Who is Liable When a Teen Driver Causes a Car Crash?

Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Brad Smith answers the question: ” Do I have to pay a fee to meet with an attorney about my personal injury case?”


If you or your loved one has been injured in a car crash caused by a teenage driver, you may wonder whether the teen’s parents can be held liable for your damages.

It is advisable to consult with a Charlotte car accident attorney to determine if you can hold the teen’s parents responsible for the damages you have suffered in a teen driver crash.

Fact: Over 50,000 car accidents in North Carolina involved teenage drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 in 2017.

Some of the most common causes of teen driver crashes include the lack of experience, aggressive driving, speeding, distracted driving, and running red lights.


Teen-driver-Charlotte-Monroe-Mooresville-Injury-Lawyer-300x225Who Can be Held Liable for a Teen Driver Crash in North Carolina?

If you have been involved in a teenage driver accident in North Carolina, it is vital to determine liability before pursuing damages. Technically, both the teen driver and their parents could be held liable for the resulting damages. Parents are held liable for teen driver crashes under the so-called “family purpose” doctrine.

Under the doctrine, parents can be held responsible for a car accident caused by their teenage child if the vehicle was used for a recreational or family-related purpose, including shopping.


Who Owns the Vehicle in a Teen Driver Crash?

In addition to determining why the teenage driver was driving, it is also important to consider who owns the teen-driven vehicle. In order to hold the teen’s parents liable for the accident, the injured party must establish an actual control of the car by proving that the parents:

  • Purchased the vehicle
  • Pay insurance premiums
  • Pay for vehicle repairs
  • Possess vehicle keys


What if the Teenager is Negligent or Has No Driver’s License?

Parents can also be held liable for teen driver accidents when entrusting a vehicle to a negligent or inexperienced teenager. For example, if parents know that their teenage child has received three traffic tickets for speeding in the past two months, but they still entrust the car to the child, they might be held liable for the car crash.

The same can be said about situations in which parents entrust a vehicle to a teenage child who does not have a valid driver’s license.


What Should I Do if I Was in a Teen Driver Crash in North Carolina?

If you have been involved in a car crash caused by a teen driver, take the following steps:

  • Get medical attention right away
  • Report the accident to the police
  • Gather evidence at the scene of the accident, including photos and videos
  • Obtain the teen driver’s contact and insurance information (and write down the contact information of the teen’s parents)
  • Talk to a lawyer to determine if you can hold the teen’s parents liable for the car crash.

Speak with our car accident attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to discuss liability in your teen driver crash in North Carolina. Our attorneys may be able to help you hold the teenage driver’s parents or guardians responsible for your damages. Contact our lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to discuss your compensation options. Call (704) 370-2828 to receive a video, phone or in-person consultation with our lawyers to explore your legal options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and Monroe.







The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.






Image Credit




See Our Related Video from our YouTube channel:




See Our Related Blog Posts:

School Is Out, Car Accidents Involving Teenage Drivers Increase


Snapchat Sued After Teen Causes Devastating Car Crash While Using “Miles Per Hour” Filter

Contact Information