No parent wants to get that call – a call saying your teenager was in a car accident. Not surprisingly, teen car accidents are on the rise.
Accidents involving young drivers are increasing overall, and fatal car accidents with teen drivers are up 19% in the past year nationwide. This isn’t necessarily because teen drivers are unsafe; in part it reflects the growing number of teen drivers overall. But there’s no doubt that a young driver is an inexperienced driver, and may not know how to react under stressful road conditions or to another driver’s recklessness.
At Steinger, Iscoe & Greene we have helped numerous families receive compensation relating to an accident with a young driver. Just because your child is inexperienced at the wheel does not mean you are responsible for someone else’s loss of control, poor driving or consumption of alcohol. Not every accident involving a teen is the teen’s fault, and it’s important that you – and your child – know how to handle the unexpected.
What Your Teen Driver Needs to Know
The basics of what to do at an accident scene are the same for teens and adults. But teens are less experienced and often afraid of what will happen, meaning they are more likely to say or do something that could cost you later.
Of course, the first priority at any accident scene is medical attention for anyone who’s injured. Beyond that, it’s important to get the other driver’s information – but don’t give out more of your own than you have to. Never accept blame for the accident or apologize. This is a vital lesson for teenagers, especially if the other driver is older.
It’s natural to apologize when something goes wrong, but it’s also an admission of guilt. It’s important for your child to stay calm and level-headed. Let the police decide who caused an accident.
Making notes about the accident is also helpful. As soon afterward as possible, record the details of what happened, what you said, and what the other driver told you. These details will become foggy over time, and could be vital to getting fair compensation.
Know Your Rights
Above all, never assume you are without options. If your teen is involved in a car accident, talk to an attorney immediately. They can help you get what you’re entitled to – and that you don’t get stuck footing the bill for someone else’s mistake.