Even if your teenager drives responsibly, you may feel anxious every time they leave home. You may constantly be afraid that your child will be involved in a car accident, and you have good reason to worry: teens are involved in accidents at higher rates than other drivers.
Attorneys that are experienced in working with car accident victims know that dealing with the aftermath of a wreck that involves your child is an emotional rollercoaster, and they’re here to help. It’s best to involve a lawyer right away when your teen is in a wreck since there are time limits on how long you have to file a claim. Here are some important things you need to know.
Rules for Teenager Drivers
Most states permit teenagers to get their driver’s license once they turn 16, but the license comes with restrictions. Teen drivers who break traffic rules can face license suspension and fines. The initial suspension is for at least 48 hours, but there could be additional suspensions if the teen has violated certain laws.
For instance, if a teen driver is convicted for using a cell phone or texting while driving, the first offense is punishable by a 30-day license suspension and the teen will have to pay to have their license reinstated.
For the first six months that a teenager has a driver’s license, they can only drive if they are accompanied by a licensed driving instructor or with a parent or guardian who has a driver’s license. The individual providing instruction to the teen driver has to be at least 20 years of age and is required to have a license for at least four years.
For the second six months, a teen is permitted to drive with immediate family. Teen drivers are not permitted to use their cell phones, even with hands-free technology like apps and devices, while driving, until they reach the age of 18.
Accidents That Involve Teenage Drivers
Most teens start driving determined to respect traffic laws and exercise responsibility while operating a vehicle. However, without the proper experience, they may forget their good intentions and make unsafe decisions while driving. For instance, when it comes to seat belts:
- Teenagers use seat belts less than drivers in any other age group.
- In 2013, 55% of students in high school said they wore seat belts when riding in the car with others.
The risk of a car accident is very high during the first few months after a teenager receives their license. This is not always because teens are not paying attention. Many accidents are simply due to the fact that teenagers are not experienced drivers and may not know how to look out for certain hazards.
Since teens are new drivers, they are significantly more likely than experienced drivers to underestimate danger when operating a vehicle. Teenage drivers also have slower reaction times, which means they may not see obstacles in the road or other drivers until it is too late.
Drivers of all ages are faced with several distractions. Our mobile phones feature apps, online games, and text messaging features, and teens may be tempted to use their phones while driving, which takes their focus off the road.
Even when a teen is not using the phone while driving, they may be talking to their friends in the car, eating, fixing their hair, or applying makeup, and these distractions can lead to accidents. According to statistics, distracted driving is the reason for 58% of all accidents involving teen drivers.
What to Do After Your Teen Driver Is in a Car Wreck
If your young driver is in an accident, you should make sure you get the information of all the other people involved in the wreck. It is important to obtain a police report as well so you’ll have the evidence you need to file an insurance claim and request a settlement if applicable.
A teen driver accident is going to make your insurance premiums go through the roof, so it’s worth getting a lawyer to see if you can get any charges lessened or dropped and if you can prove that the other party was liable. You can visit this link to get a free consultation with a car accident lawyer.
An attorney can also explain which legal steps to take to ensure that your teenage driver receives proper compensation for damages and medical bills. When you work with a lawyer, insurance companies are less likely to make a low-ball offer and give you the compensation your child deserves if the other party is liable.