The last thing we expect to happen is to get into an accident with a student driver. By the time you realize you’re sharing the road with one, it may be too late. Our Atlanta car accident attorneys have helped hundreds of clients get compensation for their car accident injuries. Here, we’ll discuss what happens if you’re hit by a student driver.
Who Can You Expect to Be in a Student Driver’s Vehicle?
Most student drivers are well under the age of nineteen or twenty. This is because Georgia doesn’t offer teens a full license right. The Georgia Graduated License Program (GGLP) requires young drivers to slowly obtain their full Class D license.
While a teen is moving from their learner’s permit to their intermediate license, they may need to take driving lessons. Many parents choose to enroll their teenagers in a driving school to make sure there’s a qualified instructor in the car with them.
Motor Vehicle Accidents Are the Leading Cause of Death for Teens in the U.S.
According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, close to 3,000 young people were killed in traffic accidents in 2020. This is one of the reasons why teenagers aren’t provided with a full license when they turn 16.
They are inexperienced and don’t have the necessary skills to navigate the roads safely. This is why they’re frequently involved in motor vehicle accidents. Unfortunately, you may end up on the wrong end of an accident involving a young person.
Why Are Student Drivers More Likely to Get Into an Accident?
It shouldn’t be that difficult to determine why student drivers would be more likely to get into an accident. Not only are they inexperienced, but they’re probably also nervous with their instructor sitting in the passenger seat.
Another factor that may lead to an increased number of student driver accidents is that it may be the first time they’re on a highway. Student drivers are used to practicing on quiet streets. Highway driving can be very intimidating.
It Does Help That There is a Driving Instructor in the Vehicle
One thing that helps cut down on the number of accidents is the fact that there’s an instructor in the vehicle. At any point, they should be able to intervene and prevent an accident. However, they’re only human.
Driving instructors are in a difficult position. If they do have to intervene, it may not be possible for them to avoid a collision entirely.
The Instructor Can Be Negligent Like Any Other Driver
Not only does the instructor have to physically intervene with their student’s driving, but they can be negligent in their own right. If the instructor isn’t paying attention to what’s going on, the results can be disastrous.
If your Atlanta injury lawyer is able to prove that either the driver or instructor were negligent, you should have a strong claim for damages.
Your Atlanta Injury Lawyer Still Has to Prove Negligence
To ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve, your Atlanta accident attorney must prove negligence. To do this, they’ll have to demonstrate the following four things:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- They breached this duty
- You were injured
- Your injuries were caused by their breach of duty
Now, the question is going to be which of the two people in the other vehicle was negligent. It’s easy to say that the instructor was negligent. After all, they’re responsible for both what they do and what their student does.
The Student Driver May Be the One Who Caused the Crash
It isn’t difficult to imagine that the student driver caused the crash. This is especially true if it’s their first time behind the wheel. Other motorists cannot be expected to change the way they drive simply because there’s a chance a student driver could be on the road.
Student drivers owe other motorists the same duty of care that other drivers owe. It’s about keeping the roads safe. If a young person isn’t able to drive safely, they shouldn’t be allowed to operate a motor vehicle.
Your Atlanta Accident Attorney Can Argue That the Instructor Was Negligent
Of course, it’s not always the student driver who causes the problem. The instructor may be the negligent party. Some of the ways in which your Atlanta injury lawyer can show that the instructor was negligent include:
- They were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash.
- The instructor was distracted when they were supposed to be watching the student driver.
- The instructor was on their cell phone or another handheld device.
- The driving instructor fails to intervene when the driver makes a critical error.
Any of these things could cause an accident. It’s up to your Atlanta accident attorney to prove that they did.
Your Atlanta Injury Lawyer May Have to Name Multiple Parties
When your Atlanta injury lawyer files your initial complaint, they will name both the driver and the instructor. In addition, they may need to sue other parties.
The best way to increase your chances of recovering damages is to name all potential defendants. Therefore, your Atlanta accident attorney may need to specifically name the following in your lawsuit:
- The student driver
- The instructor
- The owner of the driving school
- The mechanic that last repaired the vehicle
Any of these people can contribute to your crash. It’s important that you name each of them in your complaint for damages.
The Driving School May Be Vicariously Liable
Just as with any other employer-employee situation, the driving school may very well be vicariously liable for the accident. Your Atlanta accident attorney can pursue them vicariously for the actions of both the student and the instructor.
Since there is a contractual relationship with both parties, vicarious liability may apply. It will depend on the facts surrounding your case. It will also depend on what your Atlanta injury lawyer can prove.
The School Will Likely Be Vicariously Liable for the Instructor
There shouldn’t be much doubt about whether the owner of the school will be liable for the actions of the instructor. It may take a bit more for your lawyer to prove it on the part of the student driver.
According to Georgia Code §51-2-2, individuals and entities are liable for the actions of their agents. As long as you can prove that the other driver caused the crash, there’s a good chance you can pursue damages from the owner of the driving school.
Reach Out to One of Our Expert Atlanta Accident Attorneys
If you’ve been injured in a crash involving a student driver, it’s a good idea to contact our office right away. You can meet with one of our seasoned Atlanta injury lawyers free of charge. This is the best way to know for sure if your case is worth pursuing.