An accident involving a learner driver on a driving lesson can bring several questions to the fore. Learner drivers obviously do not have sufficient driving experience and are more likely to be involved in a road accident because of slower reaction times or errors in judgment. The big question then is who is liable if someone is injured in an accident involving a learner driver? Should learner drivers be cut some slack simply because they are just learning to drive after all?
Understanding the legalities governing driving lesson accident claims is important so you know what to do in case you are injured in such an accident.
The Law Regarding Learner Drivers
The law is very clear regarding driving lessons, learner drivers and the responsibilities of driver instructors. According to the law, you must have a permanent driving license or a provisional driving license before you get behind the wheel.
The difference between the two types of licenses is that you can drive solo with a permanent license but a provisional license does not permit you to drive alone or unsupervised. With a provisional license you can only drive if you are accompanied by another person who is over the age of 21 and has held a full driving license for at least 3 years. If you are driving with a provisional license and haven’t yet passed your driving test, you must have display large-sized ‘L’ plates that are easily visible.
There are very specific rules in place regarding driving lessons for the learner driver’s own safety and the safety of other road users. If you are taking driving lessons, the driving instructor is responsible for making sure that the learner driver is driving safely, following all road signs and safe driving etiquette. They have a duty of care to towards both the learner driver and other drivers, and must be prepared to intervene to prevent a potential accident.
Once on the road, learners are required to drive in a reasonably safe manner, for example, obeying speed limits, adhering to traffic signals, and slowing down at blind spots.
Types Of Driving Lesson Accidents
Driving lesson accidents can be attributed to three main causes:
- A less than vigilant driving instructor who does not take the necessary steps to avert the accident – If the driving instructor fails in their responsibility to take reasonable steps to avoid an accident, they may be held liable for the accident. The driving school may also be held accountable for hiring an instructor who falls short of the high standard that is expected.
- A defective vehicle provided by the driving school – Driving schools are responsible for the maintenance of their vehicles and for ensuring that vehicles provided to their learner drivers are safe for driving. If the accident was caused due to a faulty vehicle, they are liable to pay compensation to the injured party.
- Careless third party drivers who do not pay any heed to the L plate – Experienced drivers know that a vehicle with an ‘L’ plate is being driven by a learner driver. They also know that they should give that vehicle a wide berth. Unfortunately, they don’t always do this. Drivers often get impatient when stuck behind a vehicle moving too slowly in front of them and either try and overtake or blow their horn aggressively. A learner driver can get unnerved by this aggressiveness and is more likely to meet with a driving lesson accident.
Compensation Claims Regarding Driving Lesson Accidents
Compensation claims for injuries sustained in driving lesson accidents are often decided on the individual facts of the case.
You may be able to claim compensation under any of these circumstances:
- You were taking your driving lesson and were injured in an accident that occurred because of a less than vigilant driving instructor – in this case the driving instructor may be held accountable.
- You were in the vehicle as a learner driver and were injured in a vehicle collision that was caused by the other driver’s carelessness – here the third party driver is liable for your injuries.
- You were in the vehicle as the driving instructor and were involved in a vehicle collision that was due to the carelessness of another driver – in this case too the third party driver is held responsible.
- A car with a learner driver behind the wheel collides into your car – the driving instructor may be held accountable for failing to avert a potential accident.
- A car with a learner driver behind the wheel collides into you while you are walking on the pavement or crossing the road – the driving instructor is responsible for a vehicle being driven by a learner driver and may be held liable for failing to prevent an accident.
What You Should Do In Case Of An Injury Resulting From A Driving Lesson Accident
Claiming compensation for injuries sustained in a driving lesson accident can be extremely complex. It is not something you should attempt by yourself, unless you are familiar with this area of the law. If this is your first tryst with personal injury law, it is far better to contact an experienced personal injury solicitor to represent you. Their extensive knowledge of the law and their experience in handling personal injury and road traffic accident claims can be an invaluable factor in putting together a strong, successful driving lesson accident claim.
If you are injured in a driving lesson accident, and even if you are not sure whether you are entitled to compensation, you must consult with a reputed personal injury solicitor to find out what your rights are. Most solicitors offer prospective clients a free consultation during which they will hear your story and let you know whether you have a strong compensation claim worth fighting for.
If you do have a strong case, we will go out of our way to help you get your due compensation without asking you to pay any fees outright. In fact, you pay our fees only if we help you win the compensation you are entitled to. If you do not win any compensation, you don’t have to pay any fees at all. This is called a No Win No Fee agreement. This agreement essentially ensures that you will get the best representation ever and the highest chances of a successful driving lesson accident claim without having to bear any out of pocket expenses.