North Carolina Teen Car Accident Claim
Teenage drivers lack driving experience and are statistically more prone to being involved in crashes. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a teenage driver, you may have a right to seek compensation for your injuries from the teen’s auto insurance. While many teenagers try to drive safely, their inexperience with certain situations can put them and others around them at increased risk of an accident. Using a phone, listening to loud music, or talking with other passengers while driving can cause the teen driver to lose focus on the task of driving and become a danger on the road.
In a recent year, The North Carolina Department of Transportation reported that teenage drivers in North Carolina were involved in more than 50,000 crashes. About one in every five accidents resulted in some type of injury. Some of the injuries were severe, and 77 crashes involving teenagers caused a fatality.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by another driver, our attorneys at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. can help you understand your legal options. If you have a valid car accident claim, we can help you pursue compensation for your injuries. Contact us today online at attorneysnc.com or by phone at 919-661-9000 for a free consultation.
Common Car Accidents Caused by Teenage Drivers
Teen drivers are responsible for the same types of accidents that adult drivers cause, such as crashes involving speeding, drinking, drug use, sleep deprivation or distracted driving. A teen driver’s inexperience and lack of judgment can lead to risky driving maneuvers without an understanding of the potential consequences.
For example, when a young driver sees a hazard in their lane, they may decide to change lanes quickly to avoid the hazard. But in their haste, they may fail to check their blind spot and sideswipe a vehicle in the other lane. Teenagers sometimes engage in the following behaviors that increase the risk of accidents:
- Drowsy driving
- Running red lights
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving
- Driving while texting
- Driving while watching media on a smart phone
These behaviors can be especially dangerous when teen drivers are in challenging situations, such as driving in bad weather, at night, or on unfamiliar roads.
Teenage Drivers and Distracted Drivers
The North Carolina Department of Transportation reported that in one recent year, distracted driving accounted for 22.2 percent of accidents involving teenagers, compared to only 20.4 percent of accidents involving adult drivers.
A study by the AAA Foundation found that the most common type of distraction for teenage drivers was using an electronic device such as a mobile phone while driving. Some other distracting activities identified in the study include adjusting radio controls, personal grooming, eating or drinking, engaging in conversations with other passengers, or reaching for an object in the car.
Who Can be Held Liable for a Teen Driver Crash in North Carolina?
If you have been injured in an accident involving a teenage driver, it can be more complicated to determine financial liability. A teen driver’s parents could be liable even if they were not involved in the accident under the “family purpose doctrine.” If the parents 1) own or have the right to control the vehicle the teenager was driving, 2) provide the vehicle for the use, convenience and pleasure of the family members, 3) allow the family member to drive the vehicle with their knowledge, approval and consent, and 4) the driver is a member of the household, the family purpose doctrine applies, and the parents may be held legally responsible. It is not necessary that the parents had knowledge of, or gave their express approval for, that particular trip. Knowledge, approval and consent may be implied from conduct or from the circumstances, such as habitual or customary use of the vehicle.
A skilled North Carolina teen driving accident attorney at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks can help you navigate the legal complexities of holding the appropriate parties financially responsible for an auto accident caused by a teenage driver.
What Should I Do if I Was in a Teen Driver Crash in North Carolina?
After an accident involving a teen driver, you should seek medical attention, report the accident to the police, obtain the driver’s contact and insurance information and take photographs of the accident scene.
After you have received medical treatment, you should contact an experienced lawyer to help you understand your legal options. While you could file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company on your own, you will be at a disadvantage when doing so. The settlement the insurance company offers may be far less than the fair value of your claim. A knowledgeable accident attorney can help you pursue full compensation for your injuries.
You should avoid giving any statements to the other driver’s insurance company before you have consulted with an attorney. An insurance adjuster may try to take your statement out of context to try to diminish or dismiss your injury claim. Our attorneys can handle all communications with the insurance companies and help you avoid making an offhand comment that could undermine your claim.
Compensation for Your Losses in a Teen Driver Car Accident
We cannot guarantee any specific amount of compensation after a teen driver car accident. Every accident has unique facts that affect the compensation available to those who have been harmed.
Some common types of compensation that accident victims may claim include:
- Medical expenses – Reimbursement for existing medical bills.
- Future medical expense – If you will need ongoing medical treatment for your injuries, you may seek compensation for the costs of future medical care.
- Lost wages – Whether you miss a few weeks of work due to your injuries, or you are unable to work for months, you may seek compensation for your lost wages.
- Pain and suffering – The emotional impact of a severe injury can be devastating. You may be entitled to seek compensation for your emotional anguish and physical suffering caused by the teen driver accident.
- Property damage – Compensation may be sought for your damaged vehicle and personal possessions such as a laptop computer damaged in the accident.
- Punitive damages – Punitive damages are uncommon. But if a driver engages in willful or wanton behavior, you may be able to pursue punitive damages.
During a free consultation, our attorneys can give you an idea of the specific types of compensation that you may seek after we review the details of the teen driver accident that injured you.
Talk to Our North Carolina Teen Accident Lawyers Today
In the weeks and months following a car accident, you may feel overwhelmed by the decisions you need to make. From juggling doctor’s appointments to dealing with insurers to adjusting to life with severe injuries, it can be a stressful time. Our attorneys at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. can handle the legal issues after a serious car crash so that you can focus on recovering and moving forward with your life.
Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience necessary to handle any type of teen driving accident case. We utilize a state-of-the-art case tracking system, and we pride ourselves on providing personal attention to each of our clients.
Contact Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. today online or at 919-661-9000 for a free consultation.