Parents often joke about being scared when their teenager first gets behind the wheel. But if your son or daughter actually is involved a car accident, the situation feels anything but funny.
Will you be held responsible? Will your child have to deal with raised insurance rates for the rest of his or her life? Will the court be more likely to find in favor of the other driver because of your teen’s brand-new driver’s license?
At Binder & Associates Encino, we only practice personal injury law. Even more specifically, a large percentage of our claims are for car and auto accidents. We have handled thousands of car accident claims with successful outcomes for our clients, and would be happy to talk to you in the unfortunate event that your son or daughter has an auto accident. Here are some questions to ask yourself (and your car accident attorney!) if your teenager is involved in a car crash:
1. What is the full story according to your child? What was he or she doing when the crash happened?
Were they paying attention to the road? You want an honest account from your teen, because then your auto accident attorney will know exactly how to deal with the situation and the applicable law. Since teens are considered high-risk drivers, the insurance company might be more likely to assume the car accident is your child’s fault. But not so fast. Just because teens have an ill founded reputation for being careless or irresponsible while driving, does not mean they are to blame.
2. Were you in the car when your child had the accident?
If your child only had a learner’s permit and required supervision in the car, you may be more likely to be responsible if the accident is determined to be your child’s fault.
3. Did your teen have permission to use the car, or did he or she just take it, assuming you would have no objection?
If your child took the car without your permission, the court may be less likely to hold you accountable for the accident. But make no mistake your child will still be held responsible.
4. Was your teenager doing something for you, such as going to the supermarket or running an errand?
This can sometimes be a factor in whether you are held accountable for the car accident or not. Ideally, you want to take preventative steps with your children and driving, such as setting strict rules for when they operate a motor vehicle. Absolutely no texting or using their cellphone is an excellent rule to set (besides it’s ticket if they do). New drivers are also more likely to get in accident if there are passengers their age in the car with them, so you may want to set limits on who they can drive with.
If your teen is involved in a car accident, you want to contact an experienced auto accident attorney to advise you right away. Even if you’re not legally responsible, your teen may be, and you want to do everything possible to protect their rights as well.