You might wonder who is liable if a driver’s ed student crashes into your vehicle. Who will pay for your losses if you got hurt or your property was damaged in the crash? The student does not yet have a driver’s license, but that does not mean that they cannot be liable for careless driving.
You might also be able to file an injury claim or personal injury lawsuit against the driving school or the instructor if they were negligent in a way that caused or contributed to the accident. Unless the crash was the result of an intentional act, like road rage or some other criminal behavior, you will need to prove liability through the legal concept of negligence.
The Elements of Liability for Negligence
Before we can hold someone responsible for the accident that injured you, we must prove all four of these factors:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. Everyone who drives on public streets has to follow the rules of the road and drive with caution. This includes a student driver and/or their driving instructor.
- The defendant breached their legal duty. Let’s say that the student was speeding, trying to impress another student in the car. Violating this traffic law is negligence.
- The careless conduct must be what caused the accident that harmed you. If the excessive speed caused or contributed to the collision, the facts satisfy the causation element for negligence.
- You must have quantifiable damages. If you experienced a frightening “near miss” instead of a crash, you may not have any significant damages. On the other hand, if a collision happened and you suffered physical injuries, you have measurable losses—also known as damages.
If you can prove all four of these elements, you can pursue compensation for your injuries through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the liable party.
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Forms of Negligence that Could Lead to a Driver’s Ed Student Crash
The following forms of negligence could have led to your crash with a student driver:
- While a student driver may still be learning the rules of the road, they could be liable for their carelessness or recklessness. For instance, if they were driving while under the influence of drugs, attempting to text while driving, or showed signs of road rage, these are forms of negligence for which they could be held responsible.
- The driving instructor’s carelessness could have caused or contributed to the accident. For example, if the instructor spent the road lesson watching videos on their phone instead of paying attention to the student and the road conditions, the instructor could be liable.
- Sometimes, the driver’s ed school could be negligent. The school has a duty to perform adequate background checks on their instructors, train the instructors, and supervise them. Suppose that the school does not provide any training to the people it hires as instructors, and that lack of training caused an accident. The school could bear responsibility for its negligence.
If you work with an attorney from our team, we will gather evidence of the other party’s negligence to make your case for compensation.
Whose Insurance Policy Might Cover Your Losses
The insurance policy that will pay for your losses will depend on the facts of your situation.
Insurance Policy of the Student Driver’s Parent or Legal Guardian
Some driver’s education schools require the student to drive the parent’s car during road lessons. In that situation, the student should be a covered driver on the automobile policy of the owner of the car, in other words, the parent. Even if the student is not driving a family vehicle, they still may be covered by the parent’s auto insurance policy.
Driver’s Education Instructor’s Personal Automobile Insurance Policy
The driver’s education instructor’s personal automobile policy might exclude coverage for commercial activity, like teaching people how to drive. Teaching people how to drive involves a higher risk than using one’s car to run errands or drive to work. If the instructor wants liability coverage for when a student is at the wheel, they will likely have to buy a more expensive commercial policy.
Driver’s Education School
If the driving school provided the car for the lesson, the school should maintain liability insurance on the vehicle. In that situation, you might be able to make a claim on that policy.
Regardless of whose car the student drove during the driver’s education class, a driver’s ed school should have substantial liability insurance coverage. Even if the school was not negligent, teaching young, unlicensed people to drive is a risky business activity, and they could be responsible for any losses following an accident with a student driver.
Your Personal Automobile Insurance Policy
If you carry uninsured/underinsured automobile coverage on your personal automobile policy, it could help to cover your losses if the at-fault party does not have insurance or your damages exceed their policy limits.
Another Driver’s Insurance Policy
It is possible that the driver’s ed student was not at fault in the collision. If another driver’s negligence caused the crash, you might be able to make an injury claim or file a personal injury lawsuit against that driver.
Bader Scott Injury Lawyers can talk to you about your legal options if you got hurt in a car accident. Under O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33, you have limited time to take legal action for personal injuries. If you miss the filing deadline, you could lose the right to seek money damages for your losses.
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Contact Bader Scott Injury Lawyers for Help After an Accident
If you were recently in an accident, you don’t have to wonder who is liable if a driver’s ed student crashes. Contact Bader Scott Injury Lawyers for a free consultation and to learn more about your next steps.