A group of Ohio teenagers, all from Monroe, thought that prom night would be the highlight of their lives. Instead, one of them died, two others were injured and one of them ended up facing charges of aggravated vehicular homicide after a fatal car accident.
Now, the parents of the teenager who died have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the teenage driver and her parents. In the lawsuit, the family of the deceased alleges that the parents of the driver negligently entrusted her with their car. The teenager is also accused of operating the car in a reckless and wanton manner with a “conscious disregard for the rights and safety” of the deceased and the other passengers.
The driver, who has been charged as a juvenile over the accident, had previously been cited for driving without a license. The night of the prom, authorities say she lost control of the car while speeding and struck a telephone pole.
Under the theory of negligent entrustment, the young driver’s parents could be financially liable for her actions. Generally, if you loan your car to someone you know has a history of accidents or traffic violations, you could be liable for any accident they cause. Similarly, if you know that someone isn’t a good driver or is prone to reckless behavior, that could also make you liable.
If you have a teenager who’s starting to drive, make sure that you discuss the importance of maintaining an appropriate speed and talk to them about how to behave when their friends are in the car. You may want to restrict them from driving with friends in the vehicle until they are a little older.
A wrongful death claim won’t bring back the person you lost, but it can pay for the ambulance, hospital expenses, funeral costs and other expenses associated with that person’s death. It can also serve as a lesson for others and prevent someone else from experiencing the same tragedy.