Who Pays When an Underage Driver Hits You?

accident with an underage driverOn March 10, 2020, in Cypress, TX, a vehicle occupied by three 15-year-olds traveling on FM 529 ran a red light, and as a result, their car was struck as well as a third car. All three teens were taken to the hospital. The two passengers were confirmed to be in stable condition; however, the 15-year-old male driver was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

The Irony of the Same Household Exclusion Applied to an Underage Driver

When an adult gives permission to an underage driver to operate the adult’s vehicle, this gives rise to a negligent entrustment claim. That means that the adult may be held legally liable for damages caused by the minor.  Additionally, when you buy auto insurance, it typically covers all members of the household who are legally licensed to drive. However, insurance policies usually exclude members of the household who are underage.  Thus, if the adult is a parent of the child who lives in the same home, the insurance policy will not cover the damages done. Furthermore, when the car is stolen or taken without permission, this voids insurance coverage.  However, if the adult loans the car to an underage driver who does not live in the same household, the exclusion for underage household members will not apply.  Thus, ironically, the car owner’s coverage may apply to his negligent entrustment to an underage driver who is not a member of the household but not to one who is a member of the household.

What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured motorist coverage is auto insurance that helps pay for your medical bills and/or car repairs if you’re hit by a driver who doesn’t have valid car insurance. This type of insurance will protect you when an unlicensed or underage driver’s actions void their own vehicle’s coverage.

What is Covered by Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured motorist coverage covers anything the other driver would be legally liable for, such as pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, disfigurement, future medical and property damage. This type of coverage protects not just you, but anyone in the insured vehicle car when you are hit by an uninsured driver. It will also cover the insured when she is operating someone else’s vehicle. (It will not cover the passengers in the latter situation.)

How Much Uninsured Motorist Coverage Do I Need?

Uninsured Motorist Insurance is optional coverage in Texas. The minimum you can buy is 30/60/25. that’s 30,000 per person up to 60,000 per accident for bodily injury and 25,000 for property damage.  You can buy as much as you want. In a serious accident, bills can pile up. Therefore, carrying as much as you can afford is wise. Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. recommends no less than a 100,000 per person, 300,000 per accident policy.

Do you still have questions?  Feel free to visit our uninsured motorist accident page or call us to review your policy.