Student Driver Accidents

Student Driver Accident Attorneys in Salisbury

Hit by a Student Driver? Call Hearne & Bailey, P.A. Today!

Humans are prone to making mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes result in car accidents. This is especially true when it comes to learning how to drive, as driving is a new skill that most people are incredibly unfamiliar with when the time comes to learn. With so many new things to know and keep track of behind the wheel, it should come as little to no surprise that student drivers are at an exponentially higher chance of being involved in an accident. This is especially true if the necessary precautions are not taken.

Things can quickly get complicated when student drivers cause an accident while taking a driving lesson alongside their instructor. When that happens, who should be held responsible for the damages and injuries caused by the student driver? Is it the student driver, the driving school, or the driving instructor? Unfortunately, there isn’t necessarily a straightforward answer. That’s why it’s absolutely vital that you get legal counsel and assistance from an experienced Salisbury student driver accident attorney, such as the ones on our team here at Hearne & Bailey, P.A. We’ll help you work through the complex details of your case and fight for the compensation you deserve if you have been injured.

Who Is at Fault for My Accident?

Student driver accidents are often confusing because a case could be filed against multiple parties, such as the driving instructor, the driving school they’re with, or the student driver themselves. Student drivers are not expected to be experts on the road, but they do have a certain measure of obligation to drive in a reasonably safe manner on all roads and highways. Instructors have an obligation to make sure that students are operating a vehicle safely, and are required to take control should they get into a dangerous situation. Finally, the driving school is responsible for selecting and training instructors, providing properly equipped vehicles, including vehicles that have an instructor’s brake installed, ensuring that their vehicles are in good repair.

Here are a few examples of when all three parties could be at fault.

When is the Student Driver at Fault?

Student drivers are expected to obey all rules of the road they’re learning on, including traffic signals, stop signs, speed limits, and more. They’re also required to operate their vehicle safely, including checking and signaling before changing lanes, making turns, and more. If a student driver fails to adhere to such rules and that failure results in an accident, they can be held liable for any injuries or damage they cause.

The lawsuit or claim brought against the student driver when seeking compensation follows the legal theory called negligence. Student drivers are expected to show the same level of care or precaution expected of regular road users—if they don’t, they are deemed to be negligent, and therefore liable.

If the student driver is uninsured, you can seek compensation directly; otherwise, you can seek compensation from their insurer if they have an insurance policy. If the student driver is a minor, which is likely the case in Maryland, you can seek compensation from their parents or guardian.

Have you or a loved one been injured by a student driver? Don’t wait! Get help with your case from the team at Hearne & Bailey, P.A., and let us help you fight for what you deserve. Discuss your options by calling (410) 618-0903 today.

Is the Driving School at Fault?

The owner of the car that was being driven by the student and instructor could be held liable for the accident, which oftentimes is a formal driving school (although not always). There are three ways this is commonly pursued:

  • Inadequate hiring screening: Driving schools are responsible for ensuring that their instructors are both competent and law-abiding. If they employ someone who has a history of bad road practices, moving violation tickets, DUI, or has been involved in an accident caused by their own reckless driving, then the driving school can be sued in the event of an accident. They must also ensure that their employees meet the age requirement and have the appropriate driving license needed to drive the type of car being used i.e. manual or automatic.
  • Vicarious Liability: Since the driving school is responsible for managing and training employees, they are vicariously liable for their employees. As such, you could file suit against the driving school for the actions of their instructor, should the instructor be liable for the accident. This is especially true if the employee(s) involved were either negligent or reckless and could have prevented the accident by paying more attention.
  • Improper Maintenance of Vehicles: The cars sent out by a driving school must be well-maintained and meet the requirements for putting a car on the road. If the car has improperly maintained brakes, tire issues, engine issues, malfunctioning headlights, or some other type of mechanical problem, and that mechanical failure results in an accident, then you may bring a claim against the driving school. If the car used belongs to a private owner and is not road-worthy, you can easily pursue the vehicle owner, as the vehicle created a reasonable risk that endangered other road users.

Need help with a student driver accident incident? Contact Hearne & Bailey, P.A. now!

When is the Driving Instructor at Fault?

The driving instructor is the person supervising the student driver and is expected to have control of the vehicle to an extent. The driving instructor has a duty to watch for road hazards, prevent the student driver from dangerous driving, and intervene in an emergency situation. As such, the same laws—such as not drinking while driving or using a mobile phone—that apply to every driver are applicable to the instructor too.

If the instructor fails on his or her duties and an accident occurs as a result, the instructor will be held liable. For instance, a driving instructor who was distracted by their phone while their student driver ran a red light or went over the speed limit could be regarded as negligent.

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With so much complexity because of so many different parties that could be partially or completely liable in the case of a student driver accident, it’s extremely important that you have reliable and knowledgeable legal counsel for your case. Speaking with an experienced student driver accident attorney in Salisbury will enable you to understand your possible options and ensure your legal rights are well-protected.

In the event of an accident in which you can still move, we suggest you take pictures of the accident scene, the damage that was done to the vehicles involved, and your injuries. Also, collect the insurance information of the student driver and the driving school. Finally, visit the doctor if you sustain any kind of injury. All of this evidence will be important when filing and defending your claims.

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Disclaimer: This information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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