Tips for Teens After a Car Accident
Teenagers are statistically more likely to be involved in car accidents than more experienced adult drivers. As a parent, it is important to teach your teenager what to do in the event of a car crash. No one plans for a motor vehicle collision, but preparing for one can help a teen protect his or her safety, well-being and rights if a car accident occurs in New Jersey.
Never Leave the Scene of an Accident
First, teenagers should be taught to never leave or flee the scene of a car accident. No matter what the circumstances are – even if the teen has been drinking or was driving without a license – stopping at the scene of an accident is always better than illegally fleeing. It is against the law in New Jersey to leave the scene of a collision that results in injuries, deaths or property damage. The penalties for a hit-and-run crime can be severe, including jail time.
Fulfill a Driver’s Responsibilities
Once the teen has pulled over as close to the scene of the accident as is safely practicable, he or she should put on the vehicle’s hazard lights and check for injuries. If anyone is injured, 911 should be called immediately and paramedics should be dispatched to the scene. Driver responsibilities after a car accident in New Jersey also include exchanging information with the other driver. Your teen should write down the other driver’s name, address and insurance information.
Always Report a Car Accident – Even a Minor One
It is good practice for drivers to report all car accidents to the police; even collisions that appear minor. While New Jersey law only requires reporting car accidents that result in injury, death or property damage in excess of $500, crash reporting is an important step that can help the teen protect his or her legal rights in any situation.
The police can fill out an accident report, have the vehicle towed to the nearest shop and contact the teen’s parents. Teach your teen never to be convinced by another driver not to involve the police or insurance companies. Under-the-table deals can easily lead to a victim being taken advantage of or deceived by the at-fault driver, such as by providing fake information.
Do Not Admit Fault or Apologize
A teen driver should never admit fault for a car accident. There may be many factors that the teen is unaware of that contributed to the crash, such as road defects or the other driver’s traffic violations. Admitting fault or apologizing for the car accident can place 100 percent of the blame on the driver, regardless of the facts of the case. A car insurance company may halt its investigation and take the teen’s admittance as a confession of guilt.
Watch for Signs of Injury
Not all injuries connected to car accidents are immediately apparent. Teen drivers should be aware of the importance of seeking professional medical care immediately after a crash, even if they do not feel injured. Adrenaline from the accident could mask the pain or signs of an injury. Teens should also get emotional support for what they may be feeling, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic anxiety or a fear of driving.
Know When to Hire a Car Accident Attorney
While many minor car accident claims in New Jersey can be handled by the driver, it is important to include an attorney for more complicated cases. As the parent of a teen driver, you should consult with a car accident lawyer if the case involves a liability dispute, serious or catastrophic injuries, or insurance bad faith. The car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson serves Teaneck, Union City, Bergen County, and Hackensack. Please do not hesitate to reach out – your teen’s future and your peace of mind are our priorities.
Getting into a car accident for the first time can be frightening and overwhelming. An attorney can protect your teen and family by pursuing maximum financial compensation through all available sources on your behalf.