Teenage Drivers

There is little need to elaborate on the risks presented by teenage drivers.  Inexperience, immaturity, and systematic underestimation of danger are a dangerous cocktail, and the statistics clearly indicate the risks that teenage drivers expose others to on America’s roadways, Georgia included.  According to reports conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teens across the United States, and teens age 16-19 account for the highest number of accidents compared to other age groups, with 2,333 deaths and 221,313 serious injuries recorded in 2015 alone for the specified age group.

Accident Risk Factors for Teenage Drivers

Teenage drivers are subject to the same risk factors as other age groups, though as a general rule, teens tend to be less able to accurately recognize the danger in various situations.  Teens are also less capable of making safe decisions during intense scenarios, leading to a higher incidence of collision.

Risk factors include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Risky driving behaviors, such as trailing close behind other vehicles;
  • Late night, low-visibility driving;
  • Failure to wear seat belts;
  • Intoxication and irresponsible driving;
  • Speeding; and
  • Distracted driving, such as while using a cell phone.

Owner Liability

In Georgia, those injured by minors may be able to sue and recover damages from the parent (ostensibly, the owner) of the vehicle that caused your injuries.  There are two ways in which to attach liability to the parents: through the family purpose doctrine, and through a negligent entrustment claim.

Family Purpose Doctrine

Pursuant to the family purpose doctrine, you can hold a family member of the teenage driver responsible if:

  1. the family member owns or otherwise controls the vehicle;
  2. the vehicle was made available for the teenage driver to use;
  3. the teenage driver is a member of the defendant’s household; and
  4. the family member consented to the teenage driver’s use of the vehicle at-issue.

Negligent Entrustment

Negligent entrustment may allow you to sue and recover damages from the owner of the vehicle, so long as you can show that the owner of the vehicle consented to its use by the teenage driver, and that the owner was aware that the teenage driver was incompetent to drive (or represented a danger to others on the roadways, perhaps due to their history of accidents).

Contact an Atlanta Car Accident Attorney at Ponton Law Today

Attorney James Ponton has successfully served as a legal advocate on both sides of personal injury litigation.  He began his career as defense counsel for insurance companies, and over the past decade, has represented injured plaintiffs in their lawsuits against negligent, reckless, and intentionally wrongful defendants, in a range of personal injury litigation (including car accident scenarios, among others).  Having served on each side of the car accident “argument,” Attorney Ponton is well-equipped to counter defense arguments and help you secure maximum compensation for your injuries.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s of utmost importance that you get in touch with a qualified attorney, and that you do so as soon as possible (so that your claim can be filed in a timely manner).  Call (404) 418-8507 today for a free consultation with an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney here at Ponton Law.

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