Teen driving safety and parental responsibility are important to all InjuryBoard members because we see, first hand, the devastation wrought by unnderage driving, inadequate supervision and risky behaviors. In his cae, the homeowners insurance company for the parents who hosted a teen sleepover party settled a wrongful death claim brought by the family of a 14-year-old girl who died in a car crash. The $1.75-million settlement in the controversial case was approved by a Henrico County judge. The money comes from the homeowners’ insurance for the parents of the victim’s friend who were hosting a sleepover visit. They allowed the two girls to ride with a teenage boy who then crashed his car, killing the plaintiff’s daughter. The driver had 4 teenage passengers when he crashed the car.
In his lawsuit, the deceased girl’s father alleged he told the host parents, “No boys with cars.” Despite her agreement to that request, the friend’s mother allegedly permitted her daughter to ride with the boy, which left the victim no choice but to go along.
The case produced an opinion from the Supreme Court of Virginia that a parent who agrees to supervise and care for a child has a common law duty to do so with reasonable care. The court’s ruling sent the case back to Henrico County Circuit Court for trial. According to the stories in Lawyers Weekly, trial had been scheduled for July, 2010. The plaintiff’s family hopes the case will bring attention to the responsibility that adults have towards children in their care and the risks of teenagers driving with multiple teenage passengers.
The responsibility that adults have toward children in their care and custody cannot be stressed enough. The risks of teenagers driving with multiple teenage passengers and the distractions that ensue are often a recipe for disaster. Bottom line, according to car crash and wrongful death attorney Doug Landau: if you agree to take responsibility for someone else’s kids, you had better do so responsibly. And if the rule is "No driving with boys," then, as the supervising parent or adult, you allow no driving with boys.