As a parent, heading over the keys to a teen driver is always stressful. The data is clear: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that “numbers of crashes and crash deaths are disproportionately high” for teenagers—with 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds being at the highest risk. What happens when your teen driver is involved in a crash? At Etemi Law, we want to make sure that you have the knowledge and resources to protect their health, safety, and rights. Here, our Waterbury auto accident attorney provides a comprehensive overview of the key things parents should know if their child was hurt in a motor vehicle collision in Connecticut.
Step #1: Ensure Your Teen Driver Gets Any Medical Care that they Need
Your teen’s medical needs always take the top priority. If you learn that your teenager is involved in a motor vehicle crash anywhere in Connecticut, be sure that they get the comprehensive and professional medical care that they need. Of course, severe injuries all necessitate immediate emergency care. Beyond that, non-emergency injuries still need to be assessed by a doctor. Do not let your teen tell you that he or she is “fine” after a car crash. All injuries must be checked out.
Step #2: Know Your Right to Represent Your Teen (Police, Insurers, etc)
As a parent or guardian, you have the right to represent your teen in matters related to the accident. While your teenager certainly needs to cooperate at the scene of the crash as well, you have the right to be involved in the process if your teenage driver is still a minor. Among other things, you can and should assist your teenager with speaking with police, getting an accident report, and dealing with insurance companies. Your teen may not be fully aware of their rights or the legal implications of the accident. Do not hesitate to get involved in the legal process.
Step #3: Document the Crash for Your Teenager
Every motor vehicle crash in Connecticut should be carefully documented. Our state operates under an at-fault standard for traffic accident liability. Make sure that you and your teen proactively document the crash. Doing so is crucial to prove liability—comprehensive documentation is vital for insurance and legal purposes. You should take photos of the accident scene, collect witness statements, and gather any other relevant information. A teen driver is not automatically responsible for a crash. Unfortunately, some teens face unfair stereotypes from police and insurance adjusters when multi-vehicle collisions happen.
Note: Under Connecticut law (C.G.S.A. § 52-572(h)), a modified comparative fault standard applies to car accident claims. Even if a teen driver is partially at fault for a crash, they can still seek compensation from other parties as long as they are not liable for 51 percent or more of the crash.
Step #4: Notify the Insurance Company
After addressing any immediate health concerns and gathering evidence, the next step is to notify your insurance company about the accident. Most policies require prompt reporting of accidents. Provide them with all the necessary details but be cautious with your statements. Remember, as a parent or guardian, you have the right to handle the insurance claims process if your teen is a minor. Most likely, your teenager will still be listed on your automobile insurance policy.
Step #5: Consult With a Top-Tier Connecticut Auto Accident Lawyer
Car accident claims are complicated. If your teen driver suffered an injury in a crash, it is crucial that you have a skilled attorney on your side. You and your family do not have to take on insurance companies alone. As noted previously, teen drivers often face unjust stereotypes from insurance company representatives. They can sometimes get blamed for a crash even when they were not actually at fault. An attorney can help. An experienced Connecticut car accident lawyer who has experience handling teen driver cases can review your case, explain your rights and options, and take action to help you and your family secure the maximum financial compensation.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Waterbury, CT Car Accident Attorney
At Etemi Law, our Connecticut car crash lawyers are compassionate, experienced advocates for injured victims. If your teenager was involved in any type of motor vehicle crash, we are here to help. Call us today or contact us online to set up a no cost, no obligation consultation. From our offices in Waterbury and Watertown, we handle teen car accident claims throughout Connecticut.