Teen drivers are still learning to drive safely and can make dangerous mistakes. According to California Highway Patrol data, drivers aged 16 to 19 are three times more likely to be involved in fatal accidents than drivers aged 25 to 69.
It’s important to know what steps to take if a teen driver is to blame for your car accident. Our San Francisco car accident lawyers will explain what you need to know about filing a claim.
Understanding California’s Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Laws
Many states, including California, have implemented Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws to help teens safely transition into becoming independent drivers.
Here’s how it works:
- Teens must apply for a learner’s permit when they turn 15½ years old.
- They must complete at least six hours of professional driver’s education and hold the permit for six months before getting a provisional license.
- After 12 months with a provisional license, they can take the road test to get their full license.
- During all three stages, certain restrictions are placed on teen drivers, such as nighttime driving restrictions and limits on how many passengers they can have in their car while driving.
By following the GDL requirements, teen drivers will be better equipped and regulated to navigate San Francisco’s roads safely. It also helps keep insurance costs down.
Gathering Evidence and Information
You should always get as much information as possible after an accident, whether the driver at fault is a teen or an adult. Insurance companies will try to deny or underpay claims by putting the blame on the victim.
Here’s what you’ll need to collect:
- Photographs of the scene, the vehicles involved, and visible injuries
- Contact information for all drivers involved
- Insurance information for all drivers involved
- Eyewitness accounts of the accident, if available
- Driver’s education records
- Driving history
- Police reports
- Medical bills incurred as a result of the accident
The more evidence and information you have on hand, the easier it will be to ensure that your car accident claim is accurate and complete—and that can go a long way toward helping ensure you’ll be compensated for your losses quickly and fairly!
Filing a Claim With the Insurance Company
The process can seem daunting when filing a claim with an insurance company. But it doesn’t have to be—with some knowledge about the process. You can make the journey smoother for yourself by following these steps.
Communicating With Your Adjuster
The first step is to contact your insurance adjuster. This is important because they will help guide you through every step of the process. For future reference, you should also keep a written log of all conversations with your adjuster—including calls, emails, and texts.
It’s also important to remember that being polite and firm with your adjuster is key. Even if things get heated or frustrating, try to remain calm and ensure that each conversation is productive.
You’ll also need to gather a few documents while filing your claim. This includes any police reports related to the accident, photos taken at the accident scene, medical bills, and any other evidence you feel could be useful in establishing fault or liability in the accident. Once you’ve completed this step, it’s time to submit the claim.
Lastly, you’ll need to submit your claim form along with any supporting documents and evidence you’ve collected for claim evaluation by an adjuster from the insurance company. The outcome of this evaluation will determine if and how much compensation you may receive from their policyholder for any damages incurred as a result of the accident.
Negotiating a Settlement
The negotiation process for a car accident involving a teen driver deserves your full attention. If you were the victim in the accident, you would be looking for compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Damages in any auto accident claim are calculated based on past medical expenses, future medical costs related to the accident, lost wages due to missed work and potential earnings losses, and pain and suffering.
The negotiation process may take longer when a teen is the vehicle driver involved in an accident. Insurance companies may review all the case facts more thoroughly before extending a settlement offer.
Gathering Documents & Documentation of Injuries
To determine an adequate settlement offer or counter-offer, you should collect relevant documents like hospital bills or repair estimates. You’ll also need documentation of your injuries—keep every record related to diagnosis and treatment. These records should include doctors’ visits and treatment plans—anything that may help back up your claim.
When negotiating with an insurance adjuster after an accident with a teen driver, ensure you have all documents ready for review and are fully informed about what damages are legally entitled to.
Filing a Lawsuit
If you and the other party involved can’t reach a settlement agreement, with your attorney’s help, you can file a lawsuit. This is a much more complicated process involving taking legal action to receive compensation for any losses or damages resulting from the accident.
The Lawsuit Process
The lawsuit process can be lengthy and involve a trial if the two parties cannot agree on terms. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Choose a personal injury attorney who’s knowledgeable about California laws related to car accidents and has experience with cases similar to yours.
- Gather any evidence related to your accident, including medical documents, police reports, photos of the accident scene, etc.
- File the complaint at the court in San Francisco County.
- Follow all procedural steps outlined in California law.
- Prepare for trial and attend court hearings as needed
- After all stages of trial are completed, the judge will issue an order with their findings.
- Collect compensation according to the court’s ruling.
- All parties will comply with payment according to the time frame specified in the court order.
Hire an Experienced San Fransisco Auto Accident Lawyer To Represent Your Teen During Negotiations and Litigation
If you are hurt in a car accident with a teen driver, it’s important to seek legal help to protect your rights. You should consider hiring an experienced San Francisco auto accident lawyer. Our team of experienced attorneys understands the complexities of motor vehicle accident claims.
Our San Francisco injury lawyers can provide expert legal guidance on navigating the difficult process of filing a claim for car accidents, including getting any necessary medical care and treatment.
We can also assist with negotiating with insurance companies and individuals involved in the accident to get fair compensation for your injuries and suffering. And, should litigation be necessary, we are prepared and experienced at representing clients in court.