Studies show that 15- to 17-year-old drivers are disproportionately likely to cause a car accident. Minors lack the experience and judgment of adult drivers – but also typically lack financial resources and sometimes do not have the same legal liability as adults. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a minor driver, you probably have some questions about how you will recover compensation. Your best option after any motor vehicle accident is to immediately contact a qualified attorney. Time is of the essence in car crash claims, as crucial evidence like tire tracks and broken glass at the scene can be lost quickly.
Who is Responsible for Damages Caused by a Minor Driver?
Wisconsin state law requires minors seeking a learner’s permit or driver’s license to have an adult – usually a parent or guardian – sponsor them. By sponsoring a minor, the adult accepts responsibility for any damages the minor causes while behind the wheel. This adult sponsor can be liable for up to $300,000 worth of damage. Additionally, the adult sponsor must maintain a car insurance plan for the minor that meets all Wisconsin state law requirements, such as mandatory minimum liability coverage amounts.
Even if the minor was driving in an unlawful manner, such as by street racing or driving while intoxicated, the adult sponsor is still liable. Teen drivers are more likely than most to be distracted by their cell phones, music, or friends in the passenger seats. An adult who chooses to sponsor a minor for their learner’s permit or driver’s license does not escape liability just because the minor involved was committing a crime when the accident occurred. Sponsors take on the risk that a minor driver will engage in unlawful activity while driving.
What Risk Factors Make Minor Drivers Likely to Cause an Accident?
It is well-known that teens are more likely to be involved in a car accident than adult drivers. Minors behind the wheel are both inexperienced and prone to distraction, leading to a heightened risk of an accident. In fact, drivers who are 16 years old are more than 20 times as likely to be in an accident than drivers of any other age. Here are some reasons minor drivers may cause more accidents than other age groups:
- Inexperience – Minors lack experience and are more prone to making seemingly minor areas that a more experienced driver could have avoided.
- Risk-taking Behaviors – Minors are more likely than adults to take risks, like speeding excessively, racing, and driving drunk.
- Distractions – Minors are often more easily distracted by electronics or passengers. A sixteen-year-old carrying a carload of her peers may struggle to focus on driving safely.
Contact a Green Bay Auto Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident caused by a minor driver, contact a Green Bay car accident lawyer for legal support soon after the crash. Evidence at the crash site needs to be gathered quickly, before it is lost to the elements or removed by a cleanup crew. Witnesses need to be interviewed before their memories of the crash begin to fade and details are forgotten. The attorneys at Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd. are experienced at pursuing compensation after a car accident. Call us today at 920-739-7366 for a free consultation.