Update: Arizona Supreme Court Rules Parents Can Be Liable for Accidents Caused by Children
We wrote late last year about an impending decision by the Arizona Supreme Court with regards to the potential for parents to be held liable for their children who cause Arizona car accidents. While no one ever knows for sure when such rulings will come down, the court has now ruled, and the body has decided that parents should be held legally responsible for the actions of their children that are taken behind the wheel. This includes accidents that are caused by minors when they are driving without the permission of their parents.
This decision comes as no surprise to legal experts and others who have been watching this case progress through the court system and who have felt that this decision merely affirms a long-standing law regarding parental liability. In general terms, parents and legal guardians are responsible for the actions of the minors who are under their care. This case began with an accident that was caused by a 17-year-old driver who had taken his parents' vehicle out without their permission, and the crash led to injuries suffered by the other driver.
Arizona Car Accident Statistics
While most do not feel initially as though this decision will affect the average insurance premiums for automobile owners and drivers, the ruling could affect the legal system overall in terms of the types and the number of claims that are filed, especially when one considers the number of Arizona car accidents that take place. Of the 140,000 Arizona car accidents that occur on an annual basis, nearly 14,000 of them involved one or more of the 21,000 teen drivers in the state. These teen-involved crashes led to more than 4,000 injuries and to more than 50 fatalities on average in recent years.
Arizona Car Accident Lawyers
Based on this ruling, anyone who has been injured by a teen driver now clearly has the right to file an Arizona personal injury lawsuit against the parents of the minor driver, regardless of whether the minor's parents had provided him or her with permission to drive the vehicle at that time or not. Therefore, if these types of cases are filed and are successful, they could lead to damages awards that compensate the victims for their medical costs, their lost income and their pain and suffering.
If you or someone you love has been harmed by a driver of any age, you need to seek the help of Arizona car accident lawyers who have been fighting for the rights of the injured for many years. Contact the Phillips Law Group today to schedule a free initial consultation.