Underage Driving Accidents: Getting Restitution Isn’t Hopeless
Not all accidents involve licensed, experienced drivers. It’s not uncommon for someone learning to drive to make a mistake and cause an accident. Of course, there is also the possibility that the driver of another vehicle is responsible for a crash involving someone new behind the wheel. It’s important to understand how an underage driving accident is handled and whose insurance would pay for damages.
When the Unlicensed Driver Causes an Underage Driving Accident
The insurance company that insures the vehicle ultimately would be responsible for paying on a claim. Because Georgia is an at-fault state, it is important to show a low degree of fault on your part. And that would mean if the the unlicensed driver caused the underage driving accident, then the individual who owns the car would be liable for another party’s bodily injuries and/or property damage.
A common scenario in which this happens is with a teenager using the family vehicle. In these circumstances, it’s usually the parent who is responsible because the insurance policy typically covers the entire family.
However, one issue that can arise in an underage driving accident is when it’s not a parent in the vehicle of someone who is learning to drive. It could be another relative, such as a grandparent or aunt. It might even be a family friend. According to Georgia law, anyone who accompanies a person with an instructional permit (Class CP) must be at least 21 years old. Additionally, the adult must have a valid driver’s license and be competent enough to exercise control over the vehicle.
This would mean that the insurance company of the owner of the vehicle would have to pay on a claim. These types of cases sometimes can get complicated. For instance, the insured person may decide to go after the parents of the minor who caused the crash.
When an Unlicensed/Learning Driver Is Injured in an Accident as a Result of Someone Else’s Negligence
In most of these scenarios, it’s the parent's vehicle that is being driven. So if someone else was at fault for the accident, the unlicensed driver would be covered by his/her parent’s policy. However, a claim first would be filed with the at-fault driver.
There are circumstances in which the parents may need to turn to their own insurance policy, even when another driver was at fault. An example would be when the negligent driver doesn’t have insurance. If the parents purchased an optional type of coverage -- uninsured motorist coverage -- this could help cover damages. Or if the damages exceed the at-fault driver’s policy limits, the remainder might be covered by underinsured motorist coverage, an optional type of insurance that some motorists purchase.
Seeking Legal Advice When an Accident Involves an Unlicensed/Learning Driver
There can be complex issues that arise in underage driving accidents, especially in Atlanta. It’s usually a good idea to talk with an attorney, especially if accident injuries were serious. The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz can help pinpoint liability. Call (404) 474-0804 right after you call your insurance company. Find out why in our free eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Accident Cases in Georgia.