Many of us remember the excitement of being a teenager and first learning how to drive. But while getting a driver’s license is an important rite of passage, not all teenagers acknowledge the responsibilities that come with it. Teenagers who are not careful behind the wheel can cause accidents that lead to horrific injuries, expensive medical bills, and debilitating emotional distress.
If a teenage driver hit you in Durham, the team at Kreger Brodish LLP can help you pursue compensation for your injuries. For more than a decade, our firm has represented injured North Carolinians and helped them get the money they deserve when they need it the most. Let us put this experience and dedication to work on your behalf. Call us today or visit our contact page for a free consultation with a Durham teen driving car accident lawyer.
Teen Car Accident Statistics in North Carolina
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), 6,850 drivers ages 15-19 were injured or killed in accidents during one recent year. Data shows there were 6,786 injuries to teen drivers and 64 deaths. That same year, 82,886 drivers were killed or injured statewide. In other words, teen drivers accounted for more than 8 percent of all injuries and fatalities to North Carolina drivers that year.
Concerningly, alcohol-related injuries and deaths are common among teen drivers. According to the NCDOT, 1,112 alcohol-related crashes involving teen drivers or passengers occurred in one recent year. These crashes led to 546 injuries and 17 deaths among teen drivers and passengers. The report also notes that alcohol-related crashes involving teens accounted for about 2 percent of all crashes statewide, nearly 17 percent of all teen crash fatalities, and 5 percent of all teen crash injuries.
Most Common Causes of Teenage Driving Accidents
Some of the most common causes of teen driving accidents in Durham include:
- Inexperience– By definition, teen drivers have spent less time driving than almost anyone else on the road. This lack of experience can lead to an accident if a teen driver does not recognize potential dangers around them or does not react quickly enough to avoid a crash.
- Speeding and aggressive driving– Teen drivers are more prone to speeding, a behavior that makes it harder to stay in control and avoid a collision. Teen drivers are also more likely to tailgate, turn or change lanes without using a turn signal, take turns at high speeds, and engage in other aggressive driving behaviors that can cause a crash.
- Impaired driving– Sadly, teen drivers make up an alarming percentage of drunk driving injuries and deaths. While teenagers often hurt themselves in impaired driving accidents, they are not always the only victims of their careless decisions.
- Distracted driving– Teenagers have poor impulse control, which can make them more prone to distractions. Teens who talk on the phone, text, adjust the music, or focus more on their passengers than on the road are more likely to cause a crash.
- Night driving– Teens often drive at night to get to their jobs or hang out with friends. Fatigue and poor visibility contributed to many nighttime accidents.
How to Prevent Teen Car Crashes
Here are a few tips to help you prevent your teenager from getting involved in an accident:
- Be a good role model for a teen driver by never talking on the phone behind the wheel, always staying below the speed limit, and following every traffic law.
- Talk to teen drivers about the dangers of distracted and impaired driving.
- Follow state laws limiting how many people a teen driver can have in their car and when they can drive at night.
- Encourage teen drivers and passengers to wear seat belts.
Determining Fault in a Car Accident Involving a Teenager
Determining fault in an accident involving a teen driver is the same as for any traffic collision. Investigators will examine evidence to understand what happened and why. This evidence might include the following:
- Police accident reports
- Eyewitness statements
- Traffic and security camera footage
- Vehicle damage patterns
- Physical evidence from the scene
- Expert testimony
If the teen was driving their own car when they hit you, they are likely responsible for the harm they caused you. However, liability becomes more complicated if the teen is a minor or was driving someone else’s vehicle.
If a teen driver hits you, are they or their parents liable for your injuries? Could a teen driver and their parents both be responsible? The answers to these questions have an important effect on how you can pursue compensation after a crash caused by a teenage driver.
It’s important to know that a family’s auto insurance covers the damage caused by anyone on the policy, which should include the teen driver. The “family purpose doctrine” makes parents directly liable for accidents their children cause under many circumstances. This doctrine recognizes the potential danger of a motor vehicle and holds parents responsible for ensuring its safe use. When they negligently fail in that responsibility, they are liable for the consequences.
To seek compensation under this doctrine, you must show that the parents:
- Have control over the vehicle
- Maintain the vehicle for the general use of the family
- Gave their child their expressed or implied consent to use the vehicle before the accident
Contact an Experienced Teen Car Accident Lawyer in Durham, NC Today
Teens are more prone than other drivers to mistakes behind the wheel. But that does not excuse them from the consequences if they cause a crash. If you were hurt in an accident caused by a teenage driver, you could have several options for pursuing compensation. The teen car accident lawyers at Kreger Brodish LLP can help you seek the money you need for the losses you suffered. Call us today or visit our contact page to learn more about how we can help after a crash.