What to Do When Your Teen Driver Is in a Car Accident
- August 18, 2023
Receiving a call from your teen driver about being involved in an accident is every parent's worst nightmare. If you find yourself in this situation, it's crucial to know how to handle it and guide your child through the necessary steps following the accident. Emotions can run high during such times, making it difficult to remember the appropriate actions to take. To help you and your child navigate the situation safely, we have compiled some concise reminders.
1) Ensure their safety:
- Immediately check if your teen is injured. If they are seriously injured, seek medical treatment or call an ambulance right away.
- If your teen is not seriously injured, follow these steps:
- Confirm that they are in a safe location.
- Advise them to move the car to the side of the road if possible.
- If the car won't start, instruct them to safely exit the vehicle and move to the shoulder.
- If they can get to the side of the road, advise them to stand behind a guardrail.
- If they are injured and unable to leave the car, ensure they stay seated with their seatbelt on.
2) Call 911:
- Make sure your teen or someone at the scene calls 911, regardless of the extent of damage or injuries.
- New Jersey law requires reporting accidents resulting in injury, death, or over $500 worth of property damage to the police.
- It's better to err on the side of caution and contact the authorities, as injuries and property damage may be more severe than initially apparent.
3) Encourage collecting driver information:
- If permitted in their state, encourage your teen to gather information from other drivers involved in the accident.
- Taking photographs of the other drivers' insurance cards and driver's licenses can ensure accurate information.
- Obtaining this information at the scene allows you to start insurance claims promptly, without waiting for the police report.
4) Document the scene:
- If your teen is capable and uninjured, ask them to take photos of the accident scene.
- They should only do this if it can be done safely and without obstructing traffic or emergency responders.
- Capture images of the vehicle damage, other cars involved, and the overall accident scene.
- Photographs can be crucial in depicting road conditions and vehicle damage, including the arrangement of vehicles if they haven't been moved.
5) Contact your insurance agent:
- Once your teen is safely home, reach out to your insurance company to file a claim for the accident.
- If you don't have a copy of the policy declarations page covering your teen driver, request it via email.
- In no-fault states like New Jersey, you'll seek property damage coverage from your own insurance first.
- Determine from your insurance carrier or policy declarations page whether your health insurance or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is primary for medical coverage.
- If your teen sustained injuries and another party is deemed responsible by the police report, you may pursue compensation.
If your teen is a minor and has suffered injuries, filing a personal injury lawsuit on their behalf may be necessary. Antonucci Law can guide you through the complexities involved in seeking compensation for a minor. Contact us today for your initial consultation.