Groups » What Should Your Teenager Do When He/ She Is Involved in a Car Accident?

When your youngster learns to drive and is ready to take on the road alone, you feel proud and relieved that you no longer have to play the part of a chauffeur. However, at the back of your mind, you feel stressed to imagine that your teen will be driving alone.

Sadly, numerous American parents are forced to deal with several road-related mishaps, as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that motor vehicles are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Moreover, young people aged 15-19 years account for over almost 11% ($10 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries.

As a parent, it is petrifying to learn that your adolescent is involved in a car crash. Whether your teenager causes a road accident or is a victim of another driver's carelessness, you can be on a legal hook for the damage caused due to the crash. Such panic situations can prevent you from thinking rationally owing to which you may react in ways that could worsen things for you and your teen. One way to ease your anxiety is to educate your teen about what to do in such cases.

Here are five pertinent action points that your teen must bear in mind when he/ she is involved in a car accident.

      1. Attend to the Medical and Safety Needs First

      Health and safety of everyone involved in the accident come first. Your young adult must turn on the hazard lights immediately in order to alert other drivers about the mishap, particularly if the vehicle is in the middle of the road. Educate him/ her to call the ambulance regardless of whether the injury is minor/ major. It is advisable to seek medical assistance, regardless of the size of the injury. This will rule out any possibility of internal injuries that could cause fatal health issues in the future.

      2. Inform the Police

      Calling 911 is essential even when everyone involved in the accident is safe and sound. Depending on the nature of car crash, the officials will advise the further course of action. Typically when an officer patrols the accident site, he/ she will note down the minute details and make a report that will be required while making your car and medical insurance claims in the future. In fact, you should train your youngster to call the police as soon as possible.

      3. Note Down the Details of the Incident

      Amidst the confusion and trauma, it is quite likely that your teen will forget the crucial details of the crash. While waiting for the police to turn up, ask your youngster to document the incident by voice recording the events and taking multiple pictures of the accident site and the surrounding area on his/her smart phone. He/ she must note down the time of the incident, the license numbers of the other vehicles involved, and the contact details of the eye witnesses if any. Jotting down details like how the collision occurred and the road conditions before the accident can prove useful in the future.

      4. Stay Composed and Reserve Your Comments

      Regardless of whether it is your child's mistake or not, an accident can be extremely frustrating and nerve-racking. Point out to your youngster that he/ she should stay calm and avoid making any comments that could be construed as guilt. For instance, he/ she should avoid statements like, 'I'm sorry this happened.', 'I should have been careful.', or 'I don't know what happened.'

      Ask your teen to hold on to his/ her explanation until you have had a word with your attorney. When the police inquire, he/she must politely share the sequence of events along with the details noted down earlier. If your child is too shaken up, request the officers to take the statement after he/ she calms down. Several adolescents are too nervous to handle such situations and might choose to run away so as to escape the reaction of their parents and the scary police investigation. Advise your adolescent to stay composed and assure him/her of your support during this trying period.

      5. Seek Advice From a Local Attorney

      An attorney can guide you on ways to protect your teen's rights following a car crash. Hiring a local attorney will help you determine what to do following a car crash and how to recover the losses. Consider choosing an attorney based on his/her credentials, cost and convenience. For instance, if you are based in Washington D.C., consider seeking guidance from an experienced Washington, D.C. Car Crash Lawyer so that you can conveniently follow up on the case while in the same city.

The above-mentioned action points are crucial for your teenager to bear in mind following a car crash. However, you must also remember to inform your insurance company about the accident so as to initiate the claim process. The insurance company will carry out an independent investigation that may take added time. Moreover, they hold the right to deny your application if you haven't informed them in a timely manner. Thus, keep them in the loop right from the time the incident was reported to you.

No parent wants to ever imagine his/ her youngster getting involved in a car crash. However, the fact that your teenager is aware of the above action points is enough to ease your apprehension. The aforementioned action points will help your teen to handle a car accident in a mature way and will remind him/ her of the fact that it is better to drive responsibly to the road than to land up in this mess.

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