Inexperienced Driver Accident Lawyer in Austin
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers in the United States. In fact, 16- to 19-year olds are three times more likely than those above age 20 to be involved in a fatal car crash. Data from the Texas Department of Transportation reveal that the number of drivers involved in car crashes decreases significantly as age increases, with those from age 18 to 25 involved in more than 25,000 traffic crashes per year. Further, many of the causes of these crashes stem from driver inexperience.
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by an inexperienced driver, Texas law entitles you to seek damages in civil court as long as you take legal action before the two-year statute of limitations period expires. Contact the legal team at The Law Offices of George Salinas in Austin at (512) 851-1004 to learn about the ways we might be able to help you after an accident with an inexperienced driver.
Inexperienced Driver Accident Risk Factors
Lack of driving experience often accounts for a wide variety of hazardous driver behaviors. Inexperienced drivers don’t have the hours behind the wheel to always know the right decisions or reactions when driving; in some cases, they also underestimate the risks of dangerous driving behaviors. Some examples of common inexperienced driver accident risk factors include:
Texas law prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using hand-held mobile devices. In addition, all Texas drivers are prohibited from texting and driving. While cell phone usage is dangerous for drivers of all abilities, inexperienced drivers in particular need to pay extra attention to the road. Simple actions like eating, drinking, adjusting the radio, talking to other passengers, or reaching for an item are more likely to lead to an accident for an inexperienced driver. Teen drivers are especially more likely to cause an accident when they have passengers in their vehicle.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that speed is a factor in about a third of fatal crashes involving teen drivers. Studies also reveal that as new drivers gain confidence, they speed more often. Yet, it’s not ignoring the speed limit that poses the most risk of accidents for inexperienced drivers. It’s inclement weather conditions and heavy traffic that make speeding more risky. In rain, ice, or the rare snowfall, inexperienced drivers have a poor sense of how to match speed with road conditions. They often underestimate the amount of time it takes to stop, change lanes, turn, or make other quick maneuvers, resulting in accidents because they haven’t fully developed the critical decision skills.
Drinking and driving runs rampant among drivers under age 20. The CDC reports that one out of five male drivers between 15 and 20 who were involved in a crash were drinking. Many states, including Texas, have zero-tolerance laws for underage drinkers. Drivers that have little experience behind the wheel compound the risk for a severe or fatal accident when they add alcohol or drugs to the mix.
Texas Graduated Driver License (GDL) Program
In an effort to give new drivers the opportunity to hone their driving skills, Texas, like many other states, has a Graduated Driver License (GDL) program. The GDL program offers two licenses for those under age 18: a learning license and a provisional license.
A Texas learning license, often called a learner’s permit, is required for teens who want a license. After taking drivers’ education and the mandatory Impact Texas Driver course that teaches about the dangers of distracted driving, those under the age of 25 can apply for a learning license.
This is the license that teens apply for once they turn 16. A provisional license requires a driving test, but those under 18 have special restrictions to help curb accidents that might result from an inexperienced driver. They include:
- The driver may not have more than one passenger in the vehicle under age 21 that isn’t part of their family.
- The driver may not operate a motor vehicle between midnight and 5 a.m. unless they are traveling to or from work, participating in a school-sponsored activity, or have a medical emergency requiring them to go to the hospital.
- The driver may not use any wireless communication devices, including those that are hands-free, unless there is an emergency.
Recovering Damages After an Accident With an Inexperienced Driver
Texans injured in car accidents that were not their fault have the right to seek compensation from those responsible. In accidents involving an inexperienced driver, that may include the driver’s parents. The losses a car accident victim can typically recover in a legal action include:
- Current and future medical costs including ambulance and emergency services, hospital stays, physical therapy, medication, surgery, and more.
- Current and future lost wages from time away from work and the inability to return to work when a severe or catastrophic injury occurs.
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Other non-economic damages that might apply to a case
In most cases it is in your best interest to hire an attorney to guide you through the claims process and advise you on when and whether to file a lawsuit. This is especially true if the inexperienced driver that caused the accident isn’t yet 18 years old. Once your damages have exhausted insurance policy limits, establishing parental liability with the help of a qualified attorney might be the only way to pursue further compensation.
Hire an Experienced Austin Car Accident Lawyer Today
Even when the most cautious inexperienced drivers follow all the rules of the road, an accident still might occur. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a car accident with an inexperienced driver, you deserve full and fair compensation for losses related to your accident and injuries. Not hiring an attorney during this difficult time might result in missing out on recovering damages.
Let an experienced lawyer advocate for you and work to secure the best possible outcome for your case. Contact The Law Offices of George Salinas in Austin (512) 851-1004 for a free consultation to discuss your accident, injuries, and the best path forward for your situation.