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Can a minor be liable for car crash damages?

On Behalf of | Apr 13, 2023 | Firm News

Teen drivers experience the same excitement and anxieties you had when taking your first solo drive. In Ohio, minors as young as 16 can apply for a probationary driver’s license and legally operate a motor vehicle without parental supervision. Despite Ohio’s relaxed driving restrictions for 16-year-olds, inexperience behind the wheel is still a risk.

A shocking 68% of crashes involving teens show they were at fault. Even while passing driving tests and following the rules, young individuals should still receive some guidance from their parents. Though minors are rarely brought to court, their parents or guardians may be held responsible for their actions.

Top causes of car accidents for minors

In the first of 2022, distracted driving caused 4.83% of 16,939 Ohio teen-related crashes. Many of these accidents resulted in serious injuries and, or death. Here are some common causes of teen driver accidents in Ohio:

  • Playing loud music
  • Texting while driving
  • Driving while under the influence
  • Speeding
  • Failing to use turn signals
  • Driving in the wrong lane
  • Being distracted by passengers

Who pays for damages when a minor is involved?

A minor in Ohio is a person under 18 years old, and the youngest drivers on the road may be as young as 16 years old. There are ways that a victim may bring a civil case against a minor. However, it usually does not happen as minors often lack the financial resources to compensate the victim.

Instead, Ohio parental responsibility laws assign responsibility to the parents of the minor. If a minor causes damages while driving, the child and the adult will be accountable. However, the parent who signed the minor’s probationary driver’s license may have to shoulder the compensation through their insurance policy.

Ohio has strict driving regulations for 16-year-old drivers to help minimize accidents. If you are a parent and your teen is considering learning to drive, it might be a good idea to talk to them about driver safety and stress the importance of following the rules of their probationary license.