What to Do If Your Teen Gets into a Car Accident

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As a parent, learning that your teenage son or daughter has been in a car accident can be extremely stressful and scary. However, it’s important to stay calm and know what steps to take next. This article provides guidance on what to do if your teen is in an auto accident, with tips on handling insurance, medical care, legal issues, and more.

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Assess the Situation

If your teen calls you from the scene of the accident, get as much information from them as possible about injuries, vehicle damage, and if emergency services have been contacted. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 2,800 teens aged 16-19 were killed in motor vehicle accidents in the US in 2020. Assess if your teen or others require medical attention immediately.

Address Legal Matters

If the accident resulted in bodily injuries due to another driver’s negligence, consult with a car accident attorney who is knowledgeable about the local regulations and processes. Legal counsel is essential for understanding your options, navigating court procedures, and minimizing the long-term impacts.

Contact Emergency Services

If your teen is unable to call 911, contact emergency services yourself as soon as possible. Provide the exact location of the accident and details about injuries, the number of vehicles involved, and hazards like broken glass or leaking fuel. Stay on the line until help arrives.

Get Medical Attention

Even if injuries seem minor, take your teen to receive medical care right away. Some conditions, like concussions, may not be obvious immediately after an accident. Over 227,000 teenagers were treated in emergency rooms for crash injuries in 2020, reports the CDC. Getting prompt medical attention provides documentation if you need to file an insurance claim later.

Exchange Information

If your teen is able, instruct them to share their name, contact details, driver’s license number, insurance information, and vehicle registration with the other driver(s) involved. They should also get the same information from the other party and take photos of vehicle damage and the accident scene. This creates a record of what happened.

File a Police Report

Contact the police to file an official report for the accident. Reports are critical for insurance claims and may be needed if legal action arises later. The report should include contributing factors like weather conditions, witnesses’ accounts, and if any citations were issued.

Contact Your Insurance Provider

Notify your insurance provider about the accident right away. Describe damages and injuries in detail. They will advise if you need to bring your teen’s vehicle to an approved repair shop for inspection. Work closely with your insurer throughout the claims process and provide all necessary documentation.

Manage Medical Care

Schedule follow-up medical visits for your teen if needed and comply with all treatment plans. For serious injuries like broken bones or concussions, you may need to request extensions for school assignments or testing. Keep detailed records of all medical treatment and expenses covered and out-of-pocket. 

Communicate with Your Teen

Let your teen share their perspective on the accident and have an open discussion about what happened without judgment. Talk about how to prevent similar accidents in the future and address any anxieties they may have about driving going forward. Consider counseling if they display lasting distress, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Being involved in a car accident can be a frightening experience for both teens and parents. Staying calm, following these steps, and working closely with medical providers, insurers, authorities, and legal counsel can help maximize your teen’s recovery and get your family’s life back to normal. With supportive guidance, your teen can eventually regain their driving confidence.