Are Underage Drivers More Liable for Accidents in South Carolina?
SC Accident Attorney Dan Pruitt explains…
Every day, more and more teenagers are getting their permits and driver’s licenses. South Carolina law requires that these motorists maintain automobile insurance while they learn to drive. The most common situation is that a parent or guardian will add the underage motorist to their existing insurance plan. Even if the underage motorist maintains their own insurance policy, liability on their accident can even extend to the parent or legal guardian who signed the motorist’s permit or license documentation.
Family Purpose Doctrine Explained
In South Carolina, you can recover from an underage motorist’s negligence in an auto accident. The method, known as the “family purposes doctrine,” exists to help recover damages for those involved in collisions with at-fault underage motorists. It states that if a family owns a car that is used for general family purposes, then the head of the family is liable for negligence of that car’s driver if the driver was given authority to use the car.
This doctrine requires that certain things be established before it can be applied. Factors to prove include the parent’s indication that the car was for family use, that the underage motorist was using the car with the authority of the family head, and that the car was being used for a family purpose where the underage motorist acted as an agent at the discretion of the family head.
Example of An Underage Driver Case
For example, say the driver of a mini-van was an underage motorist who was picking up his or her sibling from after-school sports practice at the request of the motorist’s parent. You are driving down the road one afternoon and the mini-van fails to yield right of way and collides with your car. Since the mini-van is for the family’s general usage and the driver was completing one of the family purposes while driving, their negligence is imputed to the family head and thus you could recover from the family head’s personal injury liability insurance. To learn more how this may apply in your case, call Greenville Auto Accident Lawyer Dan Pruitt for a free consultation.
All auto accidents vary in terms of allowable recovery for damages. It is our mission to get the most recovery possible for your damages. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident and the at-fault driver was underage, please contact us at 864-232-4273 or click the chat button for a free consultation of your case. We will not accept any payment on your case until you reach a favorable settlement or judgment.