Southaven & Hernando Teen Driving Car Accident Lawyer

young teenage girl driving a car

Mississippi has one of the highest teenage driver fatality rates in the United States. A 2019 survey indicated that with respect to these accidents, Mississippi ranked second in the nation per capita over a five-year period. From 2013-2017, the state’s teen driver fatality rate was nearly twice that of neighboring southern states. Many other non-fatal accidents cause serious, even permanent injuries to victims every year.

If you’ve been hurt in one of these accidents, or a loved one was killed because of a negligent teen driver, you may have a claim for monetary compensation. Having an experienced personal injury attorney in your corner will make all the difference. Turn to the dedicated team at Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman.

Why Teen Drivers Are So Dangerous

Although teenagers can legally drive once they reach a certain age and demonstrate some degree of capability, they are among the most dangerous group of drivers. A number of risk factors explain this. For instance, as a group, teen drivers are:

  • Less experienced. This is arguably the leading reason why teenagers get into accidents. Even though they passed a driving test to attain their license, they simply lack the experience of older drivers.
  • Less skilled. Closely related, teenage drivers haven’t developed the necessary skills to stay safe in high-stress or challenging environments. It’s one thing to drive in the suburbs on familiar roads; it’s quite another thing to drive in rush hour and in new parts of town.
  • Easily distracted. Whether it’s because of texting while driving or paying attention to friends and other passengers, teenage drivers are among the most distracted on the road. Distracted driving is bad enough, but combining the other factors can make it deadly.

Like every other state, Mississippi has adopted a Graduated Driver Licensing program to help instill in teenagers better and safer driving skills. As part of this law:

  • The minimum age to acquire a learner’s permit is 15 years old
  • Permit holders cannot drive without adult supervision
  • The driver must hold the permit for at least a year before applying for a driver’s license
  • For 6 months after obtaining a driver’s license, or until reaching age 17, newly licensed teen drivers cannot drive unsupervised between 10 pm and 6 am Sunday through Thursday, or between 11:30 pm and 6 am Friday and Saturday

Why Teen Driving Accidents Happen

An accident victim has the burden of proving how and why the at-fault driver caused the wreck. Considering the above risk factors, the following are among some of the most common, specific reasons teen driving accidents occur:

  • Distracted driving, including texting while driving
  • Speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, and other traffic law violations
  • Inexperience and lack of driving skills
  • Driving at night
  • Driving in heavy traffic or other poor road conditions
  • Driving in bad weather
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Drowsy driving

Your attorney will investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident and then get to work building a case.

What Do I Have To Prove In A Teen Driving Accident?

There are generally four elements that the plaintiff victim must prove to win monetary compensation after suffering a teen driving accident. They are:

  • Duty of care. Everyone who drives in Mississippi must use reasonable care in doing so to protect everyone else. Following traffic laws and having the requisite experience to drive safely are two aspects of this duty that are owed by everyone, especially teen drivers.
  • Breach. Anything that violates the duty of care, including the specific activities mentioned above, is a breach. Various forms of evidence like police reports, phone records, photographs of the accident scene, and witness statements will play a role in proving the breach.
  • Causation. Next, the victim must prove there is a causal link between the teen driver’s breach of the duty of care and the accident itself. Laying out the sequence of events, often with the help of an accident reconstructionist, will work towards establishing this element.
  • Damages. Finally, the victim needs to show what sort of losses he or she suffered because of the teen driving accident. Medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering are common examples. Your attorney will also demonstrate the nature and extent of damages you are likely to incur in the future, like the lost ability to earn as much income as before the accident.

If the victim dies from his or her injuries, eligible surviving family members can pursue wrongful death damages.

Will I Have To Go To Court?

Most automobile accident lawsuits settle without the need to go to court. The at-fault driver’s insurance company and their attorney will negotiate with the victim’s lawyer to see if a settlement can be reached. It’s not a good idea to communicate with either the insurance company or the responsible driver’s attorney without legal counsel. Our firm handles all aspects of the negotiation process on your behalf.

We work closely with our clients to ensure they understand the process and status of settlement negotiations with the teen driver’s insurer and attorney. We will work hard to negotiate the maximum settlement possible and help you weigh the benefit of settling versus the potential risk of going to trial.

If a settlement can be reached, it will once and for all resolve the case. That means if you later have additional damages (like medical problems) arise from the accident, you won’t get to ask for more money. We build these future potential damages into our negotiations so you have peace of mind about your long-term recovery.

If a settlement cannot be reached, however, we will take your matter to court. Our attorneys are experienced litigators who know what it takes to build a winning case. Our firm will represent you from start to finish and answer any questions you have.

Contact Our Southaven & Hernando Teen Driving Accident Attorney

Were you injured in a teen driving accident? Let our attorneys review your accident claim and explain your legal options. Contact Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman to schedule your confidential consultation and begin your case today.