A parent’s priority is to keep their children safe and out of harm’s way. However, when teens turn 16 and hit the road for the first time, some of the control over their safety is lost. Although as a parent you never want to think about your child being involved in a car accident, it is important to understand the process of handling an accident involving a young driver so you are prepared should an accident occur involving your child. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are three times more likely to be involved in a vehicular accident than those who are older than 20. As a parent, it is important to be educated so you are confident in handling your teenager’s first accident if or when it occurs.
Today, the personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Dale E. Anstine are sharing tips on how to handle your teen’s first car accident. We hope you won’t ever need to contact us, but if you do, our experienced accident lawyers in PA will put their knowledge of auto insurance policies and accident laws in practice and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Step #1: Get to the Scene
After getting the phone call that your child has been involved in an accident, it is important to stay calm. The first step will be to get to the accident scene as quickly as possible. Not only will your presence be comforting to your child, but it is important for you to be there to gather information. Be sure to collect details about the other driver involved, take photos of the scene and damaged vehicles and collect a copy of the accident report from police.
If your child was injured in the accident and needs medical attention, be sure to not only get them the care they need in a timely manner, but also collect the detailed examination reports from the hospital because these will be helpful when filing an insurance claim.
Step #2: Understand Parental & Teen Liability
If your teen is involved in an accident in Pennsylvania, you will need to understand the Parental Liability Act. If your child was at fault, this act would allow the victim to bring a suit against the teen’s parents if they are under the age of 18. However, there are some limitations. From a financial perspective, the penalty is limited to $1,000 for one victim and $2,500 for more than one victim.
You will also need to understand teen driver liabilities. If your teen was involved in a minor accident and deemed to be at fault, they may receive a 30-day suspension of their license and court fees. If your child was at fault and caused injuries to others or extensive damage, they may face more severe repercussions. Due to parental and teen liabilities that can result from your child being involved in an accident, it is best to get an experienced PA accident attorney on your side who can help you navigate the information and claims process.
Step #3: Seek Legal Advice
After ensuring your child is okay and documenting the accident scene, it is important to contact an experienced accident lawyer in Central PA. Whether your child was at fault or not, there are many complexities of auto accidents and insurance policies. Just as you helped your child prepare for their first solo drive, it is important as a parent to ensure you are prepared to navigate the process should your child be involved in an accident. Remember to always encourage your child to cooperate with law enforcement on the scene of an accident, but make sure neither they nor you sign anything from an insurance company without first consulting with an experienced accident and injury attorney. Having a legal professional on your side to walk you through your insurance policy and rights to compensation will be beneficial.
At Dale E. Anstine, your injury is our fight. We offer free consultations and insurance policy reviews. We hope your teen will never be involved in an accident, but if they are, reach out. We’re available 24/7 and there’s no fee unless we win for you.