What to do if Your Child Gets in a Car Accident

Finding out that your child has been in a car accident is terrifying. The news can send your mind reeling as you race to figure out what happened. Of course, the first thing that you want to know is if everyone is alright. If your child has been hurt, you’re not going to be able to focus on anything else.

Once things begin to settle down, you can turn your attention to other matters. It’s possible that you’ve become tangled up in a legal situation. You might have to sue the other driver. Or, if the accident was your child’s fault, you may be facing litigation yourself.

Your behavior post-accident is critical. There are a lot of things to take care of. You need to comfort your child, speak with your insurance company, and you might need to call a lawyer.

If your child is facing criminal charges, you should look into finding Emporia VA reckless driving attorneys.

“Don’t assume that you can argue out your case and end up with a lenient penalty, just because you have a clean driving record. The truth is, you may receive a friendly fine and not end up in jail,” writes Virginia law firm Weiland Upton.

“However, a conviction also carries a permanent criminal record. Such a record will remain with you forever, thus denying you plenty of opportunities.”

Are You Liable?

Your liability depends on your jurisdiction. Parental liability means that you’re responsible for your minor child’s infractions.

Most states do not hold parents accountable for their children’s negligence behind the wheel unless criminal charges are involved. You can also get into trouble if you knowingly allow your child behind the wheel when they’re impaired.

What About Your Insurance?

Your teen’s insurance rate will surge after the accident. In some cases, it doesn’t even matter if your teen was at fault. Simply being involved in an accident is enough to affect a teen’s insurance rate.

Depending on your insurer and if your child is listed on your policy, your own rates may increase as well. If you want to keep your costs under control, you may have to remove your teen as a listed driver on your car.

Your insurer may also decide to cancel your teen’s insurance if they get into an accident. The companies are regulated by state laws. In some markets, insurers are free to deny coverage to anyone they deem unsuitable.

If your teen’s policy is canceled, you still have options. You can enter a high-risk insurance pool that will provide coverage at an increased cost.

What Should You Say to Your Teen?

Speaking to your teen after the accident might be tough. You might feel angry or scared or both. The important thing to do is to remain calm. Yelling will make everything worse. Your teen may have messed up, and perhaps they need to be punished, but they still need to feel as though they can trust you.

If you scream at them about the accident, they may stop approaching you with problems. No one likes being yelled at.

Don’t mistake being calm for being too lenient. There should be consequences for the accident. You can ask your teen to pay their own ticket or car repairs or you can increase their workload of household chores.

You may be tempted to prevent your child from driving for a while. However, if they still have their license, it might be a good idea to let them get back behind the wheel pretty soon after the accident. You don’t want them to develop a driving phobia.

To make it less nerve-wracking, drive with them. For a few weeks after the collision, your teen should only drive with a parent in the car. This will help both of you feel more comfortable.

When your child gets into a car accident, it can be an incredibly stressful experience. That’s especially true if you have to involve a lawyer. However, by remaining calm you can make the process feel smoother.

Being a parent is tough. It would be easier if your kids never made mistakes but obviously, that’s impossible. The reason that car insurance for teens is so expensive is that insurers expect them to get into accidents. Automobile crashes are the leading cause of death among people aged 15-24.

So, what should you do when you get the dreaded phone call? Stay calm and remember that your child is only human.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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