Like teens across the country, Colorado teenagers with driver’s licenses do not have enough experience to drive safely unless they consistently and constantly keep their attention on the road. Parents of driving teens know this, and so do insurance companies, which is why policy rates can increase dramatically once a licensed teenage driver is added. Once other factors are introduced into a teen’s driving experience, such as alcohol, the potential for serious and even fatal motor vehicle accidents rises even further.
For example, on a recent Friday night, troopers with the Colorado State Patrol responded to the scene of a one-vehicle accident. Upon arrival, they discovered the vehicle and two people outside of it. One of them, a 16-year-old boy, died in the crash. The other unidentified occupant went to an area hospital for treatment of unknown injuries. The other occupants of the vehicle, including the driver, escaped with only minor injuries.
Troopers suspected the driver of impairment and possession of drugs. The 18-year-old was placed under arrest on suspicion of drunk driving, vehicular homicide and several other charges. While a community mourns the loss of and remembers one of its members, prosecutors will determine what charges will be filed against the teenage driver.
In the meantime, the family of the deceased teen and the surviving victim may exercise their rights to file a wrongful death or personal injury claim, as applicable, against the driver. In order to prevail in such actions, the evidence must show that the negligent or reckless actions of another party resulted in the serious or fatal injuries suffered. If successful, a court could award damages that are typically sought in fatal motor vehicle accidents.