The Sawaya Law Firm and Colorado Department of Transportation have teamed up to create a guide for teen drivers and parents – The Developing Good Driving Habits Handbook.
Part Three – Talk to Your Teen About Auto Accidents
No matter how much time you spend practicing safe driving, an accident is bound to happen sooner or later. That doesn’t mean the crash will be your teen’s fault, though. So it’s important to talk about what to do if your teen is in a car accident.
5 Steps to Take After a Car Accident
- Call law enforcement. It is important to report your accident to law enforcement immediately. The responding officer can make a detailed report about the crash, the people involved, and observations about the vehicles and the crash scene. This report may be essential in determining who was at fault.
- Take photos and notes. If your teen is able, he or she should take photos of the vehicles involved, the crash scene, and injuries. If possible, your teen should also take down the name and insurance information of the other driver, as well as contact information for any witnesses to the accident. As soon as possible, your teen should also draw a diagram of what happened. It’s import- ant to note these details right away, while your teen’s memory of the crash is still fresh.
- Seek medical attention. Even if your teen does not seem injured, it is important to take him or her to the doctor as soon as possible after the crash. Many injuries ─ such as concussions, whiplash, and internal bleeding ─ may not be apparent immediately but can be quite serious if left untreated.
- Report the accident to the insurance company. You have a limited amount of time to report an accident to the insurance company, so it’s best to do that as soon as possible.
cussions, whiplash, and internal bleeding ─ may not be apparent immediately but can be quite serious if left untreated. Make sure your teen knows he or she should not give a recorded statement. Instead, just share the facts of the case: where and when the accident happened, and who was involved. Your teen is not required to give any more details than the basic facts, and you may consider reporting the accident together, so you can make sure your child is not pressured into saying something by a pushy insurance adjuster.
- Seek advice from an attorney. People may try to place fault on your teen just based on age and inexperience, but that doesn’t mean those accusations are justified. It’s important to talk with an experienced Colorado car accident attorney about your teen’s rights after an accident, particularly if he or she was hurt in the crash.
Never Admit Fault
Your teen should never admit fault or apologize to people at the accident scene. That doesn’t mean your teen can’t show compassion if the other driver is injured, but admitting fault or apologizing could come back to haunt you.