Since so many issues may be involved in teen driver accident cases, including possible uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage claims, it is crucial to seek legal advice as soon as possible following the accident. An experienced attorney can begin investigating the case and, when appropriate, attempt to negotiate a settlement or move the case towards trial. Our motor vehicle collision lawyers can help people in Stuart and the surrounding area assert their rights.
Motor Vehicle Collision Lawyers Serving the Stuart Area
As relatively new drivers, teenagers may not always handle their vehicles with the appropriate care. They may get involved in distractions such as texting behind the wheel or simply follow traffic rules less scrupulously than they should. As a result, many serious collisions happen each year because of negligent driving by teenagers. At Donaldson & Weston, our car accident attorneys assist Stuart residents and others in a wide variety of personal injury cases, including those involving teen drivers.
Pursuing Damages for an Accident Caused by a Careless Teenager
Despite efforts like Florida’s graduated driver licensing program, teen driver accidents are still a pervasive problem. If you have been hurt in one of these crashes, a Stuart car accident attorney can advise you about your legal options in seeking compensation for your injuries.
All drivers, including teenagers, must comply with the rules of the road and uphold their legal duty of care to other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists. If someone breaches this duty, and another person is hurt as a result, the careless driver may be held liable for the resulting damages. This is the basic premise of negligence law. Once negligence is proven, the case moves on to other issues, such as the amount of damages to which the plaintiff may be entitled and whether the party seeking damages was partially at fault in the accident. In this situation, there may be a proportionate reduction in damages under Florida’s pure comparative fault doctrine.
To say that a driver was negligent is simply another way of saying that he or she did not act in the way that an ordinary, reasonably prudent person would be expected to behave under the same or similar circumstances. Common examples of negligent behavior involving teenagers include:
- Texting while driving;
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Speeding or driving too fast for the weather or traffic conditions;
- Disregarding traffic control devices, such as stop signs or red lights; or
- Failing to yield the right of way.
Some of the items that may be taken into consideration in calculating damages awards include past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, lost future earning capacity, and property damage. Spouses of accident victims may be able to assert a claim for loss of consortium as well.
In wrongful death cases, a deceased victim’s family may seek reimbursement for medical costs, burial expenses, funeral costs, loss of consortium, and similar losses. The victim’s estate also may ask for an award of lost net earnings in some cases. Both injury cases and wrongful death cases have statutes of limitations within which the case must be filed, or else it will usually be dismissed as untimely. It is important to note that the wrongful death statute of limitations is much shorter than the limitations period for other personal injury claims.