Can I Get Compensation After a Crash Involving a Teen Driver?

While you are probably aware of the steps you should take if you are involved in a car accident, you may feel uncertain about the correct course of action if a teen driver caused the crash. Who is liable for the damages under these circumstances, and can you still receive compensation?

The answer is yes, but if you’re involved in a collision with a teen driver, it’s a good idea to contact a car accident attorney in Missouri. They can assist you in understanding your rights and the regulations surrounding crashes caused by minors. 

Insured and Uninsured Teen Drivers

According to the CDC, teens are among the most dangerous drivers on the road, with the risk of motor vehicle crashes being nearly three times higher among teens aged 16-19 than any other age group. This is why Missouri has a Graduated License Program, in which teens gradually gain driving privileges as they age, gain experience, and demonstrate their ability to drive safely.

Accidents involving teen drivers often occur due to distraction, relative inexperience behind the wheel, or lack of defensive driving skills. If you are in a crash involving a teen driver and the teenager is at fault, you may be wondering how to get compensation for vehicle damages or personal injuries.

You can seek compensation for damage to your vehicle through the other driver’s insurance provider irrespective of their age. In Missouri, all drivers are required to have insurance coverage of at least $25,000 per person. This is reinforced by a mandated coverage of $50,000 per collision for bodily injury and additional coverage for property damages of at least $10,000. Therefore, do not hesitate to press the teenager for insurance details after the accident, as this is key to ensuring compensation. If they do not have their own insurance, they are likely covered under their parents’ insurance policy.

If the teenager is uninsured, things get more complex, and it’s wise to seek legal counsel from the car accident attorneys at Cofman Townsley. It’s helpful if you already have insurance coverage for collisions with uninsured motorists, but this may not suffice to cover all the medical costs or damage expenses incurred by the accident. In this case, you may be able to hold the driver or their parents personally liable for your remaining costs.

If the teen was driving a vehicle that isn’t theirs, such as a car owned by their parents or parent, the parent can be held liable for negligent entrustment under what’s known as “family car doctrine.” If a teenager is driving a friend’s vehicle when the collision occurs, the person the car belongs to can be held responsible under “owner’s liability,” so you would need to pursue compensation from the insurance company of whoever owns the car.

What to Do After a Crash Caused by a Teen

The first thing you should do after any vehicle accident, regardless of the driver’s age, is to call law enforcement and file an accident report. Failure to do so could result in your claim being denied.

Collect as much evidence as you can, including taking pictures of the accident and collecting the contact information of eyewitnesses. Get the name and insurance details of the teen driver while you wait for law enforcement to arrive.

Call your insurance provider within 24 hours of the accident. Be sure to mention the teen’s insurance status. Failure to do so can also result in your claim being denied.

If you sustained injuries in the accident, you should also contact an attorney as soon as possible to determine whether you can file a personal injury claim. The statute of limitations in Missouri for filing a claim after a car accident is five years, so ensure you begin the claims process as quickly as possible to avoid missing out on compensation. 

Quality Legal Representation From Cofman Townsley

If you’ve been injured in a car crash caused by a teen driver, you need a law firm experienced in what you’re facing. Cofman Townsley has over 50 years of experience assisting car accident victims and their families to gain compensation in St. Louis and across Missouri and Southern Illinois.

We work hard to get results and help ease the burden for you during a difficult time. If you’ve been involved in an accident, contact our law firm to schedule a free consultation.