Car accidents are almost a fact of life. As much as parents try to teach their teens how to drive as safely as possible, some things in life are unavoidable. Here’s how parents can help their teenagers through their first accidents.
Keep the Teen Involved
As parents are the more experienced drivers, they may be tempted to do everything themselves. However, teenagers need to learn this information themselves so they know how to respond if they ever get into another accident later on in life. Parents should do their best to have their teenager involved every step of the way so they know the ins and outs of working with the insurance company, speaking with police, talking with the lawyer, and handling repairs (if any).
Gather Facts and Evidence
With 16 – 17-year-olds nine times as likely to be in an accident as adults, most parents should be prepared to handle the news that their teen driver was involved in a car accident. As soon as a parent learns of their teenager’s accident, they need to instruct them to take pictures of the damage and surrounding areas, file a police statement, and have their medical files and insurance information ready. If parents are able to meet their teens at the site of the crash, this will help everything go a lot easier and take pressure off of the teenager.
Contact Insurance and Lawyers
Once the police report has been filed, it is time to speak with the insurance. While certain states are at-fault and others are not, parents need to show their teenagers how to speak with the insurance about the accident. In the case of an at-fault policy, parents need to prove that their teen did not cause the accident. While it’s important that the teen learns about working with the insurance company, the parent will want to do most of the talking in this case to prevent their teenager from accidentally admitting fault when they shouldn’t. In addition to speaking with the insurance, it is helpful to contact a lawyer. Regardless of whether or not someone was injured, an automobile accident attorney will help make sure the entire process after the accident goes as smoothly as possible and that the fault isn’t unnecessarily placed on the teen driver.
Handle the Aftermath
Many people forget how jarring a car accident can be. As teens are new to driving, they will likely be particularly disturbed by the accident. Seeing how quickly an accident can occur may make a teenager afraid to go out on the road again. Many will experience symptoms of PTSD if the accident is more than a fender bender. Parents should make sure their teenager is able to work through these fears whether through therapy with a psychologist or just sitting down together to discuss their concerns. Talk to them about the symptoms of PTSD so that they can recognize them if they experience any. Some common ones include reliving sounds, smells, and pain from the event when going through the area or in a car. Even just hearing cars pass can work as a trigger early on, but many of these fade with time when the teenager knows why they feel the way they do.
Accidents can happen to anyone. As teenagers help to work through this challenging time with their teenagers, they should make sure that they’ve carefully processed all information, contact the appropriate professionals, and help keep their teenagers calm. While accidents can be traumatizing, these four strategies will help get these teens back on the road.