What Legal Options Do I Have if a Minor Caused a Car Accident?

Car accidents involving minors can be complex legal situations. While young drivers may lack the experience and judgment of adults, the law still holds them accountable for negligent actions that cause harm. If you have been injured due to a minor’s careless or reckless driving, you can file a claim legally. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to pursue claims against the minor driver directly or their parents/guardians. You have legal options available when a minor causes a car accident, and an attorney can help you understand your rights and potential avenues for seeking compensation.

Legal Options Do I Have if a Minor Caused a Car Crash

Can You File a Case Against a Minor?

You can file a case against a minor in Massachusetts if they caused a car accident that resulted in injuries or damages. While the legal process may be more complex due to the driver’s age, minors can still be held liable for their negligent actions behind the wheel.

In Massachusetts, the parental responsibility law (M.G.L. c. 231, § 85G) allows parents or legal guardians to be held vicariously liable for their minor children’s negligent or willful acts. This means that if a minor driver causes an accident, the injured party can file a claim or lawsuit against the minor’s parents or guardians and the minor themselves.

If the minor was driving a vehicle owned by their parents or guardians, the injured party may be able to file a claim directly with the vehicle owner’s insurance company. In such cases, the insurance policy should cover the damages caused by the minor driver up to the policy limits.

Alternatively, if the parents or guardians do not have adequate insurance coverage or the circumstances warrant it, the injured party may file a personal injury or property damage lawsuit directly against the minor driver. In Massachusetts, minors can be sued for their negligent actions, and any judgment or settlement awarded would typically be paid once the minor reaches the age of majority (18 years old).

It is important to note that the legal process involving minors can be more complex, and it is advisable to consult with our experienced personal injury attorneys at Altman Nussbaum Shunnarah, who can guide you through the specific laws and procedures in Massachusetts.

Understanding the Parental Responsibility Laws

In Massachusetts, parental responsibility laws allow parents or legal guardians to be held liable for their minor children’s negligent or intentional actions in certain circumstances. Understanding these laws is crucial if you have been involved in a car accident caused by a minor driver.

The Massachusetts Parental Responsibility Law (M.G.L. c. 231, § 85G) states that parents or legal guardians can be held vicariously liable for any willful or negligent acts committed by their minor children that result in property damage, personal injury, or other losses. This law applies to children under 18 years who are still under the care and supervision of their parents or guardians.

There are two main scenarios where parental liability may apply:

  • Negligent conduct: If the minor’s negligent actions that led to the accident can be traced back to the negligent failure of the parent or guardian to properly supervise or control the child, the parent or guardian may be held liable. For example, if a parent knowingly allowed their underage child to operate a vehicle without proper training or supervision, and the child caused an accident due to their inexperience, the parent could be held responsible.
  • Willful or malicious conduct: If the minor’s actions that caused the accident were willful, intentional, or malicious, and the child was at least 10 years old but under 18, the parents or guardians can be held vicariously liable, regardless of whether they were negligent in their supervision. In this case, the focus is on the child’s intent rather than the parent’s negligence.

It is important to note that the parental responsibility law in Massachusetts does not automatically absolve minors of their liability. Depending on the circumstances, the minor driver and their parents or guardians may be named as defendants in a personal injury or property damage lawsuit stemming from the car accident.

Our Attorneys at Altman Nussbaum Shunnarah Can Help You

If a minor caused your car accident in Massachusetts, you have legal options to pursue compensation. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Altman Nussbaum Shunnarah can navigate the complexities of parental responsibility laws and protect your rights. Do not hesitate to contact us at 617-222-2222 for a free consultation and to discuss your case.

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