This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

What happens when an underage driver causes an accident in California?

Question from jason: under age driver caused accident in california

Answer from AI:


In California, if an underage driver causes an accident, they may face both civil and criminal consequences. The legal driving age in California is 16 years old, and drivers under 18 are subject to certain restrictions under the state’s Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program. Here’s what you need to know about the potential consequences and steps to take in such a situation.

1. Civil Liability

If an underage driver causes an accident, they can be held responsible for any damages or injuries that result from the accident. This may include:

– Property damage to vehicles or other property
– Medical expenses for injuries sustained by other parties
– Lost wages and other economic damages
– Pain and suffering or emotional distress

In California, the parents or legal guardians of an underage driver can also be held financially responsible for damages caused by their child’s negligence under the state’s parental responsibility laws (California Vehicle Code § 17707). This liability is limited to $25,000 for property damage and $15,000 for personal injury or death per person, up to a total of $30,000 per accident.

2. Criminal Consequences

If an underage driver is found to have violated any traffic laws or engaged in reckless behavior that led to the accident, they may face criminal charges. These charges can range from infractions to misdemeanors or even felonies, depending on the severity of the accident and the driver’s actions. Potential penalties may include:

– Fines
– Probation
– Community service
– Suspension or revocation of the driver’s license
– Mandatory driver education or safety courses

3. Steps to Take After an Accident

If you are involved in an accident with an underage driver, it’s important to take the following steps:

– Call the police and report the accident
– Exchange information with the other driver, including their name, contact information, and insurance information
– Document the scene of the accident, including taking photos of the damage and any injuries
– Seek medical attention if necessary
– Notify your insurance company of the accident
– Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options

4. Legal Advice and Resources

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with an underage driver, it’s important to seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney. They can help you navigate the complex legal process and ensure that your rights are protected. You can also find helpful resources and information on the California Department of Motor Vehicles website and the California Courts self-help center.

In conclusion, underage drivers who cause accidents in California can face both civil and criminal consequences, and their parents or guardians may also be held financially responsible. It’s essential to take appropriate steps after an accident and consult with an experienced attorney to protect your rights and interests.

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