If you’re a parent, you may find having a teen driver in the house quite unnerving, especially if you’re aware that car crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. The good news is, by understanding the primary causes of teen driver accidents, you can develop a strategy for talking with your teens about how to help prevent them.
Teen Driver Accident Statistics
Teen drivers are much more likely to be involved in a car accident than other drivers. In 2011, seven teens ages 16-19 died every day from car or vehicle-related injuries. Young drivers aged 15-24 are less than 15% of the population in the U.S., but they account for about 30% of the total costs of vehicle injuries. If your teen was involved in a crash that wasn’t her fault, she will need a lawyer.
Legal Rights of Victims of Teen Driver Accidents
There is a certain type of liability and insurance when it comes to accidents caused by teenagers, and the parents are usually the policy holders. The victims should consult with a lawyer to discuss their legal options and make sure they will be fairly compensated for injuries and losses. The following list describes scenarios when consulting with a lawyer in Northeast Philadelphia would be a good idea:
- An adult is injured in a car accident caused by a teenager
- A family member is killed in a fatal accident caused by a teen
- A teen is injured as a passenger in a car that was driven by another teen
- A pedestrian is struck and injured by a teen driver
- A motorcyclists is injured in a collision involving a teen
When the Teen Isn’t at Fault
No matter the circumstances, insurance companies will almost always place some sort of blame on the teen driver, even if she was not at fault. This is because very often, the teen is at fault. Teens injured in car accidents or other vehicular crashes that were not their fault should contact a lawyer to protect their legal rights and secure their financial compensation.
A Parent’s Responsibility
Parents and their insurance can be held accountable for compensation when their teen injures someone in a car crash. The specific circumstances of the teen’s acts will determine the degree and existence of parental liability. Each case a lawyer handles will be unique and involve certain types of negligent acts. In terms of civil cases, the most common negligent acts of minors are car accident related.
Some parents of an injured teen may be reluctant to file an insurance claim, hire a lawyer, or engage in any sort of legal action out of concern for the parents of the at-fault teen. However, car insurance compensation options are available that won’t necessarily financially damage the parents of the at-fault driver.
Causes of Teen Driver Accidents
Some causes of teen driver automobile crashes include the following:
- Inexperience. Being new drivers, teens are more likely to underestimate the amount of time required to safely stop or make a turn. They also may not recognize dangerous driving conditions. An interesting statistic we’ve found is that the first 500 miles of a teen’s driving are the most important. During this time, she is ten times more likely to be involved in a car accident than adult drivers.
- Lack of maturity. Many teens are very impatient and not careful. Typical teen behavior includes speeding, running red lights, and dangerously switching lanes.
- Distraction. Teens are more likely than adults to text while driving. Talking on the phone can double the chance of a car accident and is reported to bring reaction time down to that of a 70-year-old.
- Speeding. This coincides with immaturity, as nearly one-third of all fatal car accidents are because of speeding.
- Friend in car. It’s easy to be distracted when joking around with friends while driving.
- Impairment. About a quarter of fatal car crashes are because of drinking and driving. Teens are more likely to drink behind the wheel.
Consult With a Lawyer in Northeast Philadelphia
If you are a resident of Philadelphia living in the Northeast area and your teen has been involved in a car accident, you may need a lawyer. The Heslin Law Firm has been helping victims of car crashes for over thirty years. Contact our office for a free consultation.