We want to protect our children in the best way we can, but unfortunately some things can be out of our control. If your teenager is a new driver and gets into an accident it’s an emotional roller coaster for you as a parent. Their initial safety and health is of course paramount, but you should also discuss with them the legal repercussions and the issue of liability.
It’s so important as parents that you sit down with your teens before giving them the keys and letting them run wild. If they have an idea of what to do if they do get into an accident, then you’re at least preparing them just in case. Advise them to do the following:
- Pull over somewhere safe is possible
- Get out of the car and check for any leaking fluid
- Call for medical assistance if needed, as well as for the police and highway patrol if necessary.
- Make a note of the time of the accident, perhaps writing it on their phone
- Do not discuss or admit fault to any other drivers or bystanders. Let the police analyze and ask the relevant questions.
- Take pictures on your phone of the scene of the accident, as well as the vehicles and any injuries. Make sure they’re time stamped.
- Co-operate fully with the police
- Whilst the accident is still at the forefront of your mind, ensure to write down all the details you remember.
You’ll then need to look into the liability of your teen driver. As soon as someone has their license, they have a duty of care to be a responsible driver and comply with the laws in place. If your teen has not complied then unfortunately it’s likely they’ll be liable for damages related with the accident. The teen themselves may be sued, with you being their representative if they’re still a minor. You may also be liable if your teen is still on their learner’s license, as you gave your consent to have this responsibility until they’re 18. The owner of the vehicle (if it is not the teen) may also be liable.