It is no secret that teenagers tend to engage in riskier behavior than older individuals, even those in their early 20s. Driving is one particularly risky activity even for the safest drivers, but for teenagers, car accidents are the leading cause of death for drivers aged 15 to 19. Much of this is due to their own negligent conduct.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), around 2,000 teens are killed in motor vehicle-related accidents each year with some 200,000 suffering from various injuries incurred in these accidents. In Massachusetts, an average of 50 teens are killed in car accidents annually.
Teens and older motorists need to be more cautious in the coming summer months when school is out, and families are driving to vacation spots throughout our state. With increased traffic volume comes more opportunities for accidents.
Factors in Teen Car Accidents
Safety and highway traffic experts point to several factors in teen driving collisions:
- Speed—this may be the overall major cause of traffic mishaps and fatalities among teens. The faster you drive, the less time you have to perceive a hazard in the roadway and to react to it. Teens need to resist the urge to speed and to understand that they are not invulnerable to serious or fatal injuries.
- Distracted driving—another major cause is distracted driving, which mainly focuses on the use of cellphones while driving. Drivers who are 16 to 17 are forbidden from any use of a cellphone while driving, while all older drivers are required to use a hands-free device.
- Inexperience—the less experience you have, the more likely you will be ill prepared to react safely to a hazard. Inexperienced drivers may not slow in time when traffic in front of them suddenly slows, or use more caution in work zones or residential areas
- Impairments—use of alcohol and drugs is high among teens and driving a car is no impediment to such behavior. Many teens even with slight amounts of alcohol in their system are unable to drive safely.
- Driving with passengers—statistics show that teen drivers having even one teen passenger increases the risk of death for 16–17-year-olds by 44%. The risk doubles when 2 passengers under the age of 21 are in the vehicle and quadruples with 3 or more young passengers. The risk decreases substantially when a passenger is at least 35-years of age.
- Unrestrained drivers and passengers—teenagers are notorious for not using a seat belt that greatly increases the chances of being killed or suffering a serious injury.
Liability in Car Accident Injury Claims
The car accident lawyers at Burns and Jain represent teen victims of traffic collisions as well as those injured by negligent teen and older drivers. Inexperience and recklessness are no excuses for causing an accident.
All motorists have a duty to exercise reasonable care when driving, which includes obeying all traffic laws, making sure your vehicle is safe to drive, and driving appropriately under weather, traffic or other road conditions.
If a teenage driver caused your accident, your car accident lawyer can discover how much experience the driver had, if they were using a cellphone regardless of whether it was hands-free, and if alcohol or drugs were involved based on the traffic officer’s report.
Road defects, issues with a vehicle’s braking or steering systems, the failure of the airbag to deploy, or seat belt failure are other possible causes of an accident or injuries that an experienced car accident lawyer will always consider in any car accident injury claim.
Damages in Car Collision Injury Claims
Every personal injury case is unique since we are all unique individuals. What you can expect in compensation in an injury accident claim depends on many factors. The categories of damages in most car accident injury claims are:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future income loss
- Loss of earning capacity
- Diminished quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Spousal claim for loss of consortium
In a fatal or wrongful death claim, the executor for the decedent’s estate can bring a claim on behalf of the immediate family members. Damages can include:
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Medical expenses, if any, incurred before decedent succumbed
- Pain and suffering if the decedent visibly suffered
- Lost earnings over the decedent’s working life
- Loss of the decedent’s love, guidance, and counsel
- Punitive damages if the defendant’s conduct was grossly negligent
Retain the Law Office of Burns and Jain
A highly experienced car accident lawyer from Burns and Jain will handle all aspects of your claim from inception to settlement, including taking it to trial if necessary. Call us at (617) 227-7423 for a free consultation about your car accident or other personal injury claim.