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What To Do If My Teen Is In An Accident

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for American teenagers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In Florida, around 63,916 accidents involved teenagers aged 15-20 in 2017. Indeed, this demographic is one of the highest-risk groups when it comes to driving. As a parent, the best you can do is to teach them the best ways to drive safely and make them aware of the most common causes of car accidents for Florida teens:

• Speeding – A lot of inexperienced drivers underestimate the difficulties of controlling a vehicle at high speeds, which makes it harder for them to avoid accidents.
• Driving Under The Influence – Teenagers are not allowed to drink as 21 is the legal drinking age, yet a lot of teenagers have been found driving while under the influence.
• Distracted Driving – Teens love multitasking. Thus, they often text while driving, resulting in car accidents. It’s not that they’re incapable of multitasking properly. It’s just that, statistically speaking, it’s easier to get into accidents when driving while distracted, regardless of the age group.

Even if your teen is careful, sometimes accidents are simply inevitable. If that happens, it’s important for you, the parent, to be calm and resolute the entire time.

What To Expect If Your Teen Is In A Car Accident

There are a few things you should keep in mind. Under Florida Law, teenagers are treated the same way as adults. Thus, if they get involved in a car accident, they will be interviewed by the police and will need to file an insurance claim as adults do. This means that your teenager should either be covered by your insurance or have their own. However, it is still possible for parents to be held accountable financially for their teen’s actions.

With all that said, it’s always good to go to your child at the scene of the accident and contact a Southwest Florida car crash lawyer to help you sort things out.

The Steps You Should Take

1 - Filing An Insurance Claim

For minor accidents where no one was injured and no police investigation is needed, both parties must file a crash report to their insurance companies. If, however, a police investigation was conducted, the police officer will be the one to submit a report. What you can do in such a situation is exchange details with the other party, document the weather and road conditions, document the state of both vehicles, and gather the names and contact details of witnesses.

Florida requires all vehicle owners to have personal injury protection (PIP) with $10,000 coverage. The PIP should cover each driver’s expenses for minor accidents. You can expect to be sued or you can sue the other driver if the expenses go over $10,000.

2 – Knowing Your Teenager’s Responsibility

As mentioned above, one party can sue the other one if medical or repairs costs go beyond $10,000. In such cases, the other party will simply file a claim against your insurance company. You can expect Florida courts to treat the accident as any other accident between two adults. In any case, they will apply comparative negligence, which involves your teen being assigned a percentage of fault for the accident, and that becomes the basis for the monetary award the other party can win.

3 - Knowing Your Responsibility

If your teenager has been found to be at fault for a car crash, the said fault will be assigned to their name, not yours. However, if your teenager is below 18 years, you will be held liable for the financial consequences of their actions. This further highlights the importance of getting insurance for your teenager. Without insurance, you will pay for the other party’s claims entirely out of pocket.

4 – Contact A Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Immediately

It is recommended that you contact a personal injury lawyer right away to make sure you make all the right choices and statements. Your lawyer should be someone you trust will have your best interest in mind. Tell your lawyer every detail so they can deal with your insurance company accordingly and defend you sufficiently in Florida courts, if needed.

Who To Trust?

Allowing your teen to drive can be scary, even more so when an accident happens. Prioritize your teenager’s safety by contacting a reputable teen car accident lawyer to make sure you get a fair deal. Contact All Injuries Law Firm, P.A. for a free consultation.