Massachusetts Appellate Court Reverses Summary Judgment for Defendants in Multiple Fatality Teen Driver Accident

Legal News GavelTeen drivers are among the most high-risk drivers when it comes to fatal car accidents. At the Law Offices of Michael O. Smith, we pride ourselves on providing zealous and dedicated legal counsel to individuals who are involved in car accidents with teen drivers. Our Boston car accident lawyers can help you navigate the unique issues involved in teen driver accidents and ensure that you are treated fairly at each step of the litigation.

In a recent appellate decision, the Massachusetts appeals court considered the allocation of liability in a tragic teen driver accident involving multiple fatalities. Two cars of teenage friends were traveling to a common destination. One young man and a young woman were in a sedan that was leased by the young woman’s parents for her use. The other car was driven by a second young man and contained three passengers. The second young man lost control of the car while attempting to pass the sedan and hit a tree. Two of his passengers were killed as a result of the crash, and the third was injured severely.

Multiple claims were filed following the accident. The representative of one of the decedents filed a lawsuit against the young man driving the sedan, seeking compensation for negligence and loss of consortium. The lawsuit also filed a claim against the parents who leased the vehicle. The lawsuit also included a claim for negligent entrustment against the young female passenger of the first car. The mother of the other decedent brought a similar action against the driver of the first car, containing similar causes of action. The insurer for the leased sedan filed for a declaratory judgment, seeking a determination that it was not required to indemnify or defend the young man in the litigation.

The parents who leased the vehicle for the young woman filed a motion for summary judgment, as well as the insurer for the vehicle in both lawsuits, which the trial judge granted. According to the judge, the record showed without dispute that the young man’s driving was not the proximate cause of the accident, and the judge rejected the plaintiffs’ assertion that his alleged racing or his involvement in the challenge and response game with the driver of the second car caused the second car to crash.

It also granted the insurer’s declaratory judgment claim. The plaintiffs appealed. On review, the appellate court reversed the dismissal of the action, finding that there was substantial evidence in the record creating questions of fact regarding whether the driver of the first car was engaged in a race and operating his vehicle negligently at the time of the crash. The court also ruled that summary judgment on the negligent entrustment claim was improper because evidence in the record showed that the young woman knew that the young man did not have a driver’s license and that he had only driven a few times prior to the date of the accident.

If you were injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the individual who caused the crash. The injuries and financial damages that result from even a minor collision can be serious and highly disruptive for a victim’s life. At the Law Offices of Michael O. Smith, we will work diligently to seek the settlement or the judgment that you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, call us now at 1-617-263-0060 or contact us online.

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