Teenagers and Car Accidents

Teenagers are the social group most at risk when it comes to car accidents in Florida. Although most of us have occasionally sent a text message or used a cell phone while driving, teenagers are known for being literally “glued” to their phones and thus, more likely to use those devices while driving.

Teens are also more likely than older drivers to get involved in accidents caused by other poor driving decisions, like speeding and drunk driving. Additionally, their inexperience makes them the group less likely to wear a seat belt and more likely to exceed the allowable number of occupants in the car, something that leaves a number of passengers without a seatbelt to wear.

Miami car accident lawyer Stewart G. Greenberg and the lawyers at the Law Offices of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. understand that having to deal with the serious injury or death of a teen in a motor vehicle accident is one of the most painful situations a family could go through. Often friends of the teenager and/or the children of close friends are involved in these accidents.

Teenage Car Accidents Statistics

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) more than 2,000 teenagers are killed in car accidents every year, while about 200,000 suffer injuries of varying degrees. More than 5,000 teenagers each year are involved in accidents were a life is lost.

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for all teens and of course, given their inexperience, that risk is higher during the teen's first year of driving. National statistics show that car accidents are the number one cause of death among teenagers in the United States. Teen drivers are four times as likely to die and fourteen times as likely to get hurt in car accidents than people in any other age group.

Despite Florida’s licensing program, which tries to incorporate new teenage drivers by stages into the driving world by giving teens a learner’s permit for a year prior to allowing them to obtain their full license, parents continue to be the greatest influence on how their teens drive and what good driving habits they form. Therefore, it is important for parents (as opposed to other younger relatives or peers) to actively participate during the year of training that the learning permit lasts. Moreover, parents should continue to ride every now and then with their newly licensed teens to check whether those good driving habits remain.

One rule that I followed with my own teenagers was to only allow them to drive with a sibling for the first six (6) months and thereafter with only one friend in the car at a time for the next six (6) months. I implemented this policy because of all the horrible crashes I saw involving my friend’s children and the children of clients. I decided that distractions lead to poor decision and then accidents.

If a teenager in your family has been involved in a South Florida car accident, please contact the Miami car accident lawyers of the Law Offices of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. immediately to set an appointment for a free consultation.

South Florida Car Accidents Involving Teens

According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) the risks for driving teenagers derive from their lack of driving experience, which makes them less likely to:

  • Respond adequately to other vehicles on the road or to weather conditions;
  • Underestimate the weather conditions and overestimate their own driving skills;
  • Speed over the posted limits or drive too fast for the road or weather conditions at the time;
  • Leave an insufficient stopping distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them;
  • Consume alcohol or use drugs before driving, despite zero tolerance laws;
  • Text, talk on their cell phones or otherwise pay attention to electronic devices (like the radio) instead of the road;
  • Pay more attention to their friends or passengers in the vehicle than to other cars or driving hazards.

Finally, despite it being the law in Florida, teens are more likely to not wear their seatbelts, something that statistic continue to show as a cause for injuries being a lot worse that they would have otherwise.

Unfortunately, teen drivers are also more likely to skip wearing seatbelts, which can make accident injuries much worse than they otherwise might have been.

Teenagers’ and Parents’ Liability

Teenagers are subject to civil liability despite the fact that most of them lack the personal assets to pay for damages. Lawyers representing their victims will seek recovery from any liability policy the vehicle may have. If there is a liability policy that includes other vehicles and that coverage is stacked (meaning that the coverage limits of each vehicle are added to a grand total) the victims may proceed against all such coverage. Also, it is not uncommon for teenagers to operate vehicles owned by their parents or some other relatives that do have assets against which a victim may enforce a judgment. So you should talk to a lawyer about your liability exposure before a crash occurs. These factors can also best be addressed with your insurance agent.

However, you must remember that in most cases your insurance company is only liable to the extent of your policy limits and that if the damages exceed those limits, the victims may very well proceed against any assets the vehicle owner or driver may have.

Compensation For Your Teen’s Injuries Or Death

All serious motor vehicle accidents are tragic. Yet, those involving teenagers are more traumatic (especially when death or serious injury occur) because of the loss of capacity to enjoy life, the pain and suffering and future costs of medical care caused by a loss at such a young age. No amount of money will fill the void left by the loss of a teenager or their severe injury. Yet, compensation may bring a degree of help, especially when the teenager has suffered injuries that require prolonged medical care.

Because of the uniqueness of each case, you should hire a law firm that has the experience, the resources and the ability to thoroughly pursue your claim. At the Law Offices of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. we have handled thousands of car accident cases and know how to investigate and pursue a personal injury or wrongful death case against the driver that caused or contributed the accident in which a teen lost his life or was injured. Additionally, please note that we have the experience and resources necessary to pursue legal action against the driver/owner of the vehicle, his or her insurance policy, as well as the insurance policies in place for other vehicles in the household.

To learn more about your rights to seek compensation under Florida law, please contact the lawyers of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. immediately to set an appointment for a free consultation.