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What Nevada Teen Drivers Should Know After an Accident

nevada teen drivers accidents

Sadly, auto accidents involving teens are on the rise in Nevada—including fatal accidents where teens are the victims. Many of these accidents occur in places teens tend to congregate, like around schools and shopping centers. And because teens lack the driving experience of those in their twenties, thirties, and older, they’re more vulnerable to mistakes and distraction.

What are your legal options if your teenager is involved in a crash? What steps should you take immediately following an accident? Below, we’ll discuss what teen drivers in Nevada should know after being involved in an accident.

Why Are Teen Drivers More Accident Prone?

Teen drivers are statistically more likely to get into auto accidents than more experienced drivers—which is one reason teens tend to have higher auto insurance premiums than those age 25 and over. Their lack of driving experience puts teens at a disadvantage when it comes to anticipating and reacting to dangerous situations.

For example, one common mistake teen drivers make is overcorrecting when their wheels leave the roadway. Instead of gently guiding the vehicle back onto the road, teens may overreact by jerking the wheel. This can cause a vehicle to head across the centerline, collide with another vehicle or object, or even flip onto its top.

Teens also tend to take more driving risks than those who are older and more conscious of danger. These include:


Teen drivers may be tempted to speed—especially those who spend a lot of time driving in school zones with lower speed limits. But the higher the speed, the more quickly a driver must react to potential hazards, which means that inexperienced teen drivers who are speeding are at a much higher risk of being involved in an accident. If a teen is found to have been speeding in even a minor accident, they may end up with a traffic citation as well.

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving is a citation-worthy infraction in Nevada. For teen drivers, a charge of aggressive driving could mean the temporary loss of one’s driver’s license. Teen drivers who engage in reckless behaviors like racing, following too closely, risky passing, or brake-checking other drivers could be at greater risk of being involved in an accident.

Distracted Driving

Teens who spend their driving time checking their phone, adjusting the radio or using touchscreen navigation, eating, or talking to friends are at far greater risk of an accident than teens who drive without distractions. And teen drivers in Las Vegas can also find themselves distracted by the bright lights, loud sounds, and heavy pedestrian traffic outside their vehicles.

Consider placing limits on your teen’s travels at night, especially considering the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. teen driver curfew imposed under Nevada law. Also, restrict your teen driver from using electronic devices while driving.

Driving While Tired

Teens often burn the candle at both ends between school, jobs, extracurriculars, and social lives. This is one contributor to the number of accidents around high schools—fatigued and inexperienced drivers lack the reaction times and reflexes needed to avoid getting into a wreck. Teens who haven’t gotten enough sleep should limit their time behind the wheel.

Impaired Driving

Although Nevada drivers age 21 and older won’t usually be charged with DUI unless they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher, the state’s zero-tolerance laws for teen drivers mean that anyone with a BAC of 0.02 or more can be arrested and stripped of their driver’s license. Teen drivers who are driving under the influence are at a far higher risk of being in a serious accident.

Failing to Wear a Seatbelt

Teen drivers who don’t wear their seatbelts aren’t necessarily more likely than other drivers to be in a wreck, but they are more likely to be seriously injured if they do find themselves in an accident.

What Happens After an Accident?

Generally, when a driver is involved in a single-car accident, any financial responsibility for property damage or injuries (to the driver and/or any passengers) will fall on the driver’s insurance company. Because parents are required to sign a certificate of financial responsibility for their teen drivers, this means the teen’s parent’s insurance is generally on the hook for damages sustained in single-car accidents.

In many cases, the insurance company will pay these damages directly (and then cancel the policy or significantly increase the policyholder’s rates). But in some situations, the insurance company may rely on a policy exclusion and refuse to pay. This may require the teen or his or her parents to sue the insurance company to enforce the policy.

For accidents involving more than one car in which fault isn’t clear, the insurance companies will each investigate the accident. Depending on who is found to be at fault, the claim may be settled or go to court to litigate liability and damages. Where fault is clear, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay damages or contest liability.

If insurance coverage isn’t sufficient to cover the total costs stemming from an accident, the at-fault party may be sued personally for any difference. And those driving without insurance could be personally on the hook for accident-related costs (and subject to arrest).

Steps to Take Immediately After an Accident

Due to their inexperience and statistically higher accident risk, it can be easy for teens to be blamed for an accident—regardless of whether it was actually their fault. Below are some guidelines that are important for all drivers, but especially teens, to follow to help protect themselves after an accident.

Get a Police Report

After ensuring that anyone in need of medical attention receives it, one of the first things a driver should do after an accident is to call the police. A police report won’t necessarily establish fault, but it will be the best evidence of exactly what took place before and immediately after the accident. Without a police report, it can be tough to recover damages from another driver or prove that you weren’t the person responsible for the wreck.

Often, you’ll be able to request a copy of the police report shortly after it’s generated and before it’s finalized. This is your chance to correct anything that’s inaccurate, so be sure to access a copy as quickly as you can.

Take Photos and Videos

Although it’s not always possible to snap photos of the scene after an accident, especially if you were injured, these photos—like a police report—can come in handy later. Also, be sure to take photos of any injuries you’ve sustained; bruises can fade quickly, but having photo evidence will bolster any later legal claim you make.

See a Doctor

Even if you don’t think you’re injured after an accident, some injuries (especially soft tissue damage to the neck and joints) can take days or even weeks to appear. Head injuries may also become more serious over time. By having yourself checked out a day or two after an accident, you’ll ensure that any medical issues are quickly diagnosed and treated.

Save Your Medical Bills

One of the simplest types of damages to prove after an auto accident is medical expenses—so by saving your medical bills and tracking your ongoing expenses, you’ll have far less work to do when it comes to negotiating a settlement of your claims. Medical expenses that can be sought from the at-fault party include diagnostic tests, hospital or surgery bills, physical therapy expenses, and follow-up visits and treatment.

Avoid Discussing the Accident

It can be tempting to talk about an accident, especially if it’s being discussed on social media already. But anything you say about an accident, especially in writing, can come back later to weaken your legal claim. Don’t discuss the details of an accident with others, even if you feel you’re only correcting a misperception.

Talk to an Attorney

Under Nevada law, drivers who are injured in an accident have only two years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. Although you may not be able to calculate your total damages right after the accident—or even a year or more into recovery—it’s important to seek legal advice as soon as you can to ensure your rights are protected.

Often, it’s necessary to file a lawsuit first, then launch a thorough investigation and tally the damages. An experienced Nevada personal injury attorney can work with you to evaluate your claim and determine the best next steps.