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Parents: What to know if your child has been in a crash

There may be no call a parent dreads more than one informing them that their son or daughter has been injured in an accident. Unfortunately, many Arizona parents will receive this very call. Statistics show that more than 6,000 teenagers were injured in Arizona accidents in 2018.

Below are some general tips for how to respond if you are the parent of a teen injured in a serious car crash.

Record whatever you can

If you are at the scene of an accident, document as much as you can about the incident — time, location, road conditions and descriptions of the other driver and vehicle. Even if you arrive at the scene after the fact, you can take pictures and keep track of the names of any witnesses who may have seen a crash.

Also, note the damage to the car and where your child may have been heading at the time. These details can all paint a picture of what happened and what caused the motor vehicle accident.

Report the accident

Not everyone wants to report a crash. Some fear speaking with law enforcement agents; others don’t want their insurance rates to increase. However, reporting the accident ensures authorities make an official record of the accident.

Having an official record of the crash is critical, especially if you wish to pursue legal action and compensation for damages.

It is important to note that per Arizona comparative negligence laws, parties can still recover damages after a crash in which they were also negligent. So even if your child played a role in the crash, legal remedies could still be available.

Think carefully before accepting a settlement

It may be tempting to accept an offer from the other driver or a settlement from an insurance company. After all, car crash injuries can be expensive, and you may want to focus on getting your child the care he or she needs as soon as possible.

However, it is important not to accept an offer prematurely. Typically, these offers will not reflect the full extent of damages you and your teen have suffered, which can include property damage, emotional distress, medical bills, permanent injuries, loss of future opportunities and even lost wages. While it can be difficult to hold off on accepting a financial offer, doing so could allow you to pursue more in damages later on.