Legal Guidance for Motor Vehicle Crash Victims in West Palm Beach
In Florida, there is a graduated driver’s license system in place to protect teenage drivers and others on the road. Initially, teenagers are eligible for learner’s licenses that allow them to drive during daylight hours with an adult who is 21 or older. Subsequently, a teenager can acquire an operator or intermediate license. Adults must accompany a teen driver with an operator license if he or she is driving between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. A teenager becomes eligible for a driver’s license with full privileges when he or she turns 18. Until that time, a parent can be held accountable for his or her negligence. If you have been involved in a car accident in the West Palm Beach area, the attorneys at Anidjar & Levine may be able to help you pursue compensation from a careless teenager or the teen’s parents.
Establishing Liability for Teen Car Accidents
Florida parents should be aware that they can be held responsible if their teenager causes an accident using their car. An automobile owner can be held liable for any damages to third parties due to the negligent operation of his or her vehicle under the dangerous instrumentality doctrine. Any parent who authorizes the use of his or her car by a teenager on a highway can potentially be held liable if the teenager is negligent or reckless and causes injuries to others.
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Moreover, by signing the application for a driver’s license for a driver under age 18, a parent agrees to be responsible for any damages from an accident under section 322.09(2) of the Florida Statutes. This responsibility will terminate when a child reaches age 18. Most teenagers are covered under their parents’ insurance, and the parents’ insurer will have to step up and defend against a personal injury lawsuit brought against the teenager.
In general, parents should limit their teens’ driving to going to and from work or school. It is common for teens to get into accidents when giving rides to other teenagers, which makes it important to restrict the number of passengers to whom the teenage driver can give rides.
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What if your teen insists he or she is not at fault, but was simply a victim of the other driver? In some cases, the other driver’s insurer insists the teenage driver is at fault simply to avoid paying damages. Or, in other cases, both drivers are genuinely at fault. In complex cases, it may be important to retain an accident reconstruction expert to testify as to what happened and who caused the accident.
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Florida follows the doctrine of comparative negligence. This means that the jury can evaluate the total damages and assign a percentage of fault to all parties that were responsible for an accident. For example, if the total damages are $100,000, but an injured teen driver was 50% at fault, he or she may be able to recover up to $50,000 for from other parties found to be at fault.
Seek Compensation for Your Injuries by Enlisting a West Palm Beach Attorney
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Accident victims in West Palm Beach can consult the injury lawyers at Anidjar & Levine to help them explore their options. In some cases, a teenager may suffer serious harm that will haunt him or her far into adulthood. Permanent injuries may limit his or her ability to enjoy life or pursue particular occupations. The consequences of a serious car accident that was another individual’s fault may be compensable. Call Anidjar & Levine at 800-747-3733 or contact us via our online form for a free consultation. We also represent clients in Palm Beach Gardens, Royal Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, and Boca Raton, among other cities in Palm Beach County.
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