When one is involved in an accident caused by a teenage driver in Los Angeles, the resulting expenses due to the medical and repair costs may make it necessary for them to seek compensation. Yet how much can one reasonable expect a teen to be able to offer. The legal principle of negligent entrustment allows accident victims to hold vehicle owners responsible for accidents caused by others that they have loaned their vehicles to. In the case of a teenage driver, that will often be their parents.
One might argue that parents of teenage drivers should understand the risks that their teens pose to others on the road. Statistics certainly seem to indicate that teen drivers are among those most demographic groups most likely to be involved in car accidents. Information compiled by the insurance provider GEICO shows that one in every five 16-year-old drivers has an accident in their first year of driving. The same source cites local sources that show that California teens of the same age are 20 times more likely to die in a car crash than an adult.
Establishing a prior knowledge of a teen's inexperience and potential recklessness behind the wheel is vital if one hopes to cite negligent entrustment in their injury case. Per California's Civil Jury Instructions, the following elements must be proven when applying this principle:
- A teen was negligent in operating a vehicle
- The teen's parents had entrusted them with the vehicle
- The teen's parents knew (or should have known) of their teens poor driving skills
- The teen's parents still permitted them to drive the vehicle
- The teen's unfitness to drive caused the accident in question
According to this standard, negligent entrustment would not apply to cases where a teen to their parent's car without permission.