Being involved in a car accident is bad enough. But finding out the at-fault other driver is under the age of eighteen and a minor? Well, that certainly complicates the process more than just a standard auto accident claim.
The good news is that you still have plenty of recourse for being fairly compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other factors. Here’s what you need to know if a minor injures you in a car accident.
Understand Parental Responsibility Laws
Like most states, Georgia places responsibility on the parents of minors who cause an accident or otherwise invoke harm on another person. This means that the legal guardians of the teen or other minor driver that was involved in the collision are just as legally liable for the incident as if they had been behind the wheel themselves.
But what if the minor’s parents don’t own the vehicle? Or what if they didn’t know the teen had taken the car? While this definitely makes things take a bit longer to settle, it doesn’t mean that you won’t receive compensation or have to go to a courtroom to prove your damages.
Contact the Car Owner’s Insurance Company
In Georgia, auto insurance follows the vehicle and not the driver. This means that whatever insurance policy the parents had on the car is the one that will likely pay for your damages. This includes both physical damage to your vehicle and the medical bills for any occupants in your car.
Unless there is a problem with coverage on the policy, the insurance company will likely open a bodily injury claim to help with your medical bills. They’ll likely also cover damage repair to your vehicle under the property damage portion of the car owner’s policy.
Check with Your Own Insurance Carrier
There are instances in which the responsible party’s bodily injury coverage is not enough to fairly compensate you for your medical bills. In that case, you would want to consider working with your own auto insurance carrier to see about opening a UM/UIM claim.
This is specific coverage on your policy to help protect you from financial harm stemming from excessive medical bills in an accident that’s not your fault, but the other person either doesn’t have coverage or does not have enough coverage for the severity of the incident.
Wrap Up: What to Do If a Minor Injures You in a Car Accident
Car accidents are always a scary time for all involved. While things might get a little more technical in a claim involving a driver who is a minor, that doesn’t mean you won’t get a fair settlement without filing a lawsuit.
However, there are still certain negotiations and steps that need to happen to ensure the other insurance company doesn’t shortchange you on what you deserve. And having a knowledgeable and skilled attorney to work as your advocate is the best way to ensure a fair and quick settlement process.
Have you recently been involved in a vehicle collision with a minor? Please contact our team at Imbriale Injury Law to schedule an appointment.