First off, we will remind everyone that teenager drivers are disproportionately represented in traffic accident statistics all across the United States. In fact, as a group, teenagers are the most likely to die in a roadway collision than any other segment of the driving population. That said, it should be remembered that while teens are very often killed in a traffic accident, their actions also can cause injuries and deaths to others as well.
As Maryland automobile accident lawyers, we want to say that this is not an indictment of young drivers, but it is an illustration of how youth and inexperience can conspire to cause serious accidents that injure not only the young motorist, but also others in his or her path. Granted, everyone needs time to learn, and learning to drive in a vacuum is not a viable solution. This is why Maryland’s tiered licensing system, like that of other states, is designed to save the lives of the learners as well as those of the public at large.
In Washington, D.C., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that roadway wrecks kill about eight teens (ages 16 to 19) every single day. That’s a sobering number to anyone who has a young driver in the household and it also explains why parent’s typically see their auto insurance premiums jump once a teenager gets his license and starts driving the family car. Further to the CDC’s information, that agency also found that more than 800,000 teenagers are injured in car accidents every year. That’s more than one youngster hurt every minute across the nation; every hour, every day, week in and week out.
Being practicing personal injury attorneys here in the Baltimore area, I and my staff are all too aware of the consequences of car, truck and motorcycle crashes, which is why we dedicate ourselves to helping the victims of traffic collisions recover damages from negligent parties. In the case of teen-related accidents, many are caused by distractions presented inside and outside the vehicle. Too young and inexperienced to have fine-tuned their priorities behind the wheel, teenagers are often distracted by other people in the car, as well as by mobile devices like iPhones, stereo systems and other gadgets.
This brings us to a story we found illustrated how serious of an accident can occur when a driver, especially a teenager, is distracted from the job at hand. According to news reports, a husband and wife who were injured by a distracted teen while riding on their motorcycle received a $500,000 settlement as a result of a personal injury suit filed against the teenager. Based on news articles, both the husband and wife each lost a leg as a result of that accident back in late 2009. The couple had reportedly been struggling financially in the wake of the crash, since the husband could not work and the wife had yet to return to her job.
Based on the news article, the suit was based on the fact that the teenage driver had been texting at the time of the crash. The plaintiffs had also attempted to sue the teen’s girlfriend, who they claimed had sent the initial text that the young man was replying to when the accident happened. The judge in the case apparently ruled that the girlfriend could not be held liable for the crash, however the plaintiff’s lawyer said his clients planned to appeal that decision.
This is probably the first case of its kind, in which a victim has sued a person who texted a driver, arguing that the texter should have known that boyfriend was operating a car and that her message would distract the young man and potentially cause an accident. The plaintiff’s lawyer reportedly argued that while the girlfriend was not physically present in the car, that she was “electronically present.” The defense attorney representing the girlfriend stated that his client had no control over when or how her boyfriend would read and respond to her message; according to court records, the girlfriend’s deposition indicated that she didn’t know the boyfriend was driving at the time she sent the text.
David And Linda Kubert, Injured By Texting-While-Driving Teen, Settle Lawsuit; HuffingtonPost.com; August 21, 2012