Most parents are understandably concerned every time their teenage drivers leave the driveway. It’s unfortunate but true that teen drivers are more likely to get into a car crash. Because of their lack of experience and impulsiveness, teenage drivers are 1.6 times more likely than adults to get into a car accident, according to the Governors Highway Safety Administration.
Teen drivers not only hurt themselves in car accidents. They also injure their passengers and other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and others who share the roads of Oklahoma. And, of course, teenage drivers are injured and killed in crashes caused by other drivers’ negligence through no fault of their own.
If your teenage son or daughter has been injured in a car accident caused by another motorist, you need trusted legal guidance about your teen’s rights. The Oklahoma car accident lawyers of Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons are experienced advocates for the victims of car accidents. We fight to recover compensation for those who have been injured by careless and negligent drivers.
Call us today for a free consultation about recovering compensation for medical bills and other losses after a teen car accident in Oklahoma.
Who is at Fault in a Teen Car Accident?
Teenage drivers’ lack of experience makes them less likely to recognize and respond to hazardous traffic situations correctly. Teens have problems judging the distance between vehicles and other vehicles’ speed, turning safely, and understanding the proper speed to drive in hazardous road and weather conditions.
Teen drivers are more likely than older drivers to engage in risky driving practices, such as:
- Distracted driving. Cell phones are a dangerous distraction for young drivers. Drivers ages 16 to 25 represented the largest group of drivers in distracted driving accidents in Oklahoma, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. It is illegal to text while driving in Oklahoma. In addition to teens’ use of phones and other electronic devices behind the wheel, other activities such as eating, adjusting the radio or turning to talk to passengers are common distractions that can cause an accident to happen.
- Speeding. Male teenagers, in particular, can be overconfident and excited by the power of a motor vehicle. Teen drivers are more likely to drive too fast just for the thrill of it. Teens also tend to drive too fast in inclement weather and in congested traffic conditions, and to engage in other aggressive driving behaviors such as tailgating and risky passing.
- Drowsy driving. Teens dealing with school, part-time jobs and social lives often do not get enough sleep. Teens at home during the evening may be online late into the night while parents think they are sleeping. The result is fatigue, which dulls alertness, slows reaction time and creates a danger similar to drunk driving.
- Drunk driving. Teen drivers who experiment with underage drinking are a double threat. They are inexperienced with both driving and the effects of alcohol. About a quarter of car crashes with teens involve an underage drinking driver, according to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.
Teens also have a greater chance of getting involved in an accident if other teens are present in the vehicle, according to research conducted by the AAA Traffic Safety Foundation. The AAA says when a teen driver has only teen passengers in their vehicle, the fatality rate for all people involved in a crash increases by 51 percent. In contrast, when older passengers (35 or older) ride with a teen driver, overall fatality rates in crashes decrease by 8 percent.
It is important to remember that passengers injured in teen driver car accidents have the same rights to compensation as anyone else injured by another person’s negligence.
Did a Teenager Cause Your Car Accident Injuries?
Starting to drive is a step toward adulthood. Adulthood means more accountability for our actions. Teenage drivers who are negligent or reckless should be held responsible when they cause accidents and harm to others.
Drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists or others injured in a car accident caused by a teen driver have the right to hold the teen driver accountable. Keep in mind that any compensation will come from the teen’s auto liability insurance coverage. The State of Oklahoma will determine whether the teen driver who caused an accident should suffer sanctions against their driving privileges.
Filing a claim in a car accident caused by a teenage driver first involves identifying their liability insurance coverage, and then making a full accounting of your injuries and the costs and losses you have endured because of them. Compensation in a car accident claim may include:
- All medical costs related to the crash, including prior and current bills and the cost of future treatment or care you are expected to need
- Lost wages, including unpaid time away from work as you recover and any losses caused by a reduced earning capacity due to your injuries
- Property damage costs to repair or replace your vehicle
- Your physical and emotional pain and suffering.
We would also investigate to gather evidence of the teen driver’s fault and legal responsibility. If the driver was 16 or 17, the teen’s parents also may have liability after an accident. In Oklahoma, an OK Supreme Court case from 1924, Stumpf v. Montgomery, requires the plaintiff in a claim against the parents of a minor driver to prove that the parents gave the teen permission to drive the car he or she crashed. Our attorneys would seek evidence to establish that this permission existed for a claim to go forward. Even if a parent gave a teen permission to make one trip — to the store for school supplies, for example — they may not be held liable for an accident that occurred on a side trip, such as to a girlfriend’s house, according to another court ruling, Dillingham v. Teeter.
As your attorneys, Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons would conduct a thorough investigation of the accident facts and press the insurance carrier to pay full compensation.
Was Your Teen Injured in a Car Accident?
If your teen was injured in a car accident caused by someone else, you could seek compensation from the at-fault driver and his or her insurance provider. This includes the teenage driver of the car your teen was riding in when it crashed.
Passengers riding with teenage friends are injured and killed in car accidents in Oklahoma all too often. In fact, many accidents caused by teenage drivers are single-vehicle accidents. A common teen driving accident is for a teen’s car to slip off the edge of the road, causing the inexperienced driver to overcorrect, lose control and crash. Passengers in the vehicle may have a claim against the driver’s liability insurance if they are injured.
At the same time, teenage drivers’ cars are hit by speeding, distracted, drowsy and drunk drivers every day. The innocent teen driver has the right to recover compensation for his or her losses, just as any adult driver in Oklahoma does.
A Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons teen car accident attorney would investigate your teen’s injuries, identify existing auto insurance coverage, and pursue a claim for all compensation that you and your child are owed for costs and losses, including your teenager’s pain and suffering.
Steps Your Teen Should Take After a Car Accident
Regardless of a teenager’s role in a car accident, there are steps they should take to protect their rights. First, call 911 to summon police and, if anyone has been injured in the accident, emergency medical help. An injured teen should cooperate with emergency medical responders, including getting into an ambulance if that is suggested.
After an accident, a teen should:
- Call his or her parents.
- Gather his or her license, registration and insurance card. Be ready to give this information to police and to share it with the other driver. Take photos of the other driver’s information.
- Be careful about what he or she says to others at the accident scene. Avoid arguing with others involved in the wreck, but don’t accept blame or apologize for the accident. Apologies imply guilt. Cooperate with police and answer questions truthfully, but do not offer opinions or information that has not been requested.
- Document the accident. Take photos of the vehicles involved, including their damage and relation to each other. Photograph the area and anything there damaged by the accident or that may have contributed to the accident. Get names and contact information for any witnesses, including car passengers.
After an accident, make sure your teen sees a doctor within 24 hours if he or she did not require emergency care. Some serious injuries only show symptoms later, including some traumatic brain injuries. You should report the accident to your insurance company promptly and obtain the police report from the accident.
You should also contact an experienced Oklahoma car accident attorney as soon as possible if your teen was injured in the accident. The sooner a Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons’ teen car accident attorney begins to investigate your case, the better we can protect your interests.
Talk To Our Oklahoma City Teen Car Accident Lawyers Today
If you or a teenager in your household has been injured in a car accident, contact the personal injury law firm of Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons in Oklahoma City today. Our compassionate car accident lawyers are well known and respected by insurance companies, opposing attorneys, and local judges for the strength and integrity of personal injury claims we pursue. This helps us recover compensation for people like you.
Schedule a free consultation today to discuss the losses you are facing due to a teen driving accident. We are happy to meet wherever it’s convenient for you, including at your home or in the hospital. Contact us now.Get Started