For some people, the driving age in the United States is a hotly debated topic. With16 being the legal age for a teenager to obtain a driver’s license in many states, it is not uncommon for some to believe this is too young. Many argue that the 16-year-old brain isn’t developed enough to be trusted behind the wheel or that it isn’t right that teenagers have the ability to drive but still can’t vote. Nevertheless, 16 isn’t always the youngest age of an individual in control of a vehicle. Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon to hear stories of rebellious teenagers and unwitting children wrongfully getting behind the wheel and causing an accident. So what do you do if you’ve been in a wreck with an underage driver?
Contact the Police & Seek Medical Assistance
Regardless of the inherent complexity in an accident with an underage driver, your injuries and well-being are still most important to protect. A 911 call will bring both police and paramedics to the scene, and tending to the underage driver and their individual well-being will be handled by the police. It is not your responsibility to call the parents of the minor and notify them of the incident.
Document The Scene Of The Accident
If you are equipped to do so, the injury lawyers at Dan Davis Law strongly suggest documenting the scene of the accident with pictures to help your case tremendously. Insurance companies often battle to underpay a car accident victim, or even negate responsibility entirely, and evidence can serve as an irrefutable component of your case. You deserve to recover the maximum compensation available to you, for emotional and physical damages alike, and being proactive at the scene of an accident can help you to do that. Document both cars, your location, debris on the road, and even your injuries on the scene.
Obtain Correct Information Of The Underage Driver
Presuming that the underage driver isn’t going to try and lie their way out of the situation, it is critical that you collect their real information. Typically, this includes their real age, address, phone number, car and license plate, and in this case, their parent’s information. On the off chance that the underage driver is unwilling to provide you with this information, you should wait for the police and ask them for whatever information they were able to obtain.
Contact Your Insurance
As soon as possible after the accident you should be trying to get in touch with your insurance company. The sooner the better, with most insurance policies stating that you have to report the accident to them within the first 24 hours of it occurring. Even if you feel pressured to wait for the underage driver to figure something out to better the situation, unfortunately, it is not in your best interest to do so. Delaying to speak to your insurance about the situation may decrease the coverage available to you and make you look bad in the eyes of your carrier.
What Will Happen To The Driver?
Depending on the exact circumstances, at the end of the day, the underage driver will have committed a crime. In serious cases, auto theft attorneys at Banks & Brower mention that if a child takes their parent’s car, they could be prosecuted for auto theft if the parents are to press charges. In cases where the parents give the child permission to drive, the parents of the underage driver might be held responsible for their negligence. In most cases, the parents will usually be held vicariously liable for the actions and damages caused by their children, and will become financially responsible for the consequences. The driver may also be held legally accountable for their actions and face hefty fines, jail time, and more.