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Don’t minimize the emotional toll of a teen driver’s first crash

On Behalf of | Aug 1, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Ever since your teen took the car out alone for the first time, you dreaded getting a call that they were in a crash. About a fifth of new drivers are involved in a crash during their first year behind the wheel. Not all are their fault.

Of course, your first concern was your teen’s physical injuries. However, don’t underestimate the emotional injuries they may continue to suffer even as their broken bones, cuts and other injuries heal. 

Signs of emotional distress

Teens can be more prone to anxiety and even trauma after a crash than adults who may have many years of incident-free driving prior to a collision. It’s crucial to watch for signs that your teen is still suffering emotionally and deal with them before they prevent them from being afraid to drive again.

They may be suffering from insomnia or sleeping too much. They may be having nightmares. It’s not uncommon to replay the events in their head, but it’s unhealthy for this to continue for too long. They may be second-guessing their actions and feeling guilty even if the crash was another driver’s fault.

How you can help your teen

Encourage them to get behind the wheel again as soon as it’s safe, but accompany them until they feel confident enough to drive on their own again. You should also encourage them to talk about the crash with you, friends and family or even a mental health professional. However, it’s important to keep the emphasis on the fact that they made it through. 

It can also help to get them involved in dealing with the insurance company. Don’t let them talk to anyone alone, as it’s too easy to say something that the insurance company can use against them. However, by letting them participate in the process, you’re helping them take back some control they may feel they’ve lost. This experience will also help them when they eventually are involved in another crash at some point in their lives.

If you’re not getting the settlement you believe you deserve from the at-fault driver’s insurer, it may be wise to seek legal guidance. This can help you ensure that you get the compensation you need for the expenses and damages resulting from the crash.