Are Parents Liable for Car Accidents Caused by Their Children in Texas?

If your newly young driver is involved in a car accident, it may seem like a stressful experience. It is strongly recommended to hold a valid auto insurance policy for all the motor vehicles and drivers in the family. Based on Texas state law, the experienced car accident attorneys at Reyes Law Firm in Dallas, TX have provided crucial information regarding whether the parent or a teenager driver is held accountable for the accident.

Parental Responsibility: Texas Legal Principles

Studies conducted by CDC show that teenage drivers between 16 to 19 years of age are about three times more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents. This is mainly due to the following reasons:

  • The driver does not have enough experience.
  • The driver has less developed ability in identifying dangerous situations and safely adapting to them.
  • The driver is more likely to follow closely compared to experienced drivers.

In most states, parents are responsible for their children’s negligent driving. As per the Texas Family Code, the court can hold the parent responsible if their child has caused any property damage or the parent may be held liable for injury or death. They may also be held liable if they have negligently entrusted the vehicle to their child who is intoxicated, reckless, or unlicensed. This law is known as ‘negligent entrustment’. The only situation in which a parent will not be held liable is if the child has the sole ownership title of the car and they were involved in an accident.

Tips for Parents with Teenage Drivers

If you have a teenage driver in your family, make sure that your child is insured as soon as they receive their license before they start using the car. Although the Texas law does not require that the teens have coverage when driving on a learner’s permit or under the supervision of a licensed adult, it is best to have coverage for your child as they will be subjected to the same auto insurance requirements as any other driver.

It is also recommended to talk to your children about safe driving and their responsibilities as a driver when they share the road with other vehicles. Additionally, try to familiarize yourself with your child’s driving ability and their level of awareness and responsibility when they are behind the wheels. Just because your child has a valid driver’s license does not necessarily mean that they are ready to drive solo. Understand your teenage driver’s abilities and take decisions accordingly.

How can a car accident lawyer help you?

If the teenage driver is a member of your family and the car that they were driving is your vehicle you will most likely be covered by the insurance policy. However, there are some insurance companies that do not cover household members by default. In such cases, you will have to list your children as additional drivers in your policy.

If your teenage driver was at fault in an accident in the state of Texas, it is recommended to hire an experienced car accident attorney. A knowledgeable and reputed lawyer will help in reviewing your case, negotiate with the insurance companies, and protect your legal rights.

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