The Rhode Island Department of Health says that drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 have the highest rate of motor vehicle-related injuries and deaths, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 have 70 percent more collision claims than any other age group.
These numbers make it clear: Teens can be dangerous drivers. Unfortunately, when a teen gets behind the wheel and does something wrong, he endangers not only himself but his passengers and every other driver on the road as well.
If you or a loved one was harmed by a teen driver in a Rhode Island car accident, a lawyer from Gemma Law Associates can help you. We have extensive experience representing clients in all types of accident cases, including those involving young drivers. We can help you to get the compensation you deserve after your crash.
Teen Drivers Present a Serious Accident Risk
Unfortunately, the odds of being struck by a teen driver are increasing. The Governors’ Highway Safety Association (GHSA) indicated that the number of traffic crash deaths among 16- and 17-year-old drivers increased by 19 percent nationwide in the first six months of 2012 as compared with the first half of 2011. The number of teen traffic fatalities in Rhode Island increased slightly over the same period.
If you were in a traffic crash caused by a teen driver, it could have been for any number of reasons, including:
- Failing to identify dangers – The failure to recognize hazards accounts for 43 percent of teen driver car wrecks, State Farm Insurance says.
- Texting and driving – In a Consumer Reports National Research Center survey, almost 30 percent of teen respondents said they had texted and driven in the past 30 days while driving. Eight percent had used an App on a smartphone. Seven percent had e-mailed or used some type of social media.
- Using a cell phone – The same Consumer Reports survey revealed that almost half of 16 – to 21-year-olds had talked on a cell phone while driving in the prior 30 days. A Pew poll reported on Distraction.gov revealed that 40 percent of teenagers said they’d been in a car with a driver who did something dangerous with a cell phone.
- Driving while fatigued – The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found in a study that one in seven drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 had dozed off when driving over the prior year. The CDC’s large-scale drowsy driving study of more than 147,000 drivers put the number of drowsy-driving teens who’d fallen asleep behind the wheel in the past month at 4.9 percent.
- Drinking and driving – Mothers Against Drunk Driving says that 5.8 percent of 16- and 17-year-olds and 15.1 percent of 18- to 20-year-olds report that they have driven drunk at least once in the prior year.
- Other driver distractions – Teen drivers may also be distracted by having passengers in the car, by a GPS or music system, or by grooming or eating while driving. Distraction.gov says that 11 percent of drivers under age 20 who were in fatal crashes were distracted at the time.
Teen drivers may also be more likely to get into accidents when they are speeding, when they have lots of passengers in the car, or when they are driving at night.
Taking Legal Action for your Rhode Island Teen Driving Car Accident
When a teen driver is involved in an auto accident, other drivers may be hurt. Passengers in the car may also be injured as well. After all, the more teens there are in the car, the more likely it is for a crash to occur.
When a passenger or other driver suffers any type of injury due to a teen wreck, a lawsuit can be filed in order to obtain compensation for the resulting injuries. This is true even if the injured victim was a passenger in the vehicle.
If you are injured by a teen driver, you may be reluctant to take legal action. You may think it would be futile because teenagers do not have assets. However, teens are required to have insurance just like adults. So, when you file a car accident lawsuit against anyone (adult or teen), it is the insurance company that pays the legal bills and the damages. In other words, when you make a claim against a teen driver who is a stranger or who is a friend, you don’t have to worry about harming the teen financially or about the teen not having money to pay your claim.
If You Have Been Injured by a Teen Driver, Contact a Rhode Island Car Accident Lawyer
Insurance exists to make sure accident victims aren’t left with huge medical costs and bills after a crash. When you file a claim against a teen driver who hurt you, you can obtain compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. If the car accident was a fatal one, then the family members of the victims can also file a claim against the teen driver for wrongful death damages.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a teen car accident, you can resolve your case by settling out of court or by filing a personal injury lawsuit. In either case, a Rhode Island car accident attorney at Gemma Law Associates can help.
We have a long history of making successful claims against teen drivers. To learn how we can help you, give us a call today or use our online contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.