What to Do After a Car Crash (For Teens)
Getting into an accident is always scary, especially if you are a teenager.
You may be a new driver, or you may have been a passenger in a vehicle driven by one of your friends. You may be afraid of getting in trouble with both your parents and the law. It can help to know the proper steps to take after an accident.
What to Do at the Scene
When you are at the crash scene, it is important to pull over and see if anyone is injured. Then, contact the police and wait for them to arrive.
Take pictures if you can and get the names and telephone numbers of any witnesses who may have seen the collision. You will also want to exchange insurance information with the other drivers who were involved.
Although your parents will find out that you have had an accident when the insurance company calls them, you will be in considerably more trouble if you do not show your insurance card to the law enforcement officer who arrives at the scene.
What If Alcohol Was Involved?
If you were driving when you had your accident and had any alcohol in your bloodstream, you might get a ticket for DUI and be arrested. There is no minimum BAC if you are a teen. An insurance company may also try to deny a claim if you were drinking at the time.
If you were texting while driving, you might be questioned about that as well. Teens are more likely to get into an accident when texting, and the laws are harsher on them when it happens.
Although you should never lie to an officer, most attorneys advise you to wait to speak to a lawyer before answering any questions. You are likely to be given a breathalyzer test at the scene.
You should always go to the doctor after you have had an accident, even if you feel just fine. Your parents will want to save every doctor bill that is related to the accident. They should also save any receipts for prescription medications that you have to take. You should also keep a journal of important events that you have missed at school.
Talking to the Insurance Company
When your parents call the insurance company, the adjuster is likely to talk to you as well. They may ask to tape-record the conversation, but you do not have to let them.
According to Grossman Law Offices, in California, the person who caused the accident is responsible for paying its related bills. However, it is a pure comparative state which means that each party is responsible for the percentage of the accident they caused.
For example, if you were 10% responsible for an accident, you might make a claim for 90% of your bills against the other driver’s insurance company. If you were 50% responsible, you could make a claim for 50% of your expenses.
After the insurance company finishes its investigation, it will make you an offer. Unfortunately, they are likely to offer you too little, so you should talk to a lawyer before taking it.
Getting into an accident is never fun, especially for teens. However, knowing the proper protocol and hiring a good attorney can make things better.