Teen Car Accidents
Albuquerque Attorneys Serving Victims of Motor Vehicle Collisions
Teens are at a greater risk of getting into an accident than most adults are, and they are significantly overrepresented in fatal car accidents, particularly those involving drunk driving. Another potential cause of injuries or fatalities in teen car accidents is a lower rate of seat belt use among teen drivers. In many fatal crashes, teens were not wearing seatbelts. If you were hurt by a careless teenager in New Mexico, the Albuquerque car accident lawyers at the Fine Law Firm may be able to help you assert your right to compensation.
Pursuing Damages through a Negligence Claim against a Teen Driver
In New Mexico, all drivers under age 18 must follow the requirements set forth in a graduated driver licensing program. The purpose of the three stages of the program is to give young drivers experience in driving and reduce the number of high-risk scenarios they will face before they get their driver’s licenses. The first stage is obtaining a permit. A driver must be at least 15 years old to obtain this permit and follow other requirements.
The next step is getting a provisional license, which involves passing a driving test. The provisional license is held for at least 12 months. Among other restrictions, the provisional license holder may not drive between 12:00 a.m. and 5 a.m. unless he or she is accompanied by a licensed responsible adult. An unrestricted driver’s license is only available to a teen driver after he or she has completed the second stage successfully and only as long as there are no traffic violation convictions in the 90 days preceding the application for an unrestricted license.
If you are injured or a loved one is killed in a teen car crash, you may be able to recover compensation. As with other types of accident cases, you would have to prove negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. This is established by proving the defendant owed a duty of care, he or she breached that duty, the breach caused the accident, and actual damages resulted. In some cases, New Mexico teens have their own insurance policies. In that case, the policy typically absorbs the consequences of an accident caused by the teen. However, when a child is on his or her parent’s policy, the parent can potentially be held indirectly liable under the doctrine of vicarious liability.
Parents may also be held liable under the family purpose doctrine if a teenager is at fault for the accident. Under this doctrine, when a car is provided for general use for family members or is provided for use to a negligent driver within the household, the head of the household is liable for the negligent driver’s damages. If you are trying to recover damages under the family purpose doctrine, you will need to prove that the head of the household provided the car to a negligent driver.
When a teen is the victim of a serious car crash, the injuries may be devastating. In cases involving catastrophic harm, it may be necessary to seek damages for medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment. When injuries are permanent, as with scarring and disfigurement, it may be necessary to determine how they will affect the teen for the rest of his or her lifetime. The individual teen’s characteristics may have an impact on the damages awarded. For example, juries may be inclined to believe that a young woman suffers substantially from a facial scar. Similarly, a very bright teenager who would have been likely to attend an elite university and pursue a lucrative career may be severely affected if a car accident leaves him or her with cognitive deficits.
Seek Capable Legal Guidance after a Car Accident in Albuquerque
Accident victims in the Albuquerque area can enlist a personal injury attorney at the Fine Law Firm to try to hold a teenage driver accountable for harming them. Contact us via our online form or call us at (505) 243-4541 to arrange a consultation at no cost to you. We also assist accident victims in Rio Rancho and elsewhere in New Mexico.