Teenagers live on the cusp of adulthood and explore the world more openly than children. However, teens do not yet have the life experience of an adult and often take part in risky behavior.
Teen drivers can get involved in car accidents, either by causing the accident, or as victims, and car accidents sit among the leading causes of teenager injuries and death. If your teen child was injured in a vehicle accident, or you were hurt because the other driver was inexperienced, an Indianapolis teen driver accident lawyer could help you figure out who was at fault and possibly pursue compensation.
Any driver can suffer severe injuries in a car accident, but teens face greater risks of getting into an accident than a typical adult driver—more than three times the risk, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Some common causes of teen driver injuries include:
Teens can sometimes drive with several friends, increasing the possibility of driving while distracted. They may also drive late at night, sometimes in connection with parties and underage drinking.
These heightened risks increase the likelihood of an accident when a teen is behind the wheel. When an accident does occur in Indianapolis, an attorney could help a driver make a claim for injuries they experienced.
General liability for injuries goes to the party who is at fault, and Indiana Code Section 34-6-2-45(b) defines fault as “any act or omission that is negligent, willful, wanton, reckless, or intentional” toward someone else or their property. Any party to an accident could be at fault, and determining that fault creates the basis for a suit for damages.
Fault works both ways, however, in that an injured person seeking compensation may have partially caused their own injuries. The state’s system of contributory fault reduces compensation if a plaintiff partly causes their own injuries. Section 34-51-2-5 establishes that the fault attributed to the plaintiff reduces the available damages by the proportion of that fault, and Section 34-51-2-6 stops a plaintiff from recovering anything if their proportion of fault is greater than that of all other parties causing the injuries.
Outside of showing fault, an injured person must bring a claim within the statute of limitations and know who to sue. This state has a two-year window for personal injury suits from the date of the injury, but that window can be delayed if the plaintiff has not yet turned 18. As for identifying which party to sue, a parent takes responsibility for a driver under the age of 18 when the teen applies for and receives a learner’s permit or license under Section 9-24-9-4.
Investigating the fault of another driver and showing that an injured party did not cause the accident is where legal counsel comes in. A teen driver accident attorney could evaluate the circumstances of the Indianapolis accident and collect the evidence needed to show fault.
In the aftermath of a car accident, your focus should be on seeking medical attention, but you should also see about pursuing compensation. The two-year statute of limitations creates a hard deadline for bringing a claim, even though that deadline could be extended if the injured person is under 18.
An Indianapolis teen driver accident lawyer could support you after an accident and help you put together a legal claim. We can sort through evidence of the accident and of the drivers’ actions, even if you might have been partially at fault. Discuss your case with us during a free consult and learn more about your options.