What Happens When an Underage Driver Causes an Auto Accident in Georgia?
Teen driving accidents are prevalent across Georgia and in the Southeast as young drivers are likely to be less attentive, and have much less driving experience than adults. Even if teen drivers are legally permitted to operate a vehicle, they still can be held responsible if they negligently cause an accident that results in injuries suffered by another, just as would be the case with any adult. However, there are situations where an underage driver and his or her parent(s) may be held responsible for negligently causing an accident.
When Parents May Be Legally Responsible for an Underage Driver's Negligent Conduct
If an underage driver who does not have a valid learner's permit, restricted driver's license, or full valid driver's license, that driver places not only him or herself at risk for facing a potential lawsuit (and perhaps the imposition of criminal charges), but he or she also places his or her parent(s) at risk as well. A parent or parents may be held liable for an underage driver's conduct if one or more situations occur including, but not limited to, the following:
- The parent(s) allowed the underage driver to operate a vehicle;
- Awareness on behalf of the parent(s) that the underage driver had a propensity to commit unlawful conduct such as operating a motor vehicle without having a valid learner's permit or driver's license;
- Awareness on behalf of the parent(s) that the underage driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as such impairment may have played a role in the automobile accident; and
- The parent(s) did not make any attempts to stop the underage driver from operating a vehicle when there was an opportunity to do so.
There are numerous ways in which both an underage driver and that driver's parent(s) may be held responsible for your injuries or those suffered by a loved one. While underage drivers may not have a full understanding of the consequences of their misconduct, and likely have no intention to cause harm, responsibility still should be placed on the person whose conduct can be linked to unnecessary, and often debilitating or life-threatening injuries suffered as a result of a very preventable automobile accident.
Regardless of whether an accident involving an underage driver is minor or serious, a message must be sent to both underage drivers and their parents that the roadways will be a safer if attempts are made to prevent underage drivers from getting behind the wheel. A legal professional can help you sift through the facts of your case and determine the scope of your legal options.
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At Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law, our seasoned team of Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyers provides compassionate legal representation to individuals from Georgia as well as in the Southeast. Montlick and Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
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