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Texas Personal Injury News

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Pursue Reckless Teen Drivers for Damages

In the halls of high schools all over Texas, posters are going up advertising the schools' annual homecoming football games and dances. There is high drama over who is taking whom to the big dance, who will be crowned homecoming king and queen, and where all the best after-parties will be held. The yearly ritual is perhaps second in importance only to prom for the millions of high school teens who will be taking part in the fall festivities.

The dangers of the exuberance of youth

All this frantic activity means that there will be many high-spirited — but very inexperienced — young drivers out on the highways late at night. Inevitably, some of them will be imbibing illegally-obtained alcoholic drinks, but even for those who remain sober, their excitement and effervescence can bubble over into dangerous driving situations. This risks not only their own safety, but that of everyone else who shares the roads with them on their big night.

Below are some sobering statistics.

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car wrecks are the number one cause of death for American teenagers.
  • Approximately 2,650 teens between the ages of 16 and 19 died in 2011 as a result of car accidents.
  • Nearly 292,000 more received treatment in emergency rooms all across the United States for injuries caused by car collisions.
  • Statistics from 2013 indicate that for each mile driven on America's roads, teenagers from 16-19 average three times the risk of fatal wrecks than those in their 20's and older.
  • While those in the age range of 15 to 24 make up only 14 percent of the total population, they are responsible for 30 percent, or $19 billion, of all costs for injuries from accidents involving male drivers.
  • Female drivers in that group contribute to 28 percent, or $7 billion, of all costs of injuries from collisions.

Risk higher with ADHD diagnosis

For the  6 million students diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, the teen years present even more driving challenges. Studies have shown that those teens have four times the risk of involvement in a motor vehicle accident than their peers without ADHD. Some of this can be attributed to excessive speed behind the wheel, as well as failing to yield to other vehicles who have the right-of-way. The inability to focus can cause teens with ADHD to drive fast to remain on schedule and ignore posted speed limits. The impulsiveness that is a hallmark of the disorder only complicates the situation, heightening the risk of reckless driving.

It appears that even suffering the consequences of a car wreck had little effect on ADHD-diagnosed kids, as when compared with their peers without ADHD, teen drivers with the condition had seven times the risk of being involved in subsequent accidents.

How to keep kids (and others sharing the roads) safer?

Statistics are just a jumble of numbers until you, or one of your loved ones, become that statistic. But there are things that parents and teenagers can do to lower their risk of harm. Homecoming dances are a treasured rite of teen passage, and there is no reason to avoid participating in the festivities when there are some safety checks and balances in place.

  • Gather a group to rent a limousine or party van. This eliminates the need for teens driving, as the driver picks up and delivers each teen to and from their home.
  • Parents can make sure that their teens comply with alcohol prohibitions by making them and their date sign agreements not to imbibe. Failing to honor the agreements should bring about stiff consequences.
  • Host alcohol-free after-parties that are discreetly chaperoned by parents. Send each kid off at sun-up with a belly full of a home-cooked breakfast.
  • When money is tight, get an older sibling to act as chauffeur for the night. No siblings? Hire a reliable college student for the job. Pay extra if they agree to be a good sport and don a suit and chauffeur's cap for the evening.

A personal injury attorney can hold at-fault drivers accountable

Despite all the best intentions, accidents can and do happen every day. It doesn't require a celebratory homecoming dance for a teen driver or anyone behind the wheel to derail a life, sometimes permanently. If you are involved in an accident where the other driver is at fault, you have legal options you can pursue.

  • An attorney can assist you with filing a claim for damages. While initially you may feel that you can handle filing a simple claim yourself, non-attorneys are at a big disadvantage trying to quantify values of injuries suffered, as well as factoring future medical needs.
  • Attorneys develop working relationships with doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors and others who can assist you in your rehabilitation process. If you have limited medical insurance coverage, most of these health care providers will agree to accept their payment later from a future settlement.
  • Texas personal injury attorneys understand the importance of meeting all deadlines in order to pursue legal action in the event that the insurance company balks at a decent settlement for your injuries.
  • Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means that you will not owe them legal fees if you do not prevail in court. This is helpful to the client and provides attorneys with plenty of incentive to work their hardest for all of their clients.
  • When you turn your accident and subsequent claims for injuries and property damages over to a personal injury attorney, this allows you to focus all of your attention on healing.

It's important to understand that you are not alone in your battle with big insurance companies. Their representatives may initially appear to be helpful, but that is only because they are trying to get you to accept a paltry offer to settle your claim. Once you refuse an inadequate offer, their facade of helpfulness is shed and you will instead face only steely resolve to low-ball or deny your claim outright.

We at Chandler, Mathis & Zivley are always willing to go the extra mile to fight for the compensation our clients deserve. Call us today and set up a confidential appointment to discuss your personal injury case with one of our skilled attorneys.

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Sources:

http://www.cdc.gov/MotorVehicleSafety/Teen_Drivers/teendrivers_factsheet.html

 


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