Legal Guide

Teenager Car Accident: What Are Your Rights?

A young person, newly behind the wheel, doesn't have the experience and muscle memory that comes with time spent driving. As a result, they aren't as adept at dealing with quick-thinking situations, and distractions can easily pull their attention off the road.

Experiencing a teenager car accident can be confusing and overwhelming, making it difficult to think. That's why it's important to educate you and your family on the risks and what to do in an emergency before it ever happens.

 Continue reading to learn the facts about teen car accidents and what to do if your loved one is involved in one.

Teenager Car Accident Facts

Most teen accidents occur because of distraction or speeding. Without an adult licensed driver in the vehicle, each additional teen increases the risk. 

Additionally, nighttime and weekends are the most dangerous times for teens to be on the road. Studies show that one-third of all teen accidents occur between the hours of 6 PM and midnight. 

Their susceptibility to peer pressure also seems to affect their behavior inside the car. Teens in cars with other teens are half as likely to be wearing a seatbelt than if they were under supervision. Unfortunately, those who don't wear a seatbelt are twice as likely to lose their life in a car accident.

Are You Responsible If Your Teen Is In an Accident?

If your child ends up in an accident, liability and legalese are the last things on your mind. But, once you assess that everyone is okay, it's crucial to know teen accident consequences and your responsibilities as the parent or guardian of a teen driver.

Most states have laws that are described as "vicarious liability" laws. These laws state that you are held responsible for any injury or damages caused by your teen driver. For example, some states will hold a parent legally and financially responsible for an accident if they even implied that it was okay for their teen to drive their vehicle.

However, teenager car accident laws vary from state to state, so it's always best to contact a trusted local attorney experienced in these types of cases. 

How to Prevent Teen Accidents

Teens will follow your lead; that's why the best way for you to teach your teen good habits is to model best driving practices for them. You should also implement meaningful consequences if they break driving rules, such as driving while distracted. 

However, things do happen, and not all accidents are preventable. If one occurs, it's vital that you get some help from trusted professionals immediately. 

My Teenager Was in a Car Accident: Now What?

A car accident with a teenager is different from other accidents because while they can legally drive, their guardians are their legal representatives. As a result, a teenage car accident can be a very complicated ordeal for all involved.

If your teen is in an accident, the first thing you must do is get to the accident site to answer any questions. You should also take pictures and make your own documentation of the scene. Next, you must contact an attorney who can advise you of your next steps. 

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