Teen Driver Accidents
Unfortunately, teen driver accidents often involve fatalities. The leading cause of death for people between 15 and 20 years old is car wrecks. Teens are more likely to speed, drink and drive, text while driving, get distracted by people in the back seat, or fail to put on a seatbelt. Georgia has a graduated licensing law that requires extensive education and driver training, but there continue to be serious teen crashes. If you are injured or a loved one is killed by a careless teenager in Atlanta or the surrounding area, experienced car accident attorney Stephen M. Ozcomert can help you pursue compensation.Seeking Damages from a Careless Teen Driver
There is a three-step process for getting experience behind the wheel in order to get a license. The first step is to acquire an instructional permit. While driving, the permit-holder must be accompanied by a passenger who is at least age 21 and has an unexpired Class C license. The second step is an intermediate or provisional license with a variety of restrictions for those 16-18 years old. The third step is a full license for those 18 and up. Those who drink while underage and have a BAC of .08 or higher will have their license suspended for 12 months.
In spite of these regulations, many teen drivers do continue to drive carelessly. To prove that a teen (or other) driver was negligent, you would have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the driver breached a duty of care to you, and that the breach caused the accident and actual damages. The doctrine of negligence per se might apply if a teen driver was drinking or texting while driving. Negligence per se means that someone is presumed to be negligent as a matter of law.
Often, children are on a parent's insurance policy, which means that the insurance will cover an accident involving a teen driver. You can also hold parents directly liable if they knew or should have known their children had a propensity for reckless or negligent behaviors that caused the accident.
Georgia also recognizes the family purpose doctrine. Under this doctrine you must prove:
The defendant parent owned or controlled the vehicle that was involved in the accident;
The negligent driver of that vehicle was a family member living in the owner's household;
The owner provided the car to the family member for his or her pleasure or convenience;
The car was being driven with the owner's consent and for a family purpose at the time of the crash; and
The owner had sufficient authority or control over the vehicle such that there was what is called an "agency" relationship between the owner and the family member.
If you are able to prove negligence, you can potentially recover compensatory damages. These are damages that include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills or lost wages, and more intangible harms, such as mental anguish, loss of enjoyment, and pain and suffering.Consult an Atlanta Attorney after a Motor Vehicle Accident
Atlanta residents who have been harmed by a careless teenager can contact motor vehicle collision lawyer Stephen M. Ozcomert to explore their options. He can help you negotiate with insurers and take your case to trial if needed. Call us at (404) 370-1000 or contact us via our online form to arrange a free consultation. We also represent accident victims in Decatur as well as other cities throughout DeKalb and Fulton Counties.