster, not a frightened teen and their parents. The adjuster will try to cast doubt on everything you claim, starting with how the accident happened and ending with the amount of damages you are demanding.

Here are the right steps to take after the crash:

filing an accident claim against a teen driver is challenging

1. Report the Accident

You have a legal obligation to report any traffic accident resulting in injury and property damage. After you call 9-1-1, remain at the accident scene and tell the underage driver to do the same. If they flee the scene, do not follow them. Make sure to note their license plate, car make, model and color and inform the police officers.

2. Get the Teenage Driver’s Insurance and Contact Details

The situation is sensitive when you are dealing with an underage driver. Do not start berating or intimidating them – it will quickly backfire and make you the bad person. Instead, remain calm and exchange insurance information with the driver.

Ideally, ask them for their parents’ contact details, since they are the policyholders.

3. Document the Crash Scene

Do not rely solely on the accident report prepared by the police officers when it comes to proving your claim. Use your phone to take photos and videos of the accident scene, covering every relevant aspect:

  • The position of both vehicles after the collision
  • The damages caused to your vehicle
  • Your injuries
  • Skid marks, traffic signs, potholes and any factors that may have contributed to the accident.

4. Seek Medical Attention Immediately

After the police finish the investigation of the accident, go to the nearest ER or hospital for a check-up. If you feel weak and in pain, ask for an ambulance and receive first aid at the accident scene.

Getting diagnosed and treated as soon as possible after the crash is essential for proving the cause of your injuries. It may also save your life, because many car accident injuries are internal and do not have symptoms for a period of time.

5. Contact an Experienced Miami Beach Car Accident Lawyer

As soon as you are discharged from hospital, schedule an appointment with an experienced Miami Beach car accident lawyer at Miami Lawyers 360. We are experienced in the most complex cases, including underage driver accidents.

If your case has merits, we will represent you on a contingency fee basis – no fees until we win your case. Also, we offer each new client a free case evaluation, so contact us today at 786-686-2857

Get Help Now

You can rely on our experience to help you through each step of the claims process.