It is not uncommon for teenagers to cause automobile accidents. After all, they are less experienced drivers and prone to distraction, perhaps even more so than the rest of us. What happens, however, when you are in a car accident caused by a minor? How will you be compensated? Can you bring a suit against the minor’s parents for your injuries? This blog will explore the legal ramifications of accidents involving minors. Learn about potential liability, parental responsibility laws, and how to pursue your claim in these sensitive situations.
Am I Able to Sue the Parents of a Minor After an Accident?
Generally speaking, the law holds people responsible for the harm their own actions have caused to another. In certain cases, however, responsibility will extend to another party as well. For instance, under the legal theory of respondeat superior, an employer can be held responsible for the actions of an employee under certain circumstances. Also, a parent can be held responsible for the actions of their child under certain circumstances.
North Dakota’s parental responsibility law has applications when it comes to a motor vehicle accident caused by a minor. You see, in order for a minor’s application for a driver’s permit or license in North Dakota, to be approved, it must be signed and validated by a parent or guardian. Under North Dakota law, the person who signed the application is jointly and severally responsible for the minor if the minor causes damages, including property damage or physical injury due to negligently operating a vehicle.
In other words, as the parent or guardian is jointly and severally responsible for the harm caused by a minor in an accident, both the parent and the minor can be held either individually or collectively liable for the damages. This means that the accident victim can pursue damages that would be paid by the parent/guardian and child together or separately. In most accident cases, however, it is the insurance company providing coverage to the parent and/or minor that will be on the hook for paying out on the damages sustained by the accident victim.
Should there be issues with insurance coverage, such as the minor or their parent lacking insurance coverage, it is likely that you would want to pursue damages from the parent as the minor is not likely to have any assets to their name. It will also be important for you to be sure about your own insurance coverage and what compensation you can seek under your own policy.
North Dakota Personal Injury Attorneys
When it comes to accidents involving minors, even those caused by minors, things can become very complicated very fast. Let the dedicated personal injury team at Pringle & Herigstad help you pursue the compensation you deserve for the harm you have suffered. Contact us today.