CAR ACCIDENT CAUSED BY TEENAGER – MN INJURY ATTORNEYS
We just came across a recent AP story that reported on a terrible car accident in another state caused by the risky behavior of teenagers. “There were lies told to parents, a car with five seats carrying eight teens, and an unlicensed driver. The car was speeding. No seat belts were used.” Six teenagers were killed. Unfortunately, car crashes with multiple teen deaths are not uncommon. The MN Department of Public Safety notes that car crashes are the second leading cause of death among teenagers. Our lawyers handle several teenager car accidents in Minnesota every year.
One parent in the AP story was quoted as saying “This could happen to you. It’s horrible. These kids are not coming home. I don’t want you to be that person. Sometimes it just takes one bad decision to end in tragedy.”
At the Rochlin Law Firm, our car accident attorneys know that some of our most tragic cases happen where teenagers are injured in car accidents in MN, or cause crashes and injure other people. Pam and David have three children who were teenage drivers, so these tragedies really hit home to us. Unfortunately, there is no sure-fire solution that will keep a teenager driver safe or guarantee you always know where they are and who they are with. (Sometimes we wish we could keep them in a bubble at home.)
The article continued: “It’s an age-old thing for teens to tell their folks they’re going to do one thing and they’re doing another,” said Daniel Flannery, a psychologist who teaches at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and is quoted in the AP story. He even admits that his own children, “while very good kids and excellent students, sometimes do things they know we won’t approve of and they mislead us.” And he notes that like most parents of teens, he’s gotten his share of calls from other parents asking, “Is my son at your house?” Cell phones may “give a false sense of security” that you can contact your kid at any time. That probably contributes to a car accident like this happening. And some teens are expert at cell phone subterfuge. They turn the cell phone off, ignore it or let it run out of juice. When they do call home, a cell provides less information about location than landlines at physical addresses. Sure, you can put a GPS locator on a cell, but kids can disable those, or leave their phones in an approved location and head off.
While it’s not easy to stay on top of what a teenager is up to, the one thing parents shouldn’t do is back off, says Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, a professor at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work. He says research shows that “at the very point when adolescents are most likely to get involved in risk-taking behaviors, many parents monitor less than they had previously. It’s at this point where young people are trying to develop a level of healthy independence that they most need parental guidance.” He said monitoring is different from the controls associated with overly protective “helicopter parenting”; this is more about “parents weighing in on important decisions.” Knowing the activities and whereabouts of your teenager is key, along with making expectations clear and following through with discipline when rules aren’t honored, he said. And while teens may complain about parents checking on them, “parents don’t realize that teens actually want that structure — they actually feel comforted by it,” he said.
Cappo likes the policy some parents have of telling their child they can always call home for a ride, no matter what, so they’re not tempted to lie: “If you’re at a party, I never want you to get in a car with someone who’s been drinking; if you’ve been drinking, call me, I won’t ask questions, I just want you safe.” But not all parents “want to go that far because they don’t want to give their kids permission to drink. The kid feels like they can’t make that call because ‘my parents will kill me.’ It’s hard because we don’t want to sit there and give them the green light,” Cappo said.
Whatever rules parents come up with, Guilamos-Ramos said, they need to emphasize “there is only one goal: We want to make sure you are safe.”
If the unthinkable does happen and your teenager is injured in a car crash, please call our office and speak with a MN car accident attorney immediately to discuss the situation. One problem in these situations is that the teenagers will often initially lie to protect each other or to cover up the things they know they should not have done. Unfortunately, that can interfere with getting medical bills paid and other needed compensation. The sooner our attorneys start our investigation, the sooner we can get to the bottom of what happened and help you and your teenager. Our car accident lawyers have more than 25 years’ experience successfully helping people who have been injured in a car accident. Pam Rochlin was previously a partner at Meshbesher and Spence and offers personal attention to her clients. We handle drunk driver cases, motorcycle cases, semi-truck cases and others. We have offices in Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Edina, and Woodbury to discuss your teenager’s auto accident case. An attorney will also meet people at their homes in St. Paul MN, Richfield, Apple Valley, Bloomington, Chanhassen, Chaska, Rogers, Maple Grove, Maplewood, Roseville, White Bear Lake, Brooklyn Park, Anoka, etc.