Who pays for your injuries if you are injured in a car accident, and it turns out that the at-fault driver is an intoxicated teenager? Apart from the teenage driver, you can also seek compensation from other parties, such as these three:
The Person Who Furnished the Alcohol
Dram shop laws hold alcohol sellers for the negligent actions of their patrons under certain circumstances. These laws have been enacted to encourage alcohol vendors to become responsible by denying alcohol to those who shouldn't drink, such as those who are already drunk and those who are under the legal drinking age.
Therefore, if you are injured in an accident, and you realize that the other driver is an intoxicated minor, you can claim damages from the person who sold them alcohol too. You may be required to prove that the person sold (or gave) the minor alcohol without asking for proof of age.
The Parents of the Minor
Many states have laws that make parents responsible for the negligence of their minor children (usually those below the age of 18). In such states, parents automatically become liable if their 13-year-old causes a car accident. However, many states extend this parental liability to children over the age of 18 under certain conditions. In most cases, the parental liability is extended to an older child who is still dependent on the parents and has been involved in a driving under the influence (DUI) accident. Therefore, you can also sue the parents if you are hit by an intoxicated 19-year old who still lives with their parents and depends on them.
The Car Owner
Lastly, if the car doesn't belong to the minor, some laws that allow you to seek compensation from its owner under certain circumstances. For example, you can sue the owner of the car if it turns out that the minor doesn't have a driving license or was intoxicated when borrowing the car. This is also possible if you can prove that the car owner had reason to know that the minor would drink and drive. Such a lawsuit is possible under the dangerous instrumentality doctrine, which makes owners of dangerous tools (such a car) responsible for the injuries caused by the tools, especially if they were negligently in handling the tools. Giving a car to an intoxicated minor certainly falls under this category.
Whenever you are hurt in an accident, it pays to identify all the responsible parties so that you can maximize your compensation. A car accident attorney can help you identify all these parties. For more information, contact a business such as Blomberg Benson & Garrett.