Every Charleston driver is responsible for his or her conduct behind the wheel of a vehicle. A negligent driver doesn't have to be an adult to be charged with criminal or civil offenses for harming others. Unfortunately, the victims of accidents involving teen drivers are often people their own age.
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, teen drivers accounted for 17.6 percent of all West Virginia traffic fatalities in 2006. By 2010, the rate fell to 14.3 percent. While the state fatality decrease was substantial, the numbers didn't compare to nationwide figures during the same time, when teen driver-related deaths dropped more than 38 percent.
No charges have been filed for an accident that critically injured a 17-year-old Uniontown Area High School student. According to West Virginia state troopers, any criminal charges would be filed after the motor vehicle accident was investigated more thoroughly. The male driver in the single-vehicle crash was also 17.
The victim was riding in the back seat of an SUV, unrestrained by a seat belt, when the driver lost control while rounding a Route 40 curve. The vehicle slammed into a concrete barrier. The impact ejected the Lemont Furnace passenger through an open window.
The boy was hospitalized with bruises to his lungs, fractures to his face and brain trauma. The high school student's parents said the athletic teen was headed into his senior year. Doctors told the parents the initial 72 hours after the accident would be the most important for the teen's recovery.
When accident victims survive, recovery following a traumatic brain injury can take years or continue throughout the patient's life. A severe injury is not suffered alone. A family's sacrifice to care for a loved one often causes financial difficulties, like a loss of income or tremendous medical expenses - losses that may be recovered in claims against negligent drivers.
Source: WTAE.com, "Parents: Teen in critical condition after being ejected through open window in SUV crash" Kelly Brennan, Aug. 01, 2014