Skip to Main Content

Can You Be Liable for a Crash Your Teen Driver Causes?

Getting a driver’s license is an important step in helping teens become more independent. However, because of a lack of driving experience and maturity, a teen driver is more at risk for causing a serious crash. This may raise a lot of valid questions for parents of teen drivers. For instance, can you be liable for damages your teen driver causes? If so, how much insurance do you need? At High Stakes Injury Law, we understand the concerns parents have when their teens start driving. Nevada has laws in place to help teens gradually gain the experience and skills they need. However, there are also protections for others who may be injured by a teen driver’s negligence or willful misconduct.

Rights and Responsibilities of Parents With Teen Drivers

Before teens can be issued a learner’s permit or driver’s license, they must complete Nevada’s Minor Affidavit (DP-38) application. This application fully explains the restrictions the minor teen is expected to follow. There are other rights and responsibilities that apply to parents of teen drivers. The key point here is that parents become financially and legally responsible for their teen’s actions behind the wheel. Parental liability goes into effect when you sign your teen’s application for a permit or license. This is why your teen cannot get his or her license or permit without your signature. It is important to point out that parents have the right to revoke this financial and legal responsibility at any time. To cancel your liability, and your teen driver’s license, simply complete, sign and submit the same form. The cancellation option is at the bottom of the form. Some parents may do this if they feel their teen driver is not yet mature enough to handle the responsibility. If you cancel your teen driver’s license, it is important to note that you are still responsible for making sure he or she does not try to drive without one. Parents could still be liable for damages if they knowingly allowed their teen to drive without a license.

What Are Parents Liable for After a Car Crash Caused by Their Teen Driver?

Under Nevada law 483.300, parents are liable for any acts of negligence and willful misconduct committed by their teen driver, such as:
  • Damages to another person’s private property
  • Injury or death to another individual
  • Damages to public property
If your teen driver causes a crash, damages would likely be covered by your car insurance policy.

What Insurance Do You Need When Adding a Teen Driver in Nevada?

This is something you should discuss with your insurance carrier. Most parents are rightly concerned about their rates increasing when they add a teen to their policy. Check with your insurance company to see how they cover your teen while they are still on a learner’s permit. In the meantime, check around for the best rates for teen drivers. You may be able to get a discount for your teen driver based on:
  • Maintaining a B or better grade point average – it could save you 10 to 20 percent
  • Completion of a driver education course, which may be offered through your teen’s school
It is important to point out that you must notify your insurer once your child becomes licensed. This is required even if your teen will be going to college away from home. Failure to do so could result in your policy being cancelled if your teen driver gets into a crash. Additionally, be sure you are not leaving yourself vulnerable in the event your teen causes an accident. Ask your insurer about policy modifications that could better protect your assets while you are responsible for your teen driver.

Nevada’s Joint and Several Parental Liability Law

Under NRS 41.470, minors – including teen drivers – can be held liable for damages caused by their own willful misconduct. However, since most minors have few assets, parents are jointly and severally liable for their minor child’s actions. This means that parents can be held fully liable, along with their teens, for damages caused by negligence. If a teen commits an act of willful misconduct, such as purposely ramming another vehicle out of anger, parents may have less liability. Unless there is another legal reason, parents liability for their teen’s willful misconduct is capped at $10,000.

DUI and Other Penalties Teens Should Know About

There are several penalties and restrictions clearly defined on your child’s application for a permit/restricted license. Your teen driver is expected to know about these restrictions and follow them. For instance, a minor teen driver may not transport anyone for the first six months of when his or her license was issued. A violation could result in your teen having license restrictions extended another six months, along with the possibility of fines.

DUI Restrictions

Teens under the age of 21 who drink or use any other prohibited substance can be arrested. Driving while under the influence of alcohol and other substances could result in a teen’s license being suspended. Parents may also be responsible for damages in other circumstances. For instance if they knowingly supply alcohol to their teen driver and that teen drives impaired and causes a crash. Nevada’s blood alcohol limit for drivers under 21 is .02. Minor drivers are prohibited from drinking.

How Parents Can Encourage Teens to Drive More Safely

Driver education, while helpful, will not give your teen enough experience behind the wheel. This is why Nevada has graduated licensing. Parents can also help keep their teens safer on the road by supplementing what they learn in driving school.

Teen Drivers Face Unfamiliar Risks

Drivers face multiple hazards on the road every day. Even the best drivers can be caught off-guard. New drivers do not have the benefit of experience handling road hazards and other dangers, such as:
  • Speeding or aggressive drivers
  • Incidents of road rage
  • An unexpected tire blowout
  • Drivers who follow too closely
  • Animals or people darting out into the road
  • Drivers impaired by fatigue, alcohol or other substances
  • What to do if their car breaks down on a busy highway
  • How to drive in heavy rain or other types of bad weather

How Parents Can Help Prevent Teen Driver Crashes

As a parent, you can help your teen to learn how to be a safer driver by:
  • Being a safe driver yourself – teens and children mimic what they see
  • Making sure your teen understands his or her legal responsibilities and duty of care to others
  • Having a two-way discussion with your teen about what it means to drive safely
  • Discussing ways your teen can deal with unexpected peer pressure
  • Setting rules with your teen driver – limiting the use of cellphones, radios, etc.
  • Going out driving with your teen to give him or her more experience behind the wheel
Additionally, consider having your child get a job and contributing at least a percentage of their pay toward gas and insurance. Understanding the costs involved to maintain a car can help teens to become more responsible drivers.

Contact Our Law Firm Today for Legal Help After a Crash

At High Stakes Injury Law, we have extensive experience helping injured victims recover the compensation they need. No crash victim should have to try to navigate the complicated legal process alone. Our Las Vegas car accident lawyers are knowledgeable and prepared to fully handle your claim. We have recovered millions in compensation for our clients over many years in practice. If you have been injured in a crash, we encourage you to contact us right away. Even if you are unsure whether you share some of the fault, we may still be able to help. There is no cost for an initial consultation and no pressure to hire our firm. If we do represent you, there is nothing to pay up front or while we handle your case. We only get paid when you do.

Get A 100% Free Case Evaluation From A Top-Rated Personal Injury Attorney Call: (702) 707-5934 or Contact Us Online

$9M

Settlement / Auto Accident

$5.1M

Settlement / Tire Explosion

$3M

Settlement / Truck Accident

★★★★★

“After being in an accident my friend told me to call High Stakes Injury Law. A lawyer named Brian came to my home to meet with me and started my claim immediately. The legal team was extremely efficient, responded back to me quickly, listened to my concerns, and handled everything with speed and accuracy. Every step of the way was communicated. I received my settlement in 10 months’ time. I highly recommend using Berstein and Poisson. Thank you for helping get my life back on track.”

★★★★★

“If you are in need of a wonderful law firm to handle your personal injury case please read this. Three years ago I was that person. I had never filed a lawsuit in the 30 years that I lived in Las Vegas Nevada… trust in this firm, they will not disappoint you and you will feel the confidence that you need to feel in your attorney.”

★★★★★

“Excellent service. I was in a car accident, and from the very beginning all the way to the end, they answered all my questions and guided me step by step. The communication was phenomenal. This firm really took care of me. I highly recommend High Stakes Injury Law.”

★★★★★

“Very professional and friendly. A hassle-free process from the beginning. Very easy to communicate with, unlike some law firms that won’t even return your calls. I would definitely use their services again if needed.”

See All Client Reviews
book

I Was Injured In An Accident. What Do I Do Now?

By Scott L. Poisson

  • Do I Have A Case?
  • Dealing With The Insurance Company
  • When a Lawsuit Is Filed
  • Overcoming Common Defense Themes
  • Special Considerations in Specific Types of Cases