Learning to drive is a stressful experience, yet so many of us forget when we were a student driver. So many vehicles, signs, traffic rules… everything seems overwhelming. And while you fear if you’re driving well, you should also watch out for potential collisions.
If this happens while you’re learning to drive, the only thing you should do is stay calm. Your instructor is there to supervise you and help you in the aftermath.
If you were involved in a crash as a learner driver, a New York car accident attorney can help you take the right steps.
The Accident Happened. Now What?
- First of all, you should stay calm, and stop the vehicle. Turn off the engine and push the warning lights. Check if anyone is injured (your instruction in this case).
- If anyone is injured, even with minor injuries, call both the police and medical help as soon as possible.
- Even if you’re feared that it was your fault, make sure not to say anything like this. Don’t apologize or explain yourself. There are people who will determine whose fault it was, so stay quiet.
- It’s important to exchange information with everyone involved in the crash (name, insurance information). Ask if the other driver owns the vehicle.
- If you’re learning how to drive with an instructor, they should provide the information about themselves as well.
- Take photos of the accident, road, weather, cameras, as well as vehicles, and injuries. Make as many photos as possible.
- In case you hit a parked vehicle, leave your information in a note on their windshield.
- Report the Accident
It’s your legal responsibility to report the accident. You may fear that this won’t be a smart decision since you’re a learner, but it’s better to have a police report.
The other party may try to convince you to settle it on your own. They may offer you money, but don’t fall for this. If it turns out that your damages are far more serious, and that your minor injuries cause you severe health issues, you won’t be able to collect a settlement from the insurance company.
Who’s At Fault In Such Accidents?
In such accidents, the student driver may be found at fault, even though it’s tempting to think that they can’t hold that responsibility.
Typically, in an accident involving a driving school car and a learner driver, the following parties can be at fault:
- The student driver
- The driving instructor
- The driving school (or its employees).
The circumstances of the crash will determine which of the parties is liable. In some cases, more than these three parties can be at fault, while in other cases, only one party may be liable.
The Student Driver is At-fault
It’s natural that a student driver will make mistakes. If they’re negligent and cause an accident, they could be at fault. The fact that a person is learning how to drive, doesn’t exclude the legal obligation to drive safely and carefully.
The complex thing in such a case is car insurance. But, if they’re found to be liable, they will be covered under the policy of their parents or guardians.
The Instructor is At-fault
The instructor may be at-fault for the accident as well. Their responsibility is to pay attention to the road and guide the student driver into safe driving. The instructor should be there in emergencies and are required to take steps to prevent the accident. If they fail to do this, and an accident happens, the learner driver may file a claim against them.
The Driving School is At-fault
The driving school may also be liable for the crash. They have the responsibility to provide their student drivers with a safe vehicle and hire qualified instructors. If the school doesn’t do this, and someone is injured in the accident, the school will be held responsible. The school is also responsible for training and managing employees, so if an employee’s actions caused the accident, the school is considered liable.
These accidents are complex and may seem scary, especially for the driver. However, there is a clear at-fault scenario that can help drivers who were involved in the accident to file for a compensation claim.
If you’re a student driver or were involved in an accident with a student driver, it’s best to hire an experienced car accident attorney. Instead of wondering how you can handle this if you’ll get any settlement for your damages, allow a lawyer to take care of everything.
Looking for legal help? Contact us.
Content checked by the personal injury attorney Ross Cellino. As a family man and a trial attorney, I pride myself on winning cases and serving the community. With over 35 years of experience, I understand the function of a jury, how juries arrive at conclusions, and the role that the jury plays in administering justice. I know how to win cases. You can find us in Manhattan, Buffalo, Melville, Rochester, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and other locations throughout New York.
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