• What to Do When a Teen Is at Fault for a Car Accident
  • June 7, 2019
  • Law Firm: - Office
  • Being in a car accident, even a minor one, is a serious matter. You may be injured, your car could get totaled, and you might be worried about issues such as lost wages. If the other driver involved was a teenager, you might wonder if there are additional steps you need to take after a crash, and what liability and compensation issues you might face if you decide to file a claim.

    Many car accidents in Illinois involve teen drivers. According to the Insurance Information Institute, graduated licensing has reduced the number of teen-involved car crashes and fatalities in the state, but your likelihood of being involved in a crash with a teen driver is still high while you drive on state roads. If you’re involved in such a wreck, you may need a local car accident lawyer to help you understand your legal options.

    Accidents Involving Teen Drivers

    Common causes of accidents involving teens include excessive speed, distracted driving, and driving under the influence. While these factors are often found in accidents involving drivers of all ages, due to the inexperience and immaturity of adolescents, the consequences can be greater.

    If you suspect your accident might have been caused by inattention due to the use of a wireless device, be sure to include that in your notes or speak to the police about your concerns. Under Illinois law, drivers are prohibited from operating an electronic communication device while on a state roadway.

    The aftermath of a car accident with a teen driver will be like other crashes in many respects. If you are safe and uninjured, you should do the following:

    • Exit your vehicle
    • Look at and photograph the damage
    • Exchange insurance information with all involved parties
    • Notify the police
    • Call for a tow truck, if the vehicles cannot be driven

    Depending on your age, and especially if you are a parent or grandparent, avoid comforting the teen driver, who will likely be very upset. Don’t suggest you might have been at fault in order to ease their mind. The teen may start begging you not to call the police or to involve their parents, who may be the vehicle owners. Politely, but firmly, reject these requests. Your first priorities should be to seek appropriate medical assistance, inquire about the repair to your property, and to pursue any possible legal claims to compensate you for your injuries.

    Teen Driver Liability

    Illinois law requires all drivers, including teens, to have car insurance with liability coverage of at least: $25,000 for bodily injury or death to one individual in an accident, $50,000 for injuries or death to more than one person in an accident, and $20,000 for property damage to another person’s property/car.

    Most teenage drivers are covered by their parents’ car insurance policies. Even if a teen driver is still living at home and driving a vehicle owned by their parents, a mother and/or father may be liable for damages incurred in an accident caused by their teen driver. Parents might be held liable if their teen’s car accident-related actions were willful or malicious. In addition, if a teen was driving on behalf of the parents at the time of a crash, the parents may be liable. Common scenarios under this umbrella include driving family members places or running errands for parents.

    Compensation for Accidents with Teen Drivers

    If you get into an accident with a teen driver, follow the steps you normally would with an adult motorist. Remember to not inadvertently undermine your compensation claims if the teen driver was at fault, because you are sympathetic to their feelings. Your primary focus must be your physical well-being, property damage, and any resulting losses from the accident. Consult an Illinois car accident lawyer to discuss your damages and possible compensation. Learn more about how we help injured car accident victims in Illinois by visiting our website here.