In addition to criminal charges, teens and their parents may face civil lawsuits for drunk driving or reckless behavior that causes injuries in California. This essentially means that a person who was injured by a teen’s dangerous actions behind the wheel could file a personal injury lawsuit, explains an attorney in the state.
Of course, most teenagers do not have any money to pay damages arising from a personal injury lawsuit, although they should be covered by their parent’s insurance, and the insurance may contribute to cover some portion of legal bills and damages. Parents, however, should be aware that a personal injury action may go beyond just trying to hold the teen responsible. Parents, as well, may face civil liability and may be sued when they have a teen who drives drunk or who drives recklessly.
There are several legal theories under which parents may be sued. One possible cause of action may stem from negligent entrustment of a motor vehicle, or for negligently allowing a teen driver to use a car. If parents have reason to believe their teen is drinking, will drink and drive or is a reckless driver and they allow the teen to take the car anyway, this can constitute negligent entrustment of a motor vehicle and give rise to civil liability.
Negligent parenting is another potential cause of action that may exist and that may impose liability on parents when their teens drive under the influence. In order for a parent to be found liable for negligent parenting as a result of a teen’s drunk or reckless driving accident, there generally must be evidence available suggesting that a parent knew or should have known that the teen presented a hazard or was doing something dangerous.
With the potential consequences of a negligence civil suit against parents and teens, not to mention the potential criminal consequences of a long driver’s license suspension, it is clear that teens need to be reminded often of the legal ramifications of their decisions.
Additional information on transportation safety and personal injury law, including books and articles on the process of pursuing an injury or a wrongful death claim, is available to the public free of charge.
If you would like to request one of these free resources, or to speak with a California personal injury attorney, feel free to call 1-888-834 5055.