Who Is Liable if a Drivers Ed Student Crashes?
Learning to drive is an unforgettable – though often stressful – experience. Aside from taking a class that teaches young drivers the rules of the road, they must also take driver’s training. DMV-approved driving courses operate by allowing new drivers to take the wheel with an experienced instructor. Instructors typically maintain control of the car with their own passenger brake system, but sometimes collisions are unavoidable past a certain point.
Driver’s Student Liability Coverage
A young driver with a learner’s permit can obtain coverage through their guardian’s auto insurance policy. Because student drivers are still minors, parents retain liability in accidents to which they contribute. For example, if a parent tells their child to drop off mail at the post office, they are partially liable for any accidents that occur in transit. In any case, if a young driver possesses auto insurance through their guardians, their liability insurance covers claims associated with at-fault accidents.
What to Do After an Accident
After an accident involving a student driver, the first thing you should do is tell the driver to carefully pull over. They will certainly feel overwhelmed, so helping them remain calm to prevent further damage is necessary.
After pulling over, you should view the situation as a teachable moment. Show the driver how to exchange information with the other driver, including their basic contact information, insurance information, vehicle identification number (VIN), and their car information (license plate, make, model).
Teach the driver about your state’s reporting laws. If the accident caused injury or meets your state’s specified cap in property damages, you must call the police so they can file a report. Leaving the scene without calling the police in this context counts as a misdemeanor in many states. Some states also report accidents with similar criteria to report the accident to the DMV. Check your state’s laws to see if this applies to your accident.
Though the student driver might have caused the accident, teach them how to document evidence by taking pictures of the damage. If the other driver files a claim, they might try to take advantage of the situation and claim damages not associated with the accident. Gathering evidence even when you are at-fault still covers you to some extent.
Teach you student/child how to contact their insurance company. This can be intimidating for student drivers, especially if they’ve never been in an accident before. Make the call via speakerphone so you can guide the driver in reporting the accident.
Can I File a Claim if a Driving Student Causes an Accident?
As an injured driver involved in a student driver-caused collision, you might wonder who you can press charges against, or if you can press charges at all. A student driver must abide by the same laws experienced drivers follow. This means they are still liable for unsafe actions on the roadway, even if they are just learning. A claimant can file a lawsuit or insurance claim against the student driver. In this case, the driver’s parents typically assume liability through their insurance. When you press charges against a new driver, you will often find their parent’s liability coverage can compensate for your damages.
Speak to a local car accident lawyer to see what your options are regarding your accident.
In a scenario where the student driver is actively completing their driver’s training course, you might be able to pursue legal action against the driving instructor. A driving instructor is supposed to maintain a watchful eye on their pupil. Coupled with their passenger brake system, a driving instructor should be able to guide their students to avoid dangerous situations. You could claim this negligence by filing a lawsuit against them. Driver’s training instructors typically carry insurance coverage to address accidents that occur on the job, which will compensate you if you press legal charges.
Though it might seem cruel to press charges in a collision involving a student driver, it might be necessary to recover for damages they’ve caused. Moreover, driving in a way that causes an accident can be a crucial teaching moment for the student driver, showing them that solid consequences do follow reckless behavior.