December 1, 2021

Who Is Responsible if a Student Driver Gets Into a Car Accident?

student driver

A driver’s education program is a great way to teach proper driving techniques. The program essentially helps young motorists develop good driving habits. Additionally, participating in a driver’s education program can lead to lower insurance rates. However, what would happen if a student driver, while practicing along with their instructor, was the cause of a car accident? Who would ultimately be responsible for the accident and injuries?

If a driving student does get into a car accident, there could be many different liable parties. Usually, the blame would be attributed to the negligent driver. However, in this scenario, determining the liable party is not always clear. The driving instructor or a third entity, like a driving school or company that employs the instructor, could be held liable as well. Which party will ultimately be held responsible depends upon the facts of the case.

When Is the Student Driver Responsible?

The student driver will be responsible for the car accident and any injuries if they were driving in a very careless and reckless behavior, which ultimately led to the crash, such as speeding. Even though they are learning to drive, they are still responsible for driving safely and adhering to the rules of the road. For example, the student driver should not be driving 100 miles per hour. If an accident happens, they will likely be held liable because they were speeding.

When Is the Driving Instructor Responsible?

The driving instructor might be responsible for an accident if they fail to properly instruct the student or fail to monitor them. For example, suppose a driving instructor is not paying attention to the student driver because they are talking on their cellphone and not watching them or the road. If an accident happens, the instructor may be held liable.

What About the Employer of the Instructor?

Under the legal concept of respondeat superior, the employer of the instructor might be held liable for an accident. Respondeat superior holds an employer liable for their employee’s negligent actions that occur on the job during their course of their employment. The employer could also be held responsible for negligent hiring or retention. Suppose that the driving instructor is under the influence of drugs or alcohol while teaching the student and an accident happens, but the employer knew that the teacher had done this several times in the past and did not fire or correct the situation. In this scenario, the employer of the instructor might be liable as well.

What About the Insurance Companies?

In most cases, the insurance companies will decide who is at fault for the accident. There will be an automobile insurance policy that covers the vehicle, and there will be a policy that covers the school. The student driver could also be covered by their parents’ insurance policy. Even the driving instructor may have a separate insurance policy. With all of these policies in place, a claim can easily get complicated.

If the case goes to court, every party will have their own lawyer. This is why the best decision to make is to hire an experienced lawyer who will be able to help you.

Some people might think that it is bad that different insurance companies would be involved in the case. A lay person may think that all the insurance companies will join forces against the plaintiff and their lawyer. However, it might be good that there are many insurance policies available to the plaintiff.

A person who is severely injured in a car accident might be entitled to compensation, depending on the circumstances. Compensation might include coverage for medical bills, lost wages, and money for pain and suffering. In most cases, the at-fault driver has enough through their policy to cover the damages. However, in some cases, the defendant’s policy is not enough. Additionally, an insurance policy might not be able to fully cover the plaintiff’s expenses, especially if they have a severe injury and need long-term care. For this reason, it is important to speak to a lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Norristown Car Accident Lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. Can Help You if You Were in an Accident With a Student Driver

When a student driver is involved in a car accident, a claim can quickly become complicated. If you were injured in an accident with a student driver, our Norristown car accident lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. can protect your rights. These cases are complicated, but we can help you find the best course of action. Call us at 267-861-7100 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation and to learn more today. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Montgomery County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Chester County, and Norristown, Pennsylvania.