Minnesota has its share of car accidents, just like every other state. Many of these accidents involve teenagers who are just beginning to learn how to drive. When a teenager causes a car wreck that leads to an injury, not only might the teenager be held liable, there are other parties that could face liability as well.
Sand Law attorneys may be able to help if you suffered an injury in a motor vehicle accident caused by a teenager’s negligence. We’ll guide you through each step of the legal process, and help you avoid some of the mistakes that can cause some victims to be denied compensation.
Teen Driving Statistics
Tragically, traffic accidents claim more teenagers in Minnesota each year than just about any other cause. More than 30 teenagers between the ages of 16-19 die on Minnesota roads on average. Only suicides lead to more deaths.
Even though teens 15-19 years old only made up 5% of all licensed drivers in Minnesota, they accounted for nearly 16% of drivers that were in traffic accidents. Approximately 64 percent of teens who died in motor vehicle accidents in 2018 had their seatbelts on, and 10 percent of teens killed in fatal collisions had been drinking alcohol.
Why Do Teen Drivers Cause Accidents?
While impaired driving plays a role in accidents caused by teenagers, there are several other reasons as well. Inexperience and distracted driving are two of the most common.
Impulsiveness or Inexperience
Teenagers can obviously be impulsive. This characteristic can often lead to devastating vehicle accidents. A teenager may suddenly decide to make an illegal U-turn because they passed a new restaurant they want to try out, or they may speed home because they were just in a fight with a friend or a significant other.
Also, teens are simply not as experienced behind the wheel. They are often slower to see hazardous conditions, such as a car stopped on a shoulder, or a wet or icy patch of road. They might also underestimate the dangers those hazards pose, which could put them and other motorists at risk.
As you probably know if you have a teenager at home, this age group embraces technology like no other. Teens are seemingly always talking on their phones, texting or taking selfies. Too many of them, however, take their obsession with their phones much too far. They won’t stop using their phones, even when they’re behind the wheel. This is the epitome of distracted driving, and it can be deadly.
Minnesota Laws Regarding Teen Driving
The law in Minnesota is very plain when it comes to teen driving. Here are just a few of them.
- Teens have strict limitations when they first receive their license. They’re not allowed to drive between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m., with a few exceptions. For example, they’re allowed to drive from home to work and back, and they can drive as long as a licensed driver who is 25 years or older is in the car with them.
- Also, teens can only have one passenger in their vehicle younger than 20 years old during this six-month period. More passengers are allowed only if they’re accompanied by their guardian or parent.
- All drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a smartphone – even a hands-free device – while behind the wheel.
How to Prevent Teen Driving Accidents
Even a momentary lapse of concentration can lead to a devastating rear-end collision, or some other type of wreck. This is the case no matter what age a driver may be, but it seems that teenagers are at a higher risk of causing this kind of accident.
But there are a few things parents can do in order to help reduce the chances that their teenagers will cause a wreck. These include the following:
- Establish a curfew.
- Have a teenager take a defensive driving class. This could help them gain familiarity with dangers on the road, and put them in a position to react faster.
- There are phone apps that can sense when a user is traveling at a certain rate of speed. These apps can lock the phone until the vehicle either slows down or stops.
How Does Colliding with a Teen Affect Your Claim?
When a teenager causes a car accident that leads to an injury, the victim will typically pursue compensation through the teen’s insurance company. However, accidents involving teens can sometimes lead to other parties sharing liability as well, namely, the parents.
You may be able to take action against the parents if you can establish they allowed the teenager to get behind the wheel even though they knew the teen had not yet learned how to be a safe driver. If the parents own the car, and not the teen, you could possibly sue them if the teen causes an accident after borrowing the vehicle.
This is one of the many reasons you’ll need the help of a seasoned car accident attorney. You’ve incurred a lot of expenses due to your injury, such as medical bills, lost wages and other damages. An attorney can help you determine the right legal strategy to obtain compensation for them.
What to do if Your Teen is Involved in an Accident
If you find out your child has been in a car accident, the first thing you’ll want to do is stay as calm as possible. It will be understandable if you panic, but keeping your cool will be your best chance of helping your teen. Ask them if they’ve been hurt, or if anyone else has suffered an injury. If there are injuries, call 911 immediately and tell the dispatcher where the accident occurred.
Next, tell them to get the car out of danger. Have them move it to the shoulder or a parking lot if possible. If they can’t, tell them to stay in the car, keep their seatbelt fastened, and turn on the hazard light.
If they can move the car and they’re not hurt, tell them to exchange contact and insurance information with any other drivers involved.
Contact a Minnesota Teen Driving Accident Attorney Today
It will be imperative that you get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible if you’ve been hurt in an accident caused by a negligent teenage driver. At Sand Law, our attorneys have a long track record of success in these kinds of cases, and we’ll work to help you get the money you deserve. If an insurance company refuses to make a fair settlement offer, we’ll be prepared to take them to court if necessary.