Teen Car Accident in Maryland
Driving in Maryland can lead to accidents no matter how much driving experience you have. Every day our attorneys handle accidents for clients with decades of driving experience. So, it is no wonder teenagers driving with less experience have difficulty dealing with negligent drivers. Teen car accidents in Maryland happen with unfortunate regularity. In Maryland, “young drivers” are those between the ages of 16 and 20. The average yearly number of young driver-involved fatal crashes is 50.
Our firm takes teen accidents very seriously. Beginning in 2021, we have rolled out the Behind The Wheel scholarship. This scholarship awards applicants who excel both in the classroom and on the road. Our plan is to incentivize safe driving while also being a well-rounded individual; this is just a part of our firm’s mission to serve the Maryland and surrounding communities.
Contributing Factors: Maryland Teen Car Accident
There is a multitude of factors that affect a teenage driver. First is the unfortunate reality of texting and driving. In 2009, then-Governor O’Malley effected a law prohibiting all drivers in Maryland from using hand-held cell phones to call or text while operating a motor vehicle on a street or highway. The only exceptions are to call 9-1-1 and to turn off your phone or to initiate or terminate a call. We vehemently oppose drivers of any age who text and drive. This is an ongoing crisis and one that could benefit from more public advertising. Teen drivers look up to adults in their lives and need good role models.
The second contributing factor is reckless driving. This comes in many forms. As it pertains to teen driving in Maryland, teens sometimes feel like they are invincible. So, they may drive recklessly while racing with friends. We have handled cases on both sides of these accidents, and they come up with unfortunate regularity. An additional, related factor is drunk driving. Of course, consuming alcohol as a teenager is illegal in Maryland. When a presumably inexperienced drinker gets behind the wheel, disaster strikes. If you or your child is a victim in one of these accidents in Maryland, call today.
The Law: Maryland Teen Car Accident
The Law in Maryland states that a teen driver is held to the same standard of care as an adult driver. This is more nuanced than it may seem. For the majority of activities in tort law, children are held to a different standard than adults. Children are generally held to the standard of a like-minded child of similar age, experience, education, and intelligence in a similar situation. However, driving is considered an “adult activity”. Accordingly, teen drivers are held to the same standard as an adult exercising ordinary care, whether driving a car, truck, or motorcycle. Of course, teen drivers do not have the same experience and skill level as an adult.
However, they are operating a dangerous motor vehicle the same as anyone else, and they have a duty to do so carefully. This makes sense because we do not want teens to be held to a lesser standard than everyone else. Then they would be able to drive negligently and not have any liability. Fortunately, this is not the case.
If you are a teen in a car accident in Maryland, you will likely go through their insurance. More likely than not, the teenager will not have sufficient assets to fund your claim, and the parents do not necessarily owe contribution or indemnification, with exceptions. Meanwhile, if you are a teenager who is a victim of an adult’s negligence, your right to compensation may be higher depending on the extent of your injuries. One major factor in your higher compensation is an impairment of future earning capacity. Of course, this depends on your injuries. But if you break your back and your plan is to go into construction, and now you must take a lesser paying job, you may obtain compensation for that loss of earning capacity.
Moreover, because you are a teen, you have a longer span of lost earning capacity. So, you may be entitled to 40 years of lost earning capacity as opposed to a 55-year-old adult who broke his back and is also in construction. You may recover this lost earning capacity at the time of trial, but it will be discounted to present value. This has advantages and disadvantages, and there is more than one way to have this distributed. However, the court likes to distribute an amount to the plaintiff that, if securely invested, would produce the income that the jury wishes you to have.
Contact a Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer
Teen car accidents in Maryland can be complex. So, it is always important to contact an experienced Maryland injury lawyer for a free consultation.