In 10 percent of fatal crashes involving a teen driver in 2016, the teen driver was distracted at the time of the crash. In 2016, there were 2,288 motor vehicle traffic fatalities in crashes that involved passenger vehicle teen drivers aged 15 to 18 years old.
About 35 percent of young drivers are driving recklessly and/or speeding at the time of the collision. It is estimated that on average, for every driver age 15 to 17 killed in a crash, there are nearly two other people who are killed in the accident Car accidents remain the number one cause of death of people 16 to 20 years old.
If you are involved in a crash with a teen driver, or your son or daughter has been involved in a collision, you may benefit from the services of a personal injury attorney. Contact Davis Law Group today at (206) 727-4000, use the chat feature below or fill out the form on this page to get started.
Causes of Teen Driver Automobile Crashes
- Inexperience. Teens are more likely to underestimate the amount of time required to safety stop or make a turn. Additionally, teens are less likely to recognize dangerous driving conditions. The first 500 miles for a teenager are the most critical. During this time, they are 10 times more likely to be in auto crashes than adult drivers.
- Immaturity. Teen drivers tend to be very impatient and juvenile. They may constantly switch driving lanes, race other drivers, and speed up to 100 mph trying to beat a red light.
- Distraction. About 32 percent of high school students nationwide have texted or emailed while driving. Fifty-six percent of teens admit to talking on cell phones while driving. Talking on a cell phone can double the likelihood of an accident and can slow a young driver's reaction time to that of a 70-year-old.
- Speeding. Nearly one-third of all fatal teen car crashes involve speeding. Whatever the reason, speeding is a dangerous habit among teenage drivers and significantly increases their risk of being in an accident.
- Friends. Having other teen passengers in the car has been shown to increase the likelihood of high risk driving behaviors among teenage drivers.
- Impaired. About 25 percent of fatal teen car accidents involve underage drinking and driving.
Common Types of Injuries
Motor vehicle collisions involving a teen driver are a leading cause of bodily injury in Washington state and throughout the United States. And although no two car accident cases are alike, some types of injuries are more common in auto accident cases than others.
Some of the more common types of injuries our clients often suffer in motor vehicle accidents include:
- Lower Back Injuries: Lower back injuries can range from general sprains and strains to torn ligaments or broken vertebrae. Getting a clear diagnosis of your injuries after a collision is crucial to building a strong case.
- Torn Ligaments: Ligament injuries can take a long time to materialize or become apparent. Certain types of imaging may not detect torn ligaments, so a thorough review of medical records and treatment recommendations is important.
- Traumatic Brain Injury: Head and brain injuries are common in motor vehicle collisions because occupants' heads can jolt and impact other stationary objects inside of the vehicle, such as a steering wheel, dashboard, or window.
- Spinal Cord Injury: The violent motion of a vehicular accident can cause injuries to the spine or spinal cord. These injuries are very serious and can potentially lead to life-changing conditions such as paralysis or loss of function.
- Herniated & Bulging Discs: Discs provide critical support to the spine, but herniated or bulging discs are extremely painful and can make it difficult to walk or perform basic tasks.
- Pregnancy Complications: Pregnant mothers are extremely vulnerable in the event of a crash, and a serious collision can cause harm to a developing baby.
- Fractures & Broken Bones: Broken bones are often painful and may require expensive medical treatment, including surgery, in order to make a full recovery.
- Lacerations: Large cuts can result in significant blood loss, infection, permanent scarring, and other complications that can complicate the auto accident claims process.
- Burn Injuries: High-impact crashes may lead to a vehicle catching fire, and burn injuries can take a great deal of time to recover from - both physically and emotionally.
- Amputations: In extreme cases, accident victims may suffer injuries to an extremity that require amputation. Victims in these cases typically experience severe psychological and emotional trauma.
- Death: Automobile accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the United States, and family members who suffer the loss of a loved one may pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party.
Types Of Accidents in Washington State
A motor vehicle accident can happen in a number of different ways, and no two accidents are identical. Some of the more common types of car accidents we see at Davis Law Group include:
- Head-On Crashes: When two vehicles collide head-on, the violent impact can cause very serious injuries or death. These collisions often involve a drowsy or distracted driver, or someone who is driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Hit-And-Run Collisions: Tracking down the responsible driver after a hit-and-run collision can be difficult. The right team of investigators and attorneys on your side can make all the difference.
- Rollover Accidents: Rollover accidents typically occur in situations where a vehicle is trying to avoid a collision, such as with another vehicle or an object or animal in the roadway. Defective vehicles and negligent roadway design can also play a role in these types of crashes.
- Rear-End Collisions: While liability for a rear-end crash typically rests on the following vehicle, it's still important to conduct a thorough investigation into the collision and determine other possible contributing factors.
- T-Bone (Side-Impact) Collisions: T-bone accidents are perhaps most common at intersections where one driver has run a stop sign or red light. These collisions typically occur at high-speeds and leave innocent victims with serious, life-changing injuries.
- Pedestrian Accidents: Pedestrians are vulnerable to serious injury in a collision because, unlike motorists, they are not protected by a vehicle. Liability can be difficult to prove in pedestrian accident cases, and in many cases witness testimony is crucial.
- Parking Lot Accidents: Parking lots are private property, which can cause a number of legal issues in the event of an accident. Accidents can be serious even at low speeds, and often involve pedestrians or bicyclists.
- Bicycle Accidents: Bicyclists share the road with motorists, but the size difference and visibility issues create a significant risk of serious injury or death. Bicyclists often do not have their own insurance, which means a thorough investigation is necessary.
- Freeway On-Ramp Or Off-Ramps: Improperly or illegally-parked vehicles can cause a serious collision on the on-ramp or off-ramp of a freeway or highway. Injuries are often serious because of the high speed nature of accidents that occur on a freeway or highway.
- Illegal Turns: Illegal left-hand turns and U-turns at traffic signals or in uncontrolled intersections can lead to a serious accident, and liability may be disputed.
- Side-Swipes: At low speeds, a side-swipe accident is likely to be minor and result in very little, if any, injury. At high speeds, however, the sudden impact and drivers' reactions can cause a major collision with extensive damage and potentially serious injuries.
Legal Rights in Teen Driver Accidents
Because of the unique liability and insurance (typically a parent is the insurance policy holder) issues related to car accidents caused by teenagers, victims of the following types of incidents would be well advised to discuss their legal options with an attorney to make sure that they are fairly compensated for injuries, harms and losses.
- Adults injured in a car accident caused by teenaged driver
- Family members of those killed in fatal accidents (vehicle, pedestrian, motorcycle) caused by a teen
- Teen injured while they are passengers in a vehicle driven by another teen driver
- Parents of a teen that was killed in an accident caused by a teenaged driver
- Pedestrians that were struck and injured by a teen
- Motorcyclists that were injured in a collision involving a teenager
Washington State Teen Driver Statistics
- Drivers ages 16 and 17 are nearly 9 times more likely to have an accident than middle-aged drivers
- 61 percent of teenagers admit to risky driving habits
- Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among teens
2016 Teen Driver Accident Statistics
- Fatal Crashes: 48
- Suspected Serious Injury Accidents: 226
- Possible/Suspected Injury Collisions: 5,356
- No Apparent Injury Incidents: 12,407
- Total Teen MV Driver Involved Crashes: 18,037
2016 Distracted Teen Driver Accident Statistics
- Fatal Crashes: 9
- Suspected Serious Injury Accidents: 28
- Possible/Suspected Injury Collisions: 493
- No Apparent Injury Incidents: 936
- Total Distracted Teen Driver Involved Crashes: 1,466
What if the Teen was Not At-Fault?
Insurance companies will often automatically place some percentage of blame on the teen, even if the teen was not at fault (because teens so often are at fault). Teens who were injured in a crash should contact an attorney to protect their legal rights and to make sure they are compensated for their injuries.
Parent Responsibility for Teen Driver Accidents
If you're a parent, you know the worry that comes with having a teen driver. If you're a teenager, you've probably heard lectures about the privilege and responsibility of operating a motor vehicle. If you the victim of an accident caused by a teen driver then you know the frustration that comes with knowing that the collision was caused by an inexperienced driver.
Parents (and parents' insurance) can be held responsible for compensating people injured by their child. The circumstances of the child's acts determine the existence and degree of parental liability. Each case is a unique situation involving various types of negligent or willful acts of children. In civil matters, the most common negligent acts of minors are in car accidents.
Some people are reluctant to file an insurance claim, hire an attorney, or engage in a legal action out of concern for the parents of the teen driver. Auto insurance compensation (settlements, awards, etc.) options are available without necessarily financially damaging the parents of the teen’s parents.
To learn more about parental liability for accidents caused by teen drivers get our free report: Teen Drivers & The Law: What Parents Need To Know About Legal & Financial Liability.
Contact an Attorney ASAP
Excuses made by teen drivers do not negate liability for auto accidents. The reality is that many teens who are behind the wheel are simply not be ready for the responsibility of driving.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident involving a teen driver, or your teenage son or daughter was in an accident, contact our Washington state car accident attorneys at Davis Law Group as soon as possible. For a free case evaluation, call (206) 727-4000.