By | Amy Sloane | Freelance Writer
One of the biggest nightmares that a parent can go through is to receive a call from their teenager saying that they’ve been involved in a car accident. If you ever receive one of these calls, you’ll want to do everything possible to keep your teen driver out of further harm’s way and help them manage the situation as best as possible. Here are some things that you can do as a parent if your teenager gets into a car accident.
Ensure Their Safety
It’s important to ask if your teen is physically injured before asking about other details of the accident. You should then instruct them to move the vehicle out of traffic and into a safer spot if it’s still able to be driven safely.
However, as TeenHelp.com explains, your teen shouldn’t leave the scene of the accident until it’s appropriate to do so. If the vehicle isn’t able to be moved, instruct your teen to turn on the hazard lights so that other vehicles that are driving by will know to steer clear. Your teen should keep their seatbelt buckled the entire time that they remain inside the vehicle if it’s safe to do so.
Notify Emergency Services
You or your teen will want to call 911 quickly if there are any injuries. Paramedics or even a fire crew may be needed at the scene, and a police officer can also come to assess the damage and take a statement from each driver and passenger who was involved. Some states and cities even require anyone who’s involved in an accident to notify authorities if the cost to fix the damage totals over a certain expected amount.
Your teen should exchange details with the driver so that the correct information can be submitted to the insurance companies. This information includes the make, model, year and license plate number of the other vehicle that was in the accident along with the name, address and contact details of the other driver and their insurance company.
Take Pictures and Video
Pictures and video can be taken with any modern cellphone, and capturing images of the accident scene is a great way to document the extent of the accident. These images can be submitted to insurance companies and even the court if a lawsuit is filed. Having this photo and video evidence could be especially useful if the other driver tries to lie and dispute your teen’s version of events.
Notify the Insurance Company
You or your teen should notify the insurance company as soon as possible. Waiting too long to get in contact with the insurance company could make proving a claim more difficult. Your teen will likely be asked to give a statement by phone that’s recorded by a claims specialist to help determine the extent of the damage. You should also prepare your teen for an increased insurance rate if he or she was at fault for the accident.
Hire an Attorney
Hiring an attorney can be an excellent move if you’re being offered an unjustly low insurance settlement payment or you choose to take your teen’s case to court. The attorney who you hire can work to make sure that a fair amount of money will be awarded to cover the costs of damages, medical care and other expenses related to the accident.
A personal injury lawyer can give you information about state laws that may affect your teen’s case and provide legal representation throughout court proceedings or settlement meetings.
Don’t Admit Fault
Even if your teen believes that they caused the accident, they shouldn’t admit fault to anyone at the scene or to the insurance company. Admitting fault could automatically leave your teen on the hook for all damages even if in fact they didn’t cause them.
The other driver or other circumstances might be to blame for the accident, and it’s the job of insurance companies and court judges to determine who or what was exactly at fault.
Getting through an accident will be much easier for your teen if you offer the proper parental guidance. Approaching each phase in an orderly manner will help you and your teen resolve the issue better so that you can both move on with life.