Everyone remembers how exciting it was when you first learned how to drive – the countless hours logging time with your parents and how nerve-racking the test was. What people often forget is that just like we were, the student drivers on the road now are just as inexperienced and bound to make mistakes.
The CDC states that the most common reason for new and teen drivers to get into accidents is inexperience and inability to recognize dangerous situations.
Regardless of the presence of an instructor, student drivers balance nerves, unawareness and ignorance that can ultimately get them into an accident.
If you’ve been in a car crash caused by a student driver, it can be difficult knowing what to do. These new drivers are often uninsured, or are currently involved with a driving institution. Don’t worry. Once you’ve figured out who’s liable, you can file a claim for the damage done to your car and personal health.
What is Liability?
In the insurance industry, liability is being held responsible for the accident being discussed. When it comes to car crashes, the person held liable is the one whose actions or negligence caused the accident to happen.
Most insurance companies have liability coverage, protecting you from being held liable if the accident was not your fault and giving you financial help. It can also cover you if you were held liable and need monetary assistance paying off the damage to both cars.
Who Has Liability in an Accident with a Student Driver?
In a normal car accident, it’s easy to piece together that the driver who caused it is liable. However, things can get tricky when the driver at fault only has a permit. Insurance companies will have to look at all the details of the accident, including the extent of the responsibility, damage and actions leading up to the crash. With a student driver, the insurance that covers the vehicle will be the insurance that applies to the claim as long as the driver had permission to be driving the vehicle.
There are three possible answers to who is liable for the accident:
1. The Student Driver
When the student is held liable, your case will be handled very similar to a standard insurance claim. Accidents as a result of driving recklessly or speeding are considered negligent and falls on the student since they had direct control of their driving.
Most accidents involving a student driver will find them liable.
2. The Instructor
Since driving instructors are in charge of monitoring the student while they’re driving, it is possible to find them liable. In instances where there was a clear amount of time where the instructor could intervene, the instructor may also have some liability.
If there is evidence that the instructor was distracted and not paying attention (texting, on a call, etc.), then the instructor may be considered negligent and may be held liable.
3. The Driving Institution
Naming the driving institution itself can be tricky, but it can be considered the liable party on the basis of negligent hiring, vicarious liability and improper maintenance of their vehicles.
It is the school’s responsibility to train their employees, and it is also their responsibility to background check their employees before hiring. If the car accident can be pinned to the instructor’s negligence, it can come back to the school for not managing their instructors and guaranteeing their qualifications.
Lastly, if the accident was a result of faulty equipment like bald tires or malfunctioning brake lights and not the student’s driving, then the institution may be held liable. The school is in charge of making sure their cars are in top shape and up to code.
What You Can Receive if You File a Claim
If you file a claim for the accident and the student or other party is found liable, then you are entitled to financial compensation. This can include a monetary value to pay for property damage to your car, and/or coverage of any medical expenses you obtained from personal injury as a result of the accident and also your pain and suffering and lost wages.
Your Personal Injury Lawyers in Virginia
When you’ve been injured in a car accident, the cost of your medical expenses can add up. Follow up appointments and checkups will continue to drain your bank account and morale after the initial emergency visit.
Regardless of if it was a student driver or an experienced one, you shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s negligence. The personal injury attorneys at Epperly & Follis will represent your claim, taking care of the finances so you can focus on your recovery.
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a student driver, reach out and see how we can help get you back on your feet.