The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) reports an average of 635 fatalities per year and over 55,000 injuries in Maryland car accidents alone. Maryland has a lower injury rate than the national average for car crashes, but the fact remains that many people are hurt each year in Maryland car accidents, and some of those injured will be children. Children can be injured in car accidents as passengers – or as drivers.
If your child was injured in an automotive accident, your first action should be to care for his or her health, and address any injuries or conditions arising from the crash. Once this is addressed, contact your insurance company, to inform them of the accident, and call the police to the scene. Make sure you schedule a follow-up doctor’s appointment within a week or two of the crash as well, because injuries are not always apparent immediately following an accident. You should also request copies of these medical records.
Then, speak with a knowledgeable Maryland car accident lawyer of the situation. Ask about your options for filing a claim, and what you should do about reporting the accident to insurance companies. You should seek justice for your child with the help of capable legal counsel. Inevitably, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will contact you, either with information or an offer for restitution. It is always prudent to seek legal advice before speaking with these companies.
My child took the car and crashed it; now what?
In the state of Maryland, there are generally two scenarios in which parents are liable for their children’s actions in the event of a car accident. Neither typically applies in a minor fender bender or other such circumstance which teens are apt to find themselves in as they learn to drive:
- Negligent entrustment. If a child is unfit to drive for any number of reasons—typically lack of experience/licensure or intoxication—and a parent permits his son or daughter to use his vehicle, the parent can be held liable for any resulting harm. This is similar to the liability faced by companies that provide vehicles to knowingly unfit employees to use.
- Vicarious liability. In Maryland, there is no state law that makes a parent or guardian civilly liable for a minor’s negligence, or for an accident caused by a minor. And even intentional misconduct on the part of a minor in Maryland may not give rise to parental liability. However, there are circumstances under a theory of vicarious liability where a parent could be held responsible.
An elite personal injury firm for more than three decades, Plaxen & Adler, P.A. has served clients throughout the state of Maryland, fighting for justice and restitution for victims of injuries and their families. To schedule a consultation and learn more about your options with a dependable and trustworthy Maryland personal injury attorney, call 410.988.4449, or complete the contact form.