Durham Teen Driving Accident Attorneys
Because they lack driving experience and maturity, teen drivers present a unique accident hazard on our nation’s roads. Many are responsible drivers. Yet, at the same time, teens and cars can be a deadly combination.
The National Safety Council says half of all teens will be involved in a car crash before graduating from high school. While many will be fender-benders, car crashes are the No. 1 killer of teenagers in the United States and have an impact on people of all ages.
In 2016, 4,853 people died in a car accident that involved at least one young driver, the NSC says. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says 2,433 teens age 16-19 were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2016, and 292,742 were treated in emergency rooms for injuries suffered in car accidents.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) says in its “2017 Crash Facts” that teen drivers (age 15 to 19) were involved in 52,385 car crashes during the year, causing 88 teenage deaths in our state and leaving 12,869 teens injured.
Accidents are understandable. But too many car crashes that cause death and injury are the result of careless and reckless driving. If you’ve been in a car accident caused by a teen driver who was driving in a negligent or reckless manner, call the experienced North Carolina teen driving accident lawyers at Hardison & Cochran toll-free at (800) 434-8399 now, or fill out our online contact form. We may be able to help you obtain compensation for your losses. We’ll respond to you within 24 hours, and your initial consultation with us is always free.
Common Car Accidents Caused by Teenage Drivers
Most teen drivers are still learning the road skills a driver must possess to avoid accidents. Teens struggle to judge gaps in traffic, drive the right speed for conditions and to turn safely, among other things.
Constant vigilance and quick thinking behind the wheel are habits that develop with experience. It can take years to acquire the discipline necessary to make a sudden lane change or reduce speed quickly enough to avoid an unexpected hazard and not create a new one by skidding, swerving or spinning out of control.
In addition to the lack of experience among novice drivers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), NSC, CDC, and other safety groups say various behaviors young people are more likely than adults to engage in contributing to teen-related crashes.
The problem of inexperience and immaturity among teen drivers is aggravated by:
- Drinking and driving
- Drugged driving
- Drowsy driving
- Nighttime driving
- Distracted driving (see more below).
Teens are also more likely than adults to not wear seat belts. While this does not create a driving hazard, it increases the likelihood of injury. NHTSA says the majority of teenagers involved in fatal crashes were unbuckled.
Teenage Drivers and Distracted Drivers
When the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety studied video of teen driver crashes made with in-car cameras, researchers found that distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes, which is four times as many as official estimates based on police reports.
Distraction was a factor in 58 percent of all crashes studied, including 89 percent of road-departure crashes and 76 percent of rear-end crashes. NHTSA had previously estimated that distraction was a factor in only 14 percent of all teen driver crashes.
The most common forms of distraction leading up to a crash by a teen driver included:
- Interacting with one or more passengers: 15 percent of crashes.
- Cell phone use: 12 percent of crashes.
- Looking at something in the vehicle: 10 percent of crashes.
- Looking at something outside the vehicle: 9 percent of crashes.
- Singing/moving to music: 8 percent of crashes.
- Grooming: 6 percent of crashes.
- Reaching for an object: 6 percent of crashes.
It is very important that parents or guardians look after their teenage relatives to prevent them from driving while distracted.
How We Investigate a Teenage Accident
Hardison & Cochran conducts thorough investigations to determine the facts and liability in car accident cases. We analyze whether distracted driving, speeding, drunk driving or drowsy driving contributed to the crash and collect evidence to build your case. We work with experienced investigators and accident reconstruction experts as needed to determine precisely how the crash occurred and who should be held responsible.
Many late model vehicles contain event data recorders, EDRs, which record what was going on with the vehicle just before a crash. These “black box” devices record such information as speed, steering, braking, acceleration, seatbelt use, force of impact and whether airbags deployed.
Other information that could prove valuable to our investigation would include:
- Police report from the accident
- Witness statements, including from you, passengers in either car and bystanders
- Accident scene evidence (skid marks, broken glass, damage to roadside property, etc.)
- Vehicle damage
- Content from the teen driver’s cellphone or social media accounts
- Security video from near the accident site (if available).
If necessary, we would seek a court order to obtain access to the teen driver’s vehicle and EDR, and to their cellphone and social media accounts, as well as to any privately owned video of the accident.
We also investigate whether a bar or restaurant or party host served alcohol to an underage driver charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), and whether such a third party should be held liable for damage that teenage driver has done.
Compensation For Your Losses in a Teen Driver Car Accident
The amount of money you may recover in a claim following a teen driving accident will depend on the facts of the case and the insurance coverage available to provide compensation. North Carolina civil law allows you to seek compensation from individuals or entities (e.g., businesses) responsible for your injuries for various types of “damages” you have suffered, including:
- Medical Expenses — Compensation for the cost of ambulance, doctor and hospital bills, medication, rehabilitation, and other related medical expenses.
- Future Medical Expenses — In some cases, injuries require years of ongoing medical treatment or delayed medical procedures. A claim may seek compensation for future medical expenses, including for ongoing care and/or assistance required by disabling injuries.
- Lost Wages — If you miss work during your recovery or because you have been disabled, you may seek reimbursement for your lost income. This includes salary and the value of benefits lost since the accident and may be projected to include future losses if you are unable to return to work.
- Property Damage — You can seek money to pay for repairs to your vehicle or other property damaged in the crash, or to replace a vehicle that has been totaled.
- Pain and Suffering — “Non-economic damages” may be available for the physical pain and emotional suffering you endured as a result of the accident.
- Punitive Damages — In cases of willful acts or malicious conduct, the injured may seek additional compensation to punish the wrongdoer.
Most car accident cases never go to court and instead are resolved with a negotiated settlement. Our car accident attorneys have extensive experience negotiating fair and proper settlements on behalf of accident victims. We also prepare cases to go trial and to win in North Carolina courts when insurance companies won’t agree to appropriate settlements. Our objective is to obtain the maximum amount of compensation available to you.
What Can Parents Do To Help Their Teenage Driver?
If you have a teenager, you may find it hard to believe, but teens’ parents are the role models they look to most for guidance. TeenDriving.com, a website by a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate and his mother that is devoted to young drivers, offers tips for parents teaching a teen to drive, which include:
- Provide a safe car for teens to drive. Make sure it is easy to maneuver and has good tires and brakes and airbags.
- Start off with small trips – fewer than 5 miles – to build up the new driver’s confidence.
- Provide a lot of in-car supervision from the passenger seat – with your temper in check. Provide gentle, constructive critiques of their driving.
- Set a good example when you drive.
- Set realistic goals, expectations, and consequences for your teen driver. If you make rules, stick to them.
- Make sure your teen knows exactly what to do in the event of a car accident.
Contact Our North Carolina Teen Driving Accident Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a teenage driver, you may be able to seek compensation for your expenses and losses. Car accidents involving minors can be devastating to all concerned. Some families lose a teenage child who was a passenger in a car driven by another teen. Others may lose a parent or sibling in a crash caused by a young driver. And, we understand the plight of a teenage driver who has caused a devastating accident.
Families are often uncertain after a car wreck caused by a teen driver about how to determine what went wrong and what their legal options may be. We can help you in a free and confidential initial consultation about your case.
Contact the experienced North Carolina teen driving accident lawyers at Hardison & Cochran toll-free at (800) 434-8399 or fill out our online contact form. We represent victims of teen driving accidents in Raleigh, Cary, Wake County, Research Triangle Park, Durham and elsewhere in the Triangle, as well as in Fayetteville, Dunn, Southern Pines, Wilmington, Person County, Greensboro, and the Triad, and throughout the state of North Carolina.