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The freedom that accompanies driving is a true mark of adulthood. However, as new drivers, teenagers are at a higher risk of causing a car accident than more experienced, mature drivers. This lack of experience, combined with a tendency to speed and to exhibit faulty judgment, lends itself to risk of danger. Fortunately, a Graduated Driver Licensing program has been enacted throughout Washington, D.C. and other states to phase in driving privileges for teens, and to reduce injuries and deaths resulting from teen driving accidents. While there has been a general decrease in the number of teenage vehicle collisions due to these stricter laws, accidents continue to occur. If you have been a victim of a teen driver accident, experienced Washington, D.C. car accident lawyer Roger Gelb can assist in your legal claims. At Gelb & Gelb, we diligently work to pursue damages for those injured in vehicle collisions. Attorney Roger Gelb understands how to approach collision legal claims with compassion and tenacity, and he is prepared to fight for your right to compensatory damages. Mr. Gelb’s professional focus on vehicle collision lawsuits has resulted in prominent recognition as a skilled advocate for injury victims throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., and has led to the recovery of millions in compensation for clients. Attorney Gelb takes pride in his accessibility to clients throughout the entirety of their legal representation, as he understands the devastating impact of a collision upon the victim and their family.Personal Injury Claims for Damages Following a Teen Driver Accident
Generally, a teenage driver is required to exercise the duty of care required of all drivers. This includes driving safely, and avoiding reckless speeding or other dangerous behavior. Teenagers are held to the same legal standard as adults regarding obeying rules of the road. Driving is an adult activity, and teenage driver owes others a duty of care. For this reason, if a teen driver caused an accident and injuries, they should be held accountable.
Teen driver accident victims may assert negligence as a basis of a legal claim following a crash. The allegation requires showing that the at-fault driver owed them a duty of care that was breached, directly causing their injuries and harm. Since teenage drivers owe others on the road the duty to avoid causing foreseeable harm, speeding or texting while behind the wheel may be determined to be a breach of this duty.
If a breached duty of care directly causes an accident and injuries or damages, an accident victim may have a strong claim for damages. In addition to speeding or distracted driving, there are many other examples of negligent driving conduct such as failing to account for weather conditions on the road or running a red light. A breached duty of care can take different forms, and the legal issue is whether a driver’s conduct failed to exhibit reasonable behavior.
Teen drivers tend to engage in risky driving conduct that may subject them to legal fault if an accident ensues. Drinking and driving is a problem for these young drivers, and the distraction caused by the use of electronic devices for texting or sending an email is also leading to many driving accidents. Male teenagers tend to drive fast and engage in tailgating and other risky driving behavior. Additionally, when other teens are in the vehicle, there is a greater chance of an accident.
There are various legal theories that may also hold the parent of a teenager legally responsible for the negligent driving of their child. Negligent entrustment is one cause of action that may dictate a parent’s legal fault when a teen causes an accident and the parent knew or should have known that their child was not fit to operate a vehicle. An example would be a teenager that is known to abuse alcohol. A parent who has been made aware or should be aware of their teen’s tendency to drink may be determined to be legally responsible for resulting accidents if their child causes a crash while intoxicated.Compensation Available in Teen Driver Accident Lawsuits
The types of damages that may be secured in a personal injury claim following a teen driver accident include medical expenses as well as other types of damages. Hospital bills, emergency services costs, and accessories necessary for rehabilitation are included in costs. Recurring medical expenses, such as physical therapy and prescription medication, are also included. Emotional harm resulting from the accident may be compensated.
Teenagers typically receive automobile insurance coverage through their parents’ policy. After an insured teenager causes a vehicle crash, the insurance company defends and indemnifies the teenager. The premium required to cover a teenage driver accounts for the increased risk of this age group getting into an accident. The reality is that insurance companies work to deny claims that may be legitimate. If the insurer fails to defend and indemnify their teenage driver, the parent may have a bad faith action against the company.
When a car accident victim is prevented from returning to work and earning their typical wages, these may also be recovered in their personal injury claim. If vocational training is necessary, these costs can be asserted as part of a damages claim. Property damage, including the cost to repair or replace the victim’s vehicle, is also included in compensation.
Emotional suffering and pain can also be part of a damages calculation set forth by the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit. A decreased quality of life following an accident may be challenging to quantify. However, the significant impact of an accident can lead to depression, lack of social engagement, and an overall sense of loss. An experienced attorney will be able to ascertain how to best set forth these calculations so that victims are fully compensated for their suffering.
If a teen driving accident has led to a fatality, a wrongful death claim may be appropriate. These claims are filed on behalf of the deceased, typically by surviving family. Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit will be determined by the jury or the judge, and depend upon the facts of the vehicle collision. In most cases, funeral costs are included as compensation, as well as work wages and benefits that the deceased would have accrued had they lived to retirement. A reckless at-fault driver may be held responsible for punitive damages by surviving family of the deceased.Dedicated Car Accident Attorney in Washington, D.C.
Following a teen driver accident, we understand that seeking compensation may not be the first priority for a family and loved ones. However, securing compensation for harm suffered in a collision can help ease the financial burden faced by many accident victims as they face mounting medical bills and other costs. Washington, D.C. lawyer Roger Gelb appreciates the emotional toll caused by vehicle collisions. His experience and tenacity has helped to recover significant compensation for injured individuals throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Mr. Gelb and the team at Gelb & Gelb are here to discuss your car accident claim. Call our office at (202) 331-7227 or contact us through our online form.