Indiana has age-specific laws in place for drivers under the age of 18, which are designed to protect teen drivers, their passengers, and other fellow roadway motorists. However, despite these precautions and the encouragement of safe driving habits, accidents can occur due to inexperience and other factors such as distracted driving. If you’ve been injured by an underage driver in Indiana with a learner’s permit or probationary driver’s license, you may be wondering about your legal options for seeking compensation for your damages.

In the Hoosier State, individuals can obtain a learner’s permit at the age of 15, which allows them to drive under the supervision of a licensed adult who is at least 25 years old and riding in the front seat. After holding a learner’s permit for a certain period of time and meeting other requirements, teen drivers can then move to a probationary license at the age of 16. A probationary driver’s license allows them to drive unsupervised, but with certain conditions such as curfews and passenger restrictions.

In Indiana, if a minor driver causes an accident, the responsibility for damages typically rests with the driver’s parent or legal guardian. Under the concept known as vicarious liability, parents or guardians can be responsible for the negligent acts of their minor children when driving a vehicle and other scenarios. In addition, when a parent signs an application for a permit or driver’s license in Indiana, they agree to share responsibility with the minor applicant for any injuries or damages resulting from the applicant’s actions.

However, there are some exceptions, such as when the teen driver is not living with their parents or if they are over 18 years old. It’s important to note that parents can be only liable for up to $5,000 in actual damages caused by their child’s willful, intentional, or reckless actions.

When a teen driver causes a car accident in Indiana, the legal implications and consequences depend on several factors, including the circumstances of the incident, the degree of damages or injuries involved, and applicable laws. Under a typical scenario, the insurance policy covering the vehicle will provide coverage for damages and injuries resulting from the accident. However, limitations and exclusions may apply, depending on the terms of the insurance policy. Additionally, if it is determined that the student-driver was fully or partially at-fault for the accident, parents can expect a sharp increase in insurance premiums to continue covering their child.

Because of the propensity for teen drivers to use smartphones and drive while distracted, it’s important for parents and other supervising adults to encourage safe driving habits and avoid potential ramifications from accidents, which can include criminal investigations, costly insurance claims, and potential civil litigation.

If you’ve been hit and injured by an underage driver in Indiana, contact Hurst Limontes to discuss your legal options. We have vast experience representing our clients in various personal injury claims. We work on a contingency basis, meaning there is no cost to you unless we reach a settlement or jury verdict award on your behalf.

Call 317-636-0808 or complete the form below for a FREE and confidential consultation.