The inexperience of teenage drivers, combined with distraction, is the main cause of teenage driving accidents. If you have been injured in an accident involving a teenage driver, an experienced personal injury lawyer from Pacific West Injury Law can help you understand the process of seeking compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injury. If you are in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, or Henderson, we can also inform you of the services we can provide to assist you with your claim.
The Most Common Causes of Teenage Driving Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 2,000 people are killed and many more are injured as a result of traffic accidents involving teenage drivers in the U.S. Here is a look at the common causes of teenage driving accidents. It is important to remember that inexperience in drivers aged 15-18 can be the main cause of the accident, or can be combined with any one of these other common causes.
Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents in any age group. However, for new and inexperienced drivers, the risk is even worse. Teen drivers are 2.5 times more likely to crash when they have another teen riding in the car with them. If they have two or more teens in the vehicle when they’re driving, the risk of an accident increases by more than three times.
Texting and other cell phone use are also a major concern when it comes to teenage drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), surveys indicate that around 39% of teen drivers have texted or emailed in the past 30 days while behind the wheel of a car.
Teen drivers are more likely than older drivers to speed, and this practice — combined with inexperience — accounts for 31% of fatal accidents involving male drivers between the ages of 15-18, and 17% of fatal accidents involving females in this age bracket. Speeding results in less time for the driver to perceive a hazard, more distance needed for the brakes to pull the vehicle to a complete stop, a greater risk of loss of vehicle control, and greater severity if an accident does occur.
The loss of visibility makes nighttime driving dangerous for all drivers. For teens, there is also a greater risk of driving fatigue, as individuals in this age group typically require more sleep than adults for optimal daytime performance.
Additionally, the risk of driving impairment by drugs or alcohol as well as the risk of encountering another driver who is impaired increases. The CDC reports that teen drivers are three times more likely to die in a nighttime crash than adults in the 30-59 age bracket.
Impairment by Drugs or Alcohol
According to a teen driver survey, more than 16% of teen drivers have driven while impaired by alcohol within the past 30 days. As with speeding, driving while impaired is more common among male teen drivers than females, accounting for 20% of the fatal accidents involving male teens, and 14% of female drivers. Impairment by alcohol or drugs can create deficits to the skills the driver needs to safely operate a motor vehicle, including the ability to track moving targets, multitask, control speed or lane position, and make good driving decisions.
Are Teenagers Legally Responsible for Driving Accidents?
Teen drivers in Nevada can only obtain their driver’s license if a parent, guardian, employer, or other adult over 18 signs the minor’s application for a driver’s license or instruction permit, making this adult legally responsible for injuries and property damage caused by the teen driver. What this means is that if you were in an accident involving a teen driver, you will likely seek compensation from the driver’s parents through their auto liability insurance policy.
Seeking Compensation After Being Injured by a Teen Driver
Individuals seeking compensation after being injured by a teen driver can do so through the personal injury claims process. This process generally involves first seeking compensation through a demand that your attorney sends to the at-fault party’s insurance provider. When the provider receives the demand, they will assign an insurance adjuster to the claim.
The adjuster’s job is to evaluate the claim and determine how much money they are willing to pay for the claim. The adjuster has three options when receiving your attorney’s demand:
- Accept the liability of their insured and pay the claim.
- Deny the claim and notify the claimant of the reason for the denial.
- Offer to settle the claim for less than the full value.
If the insurer pays the demand, your claim is resolved. If they deny the claim or fail to offer fair compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injury, you can file the claim as a personal injury lawsuit in civil court within the statute of limitations for personal injury claims. In Nevada, you are provided with two years after the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.
In order to have a successful outcome to your teenage driving accident claim, you must be able to prove that someone else was liable. The elements of liability include:
- A duty of care owed by the at-fault party to take reasonable actions to avoid harming the safety or property of others.
- A breach in the duty of care resulting from carelessness or recklessness.
- Proof that this breach resulted in the accident that caused your injury.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You with Your Claim
If you were injured in an accident caused by a teen driver, an experienced personal injury lawyer from Pacific West Injury Law can help you determine liability, establish a value to your claim, manage communication with the insurance provider, and a number of other services aimed at assisting you in obtaining compensation. To get started, contact us for your free case evaluation.