Our attorneys at Parnall Law Office frequently receive calls from parents saying, “My son was in a car accident” or “My daughter was in a car crash, and what should I do?” Accidents are upsetting, especially if your child is involved. If you or your loved one has been injured in a car accident involving a teen driver in Albuquerque, it is important to understand who may be liable for the accident and the legal options available to you. At Parnall Law, our legal team recognizes that you are going through a difficult time if your child was involved in a traffic accident. Our experienced injury lawyers can offer knowledgeable guidance about your options during a free consultation.
Attorney Bert Parnall and the legal team at Parnall Law Office are ready to assist people injured in teen car accidents in Central New Mexico. As we seek justice for accident victims, our dedicated attorneys are guided by five bedrock values: Team, Talent, Truth, Tenacity, Triumph. Parnall Law is committed to the highest standard of client representation, so we have a client satisfaction guarantee.
If you are not completely satisfied with the way we treat you and your case during the first 30 days after retaining our law firm, you may take your file with no attorney fees and no questions asked.
Our teen car accident attorneys will investigate how your child’s crash occurred, identify the motorists who should be held liable and fight relentlessly for full compensation for you. Contact us to review your car accident and discuss your legal options.
Causes of Teen Driver Accidents in New Mexico
Young drivers lack driving experience and are more likely to be involved in traffic accidents. They are less experienced at anticipating potential accident situations and reacting to avoid them. New Mexican drivers ages 15 to 19 have the highest crash rates of any age group in the state. Car crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Among the causes of teen driver accidents are:
- Speeding—Excessive speed is a contributing factor in a large share of teen driver accidents. Teens who drive at high speeds have less reaction time to avoid a crash and need more distance to stop safely. Speeders endanger everyone on the road.
- Distracted driving—A teen driver’s lack of experience makes him or her more susceptible to distractions. Talking on a cell phone, talking to passengers, eating in the car, drowsy driving, or looking at a computer screen are distractions that endanger the driver and others on the road. Distracted driving on some of Central New Mexico’s roads can be very dangerous. Sending text messages while driving is against the law, extremely dangerous and contributes to many car accidents. Texting takes a teen’s eyes off the road and the focus off of driving safely, often leading to t-bones, side collisions, rear-end accidents, and head-on collisions.
- Teen Passengers— Teen drivers are more likely to engage in risky driving behavior when they have teen passengers in the car. Some immature drivers try to show off for their passengers by driving at high speeds or trying other reckless maneuvers. New Mexico law limits the number of teen passengers that a teen driver with a learner’s permit or provisional license can transport to try to prevent accidents and injuries.
- Alcohol-related accidents— One out of four teen crashes involves an underage drunk driver, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. If an underage driver is found to have a blood alcohol level of .02 percent or higher, the driver may face a license suspension. An underage driver convicted of a first offense of driving while intoxicated will have a one-year license suspension. An intoxicated teen driver who causes a crash may be held liable for injuries caused in the accident. An adult who gives or sells alcohol to a minor also may be liable if it led to a car accident.
Who is At Fault in a Teen Driver Crash?
Any driver may make a mistake and cause an accident. However, teen drivers in New Mexico cause a disproportionate share of traffic accidents, according to the New Mexico Department of Transportation.
While teens ages 15 to 19 represent seven percent of licensed drivers in the state, they are the drivers in 16 percent of all crashes.
The accident statistics reflect the fact that inexperienced young drivers are not ready to have the same level of responsibility as adult drivers. For that reason, the state of New Mexico has a graduated driver’s license program
designed to give young drivers more driving privileges gradually as they gain experience behind the wheel and more maturity.
Teens who are at least 15 years old may obtain an instructional permit if they pass a test on traffic safety laws, a vision test and have a consent form signed by their parents. They must also be enrolled in a driver education course. The instructional permit allows teens to operate a vehicle when supervised by a licensed adult driver.
A teen driver is required to complete six months of supervised driving successfully without getting traffic violations in order to obtain a provisional license. A teen must hold a provisional license for at least 12 months and meet other requirements to get a full unrestricted driver license.
Pursuing Damages Against a Teenager in New Mexico
As licensed drivers, teen drivers have a legal duty to operate a car in a safe manner to avoid accidents and harm to others.
If a teen driver exceeds the speed limit or disregards the traffic safety rules and causes a crash as a result of negligent actions, those injured may hold the teen driver and the driver’s insurance carrier responsible for the injuries.
All drivers in New Mexico are required to have auto liability insurance, including at least coverage of $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury and $10,000 for property damage. Many teen drivers are listed as drivers on their parents’ auto insurance policies. The insurance on the vehicle would cover damages caused by the at-fault driver.
per person for bodily injury
per accident for bodily injury
for property damage
If a teen driver causes an accident and injures a passenger in the teen driver’s car, the injured passenger may have a claim against the driver’s insurance. According to the New Mexico Department of Transportation, 58 percent of teenage passengers in car accidents in New Mexico were riding in cars driven by other teens.
Are Parents Liable for Their Children’s Car Accidents?
If you have your son or daughter listed on your auto insurance policy, and he or she caused an accident, those who are injured may file claims against your insurance policy. Your insurance premiums may go up as a result.
In certain accident situations under New Mexico law, a parent may be held legally liable for a child’s car accident. If a parent furnishes a car for general use by family members and a child caused a crash with the vehicle, then the parent may be liable for damages caused by negligent operation of the vehicle.
It would have to be established that the parent or head of household controlled the use of the car. The so-called Family Purpose Doctrine is a well-established part of New Mexico personal injury law and often is cited in injury claims involving teen drivers.
Our Attorneys Can Help with a Car Accident involving a Teenage Driver
New Mexico law entitles people who have been injured by others’ negligence to demand financial compensation for their losses. But make no mistake: filing an injury claim is an adversarial process, and attorney Bert Parnall is a fighter. Whether you were injured by a teen driver or your teenager was injured by another motorist, you need the guidance of an experienced Albuquerque injury attorney on your side.
Most people are uncertain what their claim is worth because they have never dealt with a serious accident. An experienced car accident lawyer brings an informed perspective about the general value of your accident claim from having negotiated numerous insurance settlements. The insurance company representing the at-fault party will not give your claim the full consideration it deserves unless you have a personal injury lawyer fighting for you.
In many instances, people who need legal guidance may have questions about a troubling situation and need a personal injury attorney to investigate the matter and find answers.
The attorneys at Parnall Law handle accident cases on a contingency fee basis. Our attorneys only charge a legal fee if they are successful in obtaining money for you through a negotiated settlement or a jury award. If our attorney is successful, Parnall Law receives a percentage of the amount obtained as payment for our legal fee and expenses.
Attorney Bert Parnall will fight for your interests after a serious accident due to others’ negligence. The team at Parnall Law is ready to answer your questions about a teen driver accident during a free and confidential consultation. We will take the time to get an understanding of how the accident occurred and explain your legal options. The attorneys at Parnall Law have helped thousands of accident victims obtain just compensation so they can move forward with their lives.