When one is involved in a car accident caused by a teenage driver in Marietta, he or she may want to give the youthful motorist a pass due to said teen's inexperience behind the wheel. However, the expenses that can often accompany such an accident may make it necessary for him or her to seek compensation. While a teen would likely not have the resources needed to help cover one's accident costs, his or her parents might. Yet in order to hold a parent responsible for the actions of a teen driver, one must typically apply the legal principle of negligent entrustment to his or her case.
Negligent entrustment allows liability for an accident to be placed on a third party in certain situations. In a recent ruling issued by the Court of Appeals for the state of Georgia, two elements were recognized as having to be present in order for this doctrine to apply. First, it must be proven that the owner of a vehicle entrusted it to a driver knowing that the driver was inexperienced and/or incompetent. Next, it needs to be shown that the incompetent driver's negligence was the proximate cause of an accident.
Parents will likely stand behind their teens when assessing their driving skills. An argument might be made, however, that they should know that teens in general have a tendency to drive recklessly. Data shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that teen drivers have a higher tendency to engage in the following dangerous driving behaviors than other demographics:
- Following too closely
- Driving during the late night or early morning hours
- Drinking and driving
Research data has also shown that teen drivers have more difficulty recognizing potentially hazardous driving conditions and to make critical errors in such conditions.