What Should I Do if I Was Injured in a Student Driver Crash?
Every driver was a first-timer at some point. Learning how to drive is an unavoidable part of getting one’s license. During the learning process, however, new drivers can pose serious risks on the road. Student drivers might not have the reaction times, maneuverability, or driving skills to avoid or prevent collisions. They can also be prone to negligence such as speeding, reckless driving, and breaking roadway rules. If you suffered injuries in a crash involving a student driver in Alabama, here’s what to do.
Stay Calm and Don’t Admit Fault
First, stay calm after your car accident. Don’t let fear, panic, or anger overwhelm you. Whether you were the driving teacher, the student, or a third party outside of the student’s vehicle, remain calm and start assessing yourself and others for injuries. Do not admit fault or apologize to the student driver for the accident. Wait for professional investigators to determine who caused the crash.
Call an Ambulance
It is your legal duty to stay at the scene of the crash and administer help to those in need. Check yourself for injuries first, then see if anyone else is hurt. If the student driver crash caused injuries, deaths, or more than $250 in damages, call 911 and report the accident. You will also need to report the crash to the Alabama Department of Public Safety if the officer does not do so for you. Visit a hospital as soon as possible after an auto accident to treat any injuries. Waiting could hurt your insurance claim.
Gather Information About the Crash
Get the name of the student driver, a description of the vehicle, the license plate number, and the student driver’s license and insurance information. If the driver was operating a school vehicle, driving with a teacher present, or otherwise engaged in a student driving program at the time of the collision, write down the company or school’s name and information as well. Get the contact info of everyone involved as well as any eyewitnesses. Keep copies of your police reports and medical records. The more information you record about the accident, the better.
Make an Insurance Claim
Alabama is a tort insurance state, meaning the at-fault driver’s insurance company is responsible for paying everyone’s damages. First, identify who caused the collision. If it was the student driver, you can file a claim with the individual’s insurance company directly. You might also have a few different options for defendants if you wish to bring a personal injury claim seeking additional damages for your crash:
- The driver’s education teacher. If the driver’s ed teacher was negligent in some way that contributed to the student driver causing the wreck, the teacher could be liable. Since driving schools are vicariously liable for the actions of their employees, this would make the school responsible for a teacher’s negligence.
- The driving school. The driving school might be liable for your damages if it negligently hired incompetent teachers, failed to train its staff, didn’t properly maintain the vehicle, or otherwise contributed to the wreck. You might be able to file your claim with the school’s insurance company.
- A third party. It’s possible that a third party, such as another driver or an automaker, caused your crash. In this case, file an insurance claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company or seek help from a lawyer for a personal injury claim.
In Alabama, you could lose your right to recover damages if you were partially at fault for your accident. Hiring a Birmingham car accident attorney after a crash with a student driver can help make sure 100% of the fault goes to the inexperienced driver and/or other parties instead of landing on you. The right attorney can maximize your compensation.