You made sure that your teen was fully prepared to be a safe driver before you let them take the car once they got their driver’s license. Unfortunately, you don’t have that kind of control over other drivers.
If your teen was injured by another driver, your first concern is making sure they get the medical care they need to heal and recover. There’s more to dealing with the aftermath of a crash than setting broken bones and stitching up lacerations.
The trauma of a car crash can be enough to keep even experienced drivers from getting behind the wheel again. A teen with little experience driving on their own can be far more hesitant. Parents can help teens regain their confidence and push through their fears after a crash.
Getting behind the wheel again
Once your teen has the okay to drive from their doctors, encourage them to do it. Ride along as a passenger until you (and they) feel comfortable. If your teen is hesitant, start slow – just as when they were first learning. Stick to neighborhood streets during the daylight hours.
If your teen doesn’t seem to be recovering emotionally, consider having them talk to a therapist. If they’re continuing to have sleepless nights, are constantly talking about the crash or aren’t getting back to their normal life once they’re physically able to, a mental health professional can help them work through their feelings and fears in a healthy way.
Dealing with the insurance company
One way for teens to regain a sense of control after a crash is by participating in the process of recovering compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Don’t let them talk to insurers alone. The slightest misstep (like saying they feel fine or expressing regret about the crash), can be used to minimize their settlement or even to try to shift the blame to them.
You can make sure they understand the process and the paperwork. This will be helpful later when they’re inevitably involved in another crash as an adult.
You owe it to your teen and your family to make sure you get a settlement that will cover all of your expenses and damages. That may require getting legal guidance. What’s important is not settling for less than you and your teen deserve.