In some cases, the driver of a car isn't always the only party responsible for the accidents they cause. For example, if you are involved in a crash with another car and it turns out that the other driver is a drunk minor, there are several other parties you may hold liable for the crash. Here are three of those parties:
The Parents of the Minor
It is possible to claim your damages from the child's parents, and even sue them, using the legal principle of parental liability. The exact application of parental liability varies by state, but it usually applies to children between the ages of 8 or 10 and the age of majority (typically 18). Note that there may be a limit on how much you can collect from the parents for their child's actions. Consult a personal injury lawyer to help you determine if and how much recovery you can expect from the parents.
The Owner of the Car
If the car the child was driving wasn't theirs, then you may also be able to sue the person who loaned the car to the minor. There are two legal principles that make this possible. First, car insurance generally follows the car which means if a person has insurance in a borrowed car, it is the actual owner of the car who pays for the damages (although there are a few exceptions). Secondly, if the owner of the car loaned it to the teen when the teen was already drunk, the owner will be held liable for the accident because they let their car be driven by an impaired or risky driver.
The Person Who Gave the Minor Alcohol
Lastly, the legal principle of social host liability and dram shop laws may also allow you to go after the person who provided the alcohol to the minor. Dram shop laws make an alcohol seller responsible for injuries caused by a patron if the seller provided the patron with alcohol when the patron was already drunk. When the provider of alcohol isn't an alcohol vendor, then the same principle applies to social host liability. The laws become especially strict when the person who was served with alcohol is a minor. The specific laws of your state will determine whether you can go after the alcohol server.
For any type of injury claim, one of the best ways to maximize damages is to identify all the parties responsible for the injury. Therefore, if you have been hurt by a minor, let a personal injury lawyer, like one from Knochel Law Offices PC, help you identify all the liable parties.