Who's Liable for Driver's Ed Accidents?
Everyone with a driver's license started out as a novice at some point, so it's easy to have sympathy for student drivers -- even if they are, by definition, threats to the safety of our roadways. But even if we sympathize with student drivers, do we hold them accountable for accidents?
Most car accidents come down to everyone's insurance policy. But if insurance doesn't step in, then what?
Most private driving schools will carry an insurance policy that covers all of the vehicles and drivers taking the course. While accidents during driver's ed sessions are rare, there are policies specifically designed for driving schools, and even if the accident is the student's fault, the class will use its own insurance to cover the costs of repairs.
However, if the class tries to hold you liable for the accident, you can try to prove the accident wasn't your fault or use your own insurance policy to cover the damage. In general, accidents during private driving school courses are treated like accidents with rental cars.
If the driving school refuses to cover the damages or your car has been the victim of a wayward student driver, your claims would then be treated like any other accident. If you've been injured or your car has been damaged, you could submit the claim to your insurance company, and then try to recover from the driving school, the instructor, or the student driver involved.
There may be some additional concerns if the driver's ed course was part of a public school curriculum. If the school's instructor was at fault for the accident, he or she may not be the only party liable for damages. The school itself or the school district can also be responsible for their employee's actions. But suing a school district is not simple: you will probably need to fulfill some notice requirements and beat the statute of limitations if you want to file a claim.
Therefore, the first steps after the accident can be the most important. Get as much information as you can about the accident and document everything. This information will be essential for your insurance claim or any future litigation.
If you've been injured in a car accident (as a student driver or by a student driver) you should consult with an experienced injury attorney about your claim.
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- Fault and Liability for Motor Vehicle Accidents (FindLaw)
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