Common Causes of Car Accidents
Vehicle accidents or Car Accidents are one of the most common causes of serious personal injury and death. Car, bicycle, and pedestrian crashes killed 3,904 people and injured 277,160 in California in 2017 alone.
Riverside reported 2,119 injured and killed car accident victims that same year. Recognizing the most common causes of car accidents in California can help you avoid a serious collision.
Safe driving requires 100% focus, concentration, and attention of the driver. Anything distracting the driver, even for a few seconds, can prevent an accident.
Figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that distracted drivers in the country caused 2,841 deaths in 2018. The number of deaths due to driver distraction from 2012 to 2018 is over 23,000.
Driver distraction is a serious problem on California roads. Some of the most common culprits include cellphones, texting, travelers, children, pets, radio, food and drink, maps/GPS, daydreaming, and rubbernecking.
Distractions reduce reaction time and increase the risk of car accidents. A distracted driver can cause an accident by failing to apply brakes in time and notice danger to prevent a collision.
Speeding is a common violation in California. Many drivers do it to get to work on time, to avoid traffic, or to speed because of negligence.
Speeding usually refers to exceeding the posted speed limit. Still, it can also refer to driving at or below the limit when dangerous road conditions – such as rain or fog – cause drivers to exceed the speed limit.
It makes it dangerous. Increasingly, devastating car accidents can happen in, or anywhere in, the country.
When two cars collide at high speed, the damage and injuries can be much greater than in a low-speed accident. (Causes of Car Accidents)
Alcohol involvement is common in car crash reports in California. The total number of drunk driving in California in 2017 was 1,147, with 220 victims injured and killed, according to the State Highway Patrol Office.
An intoxicated driver is likelier to have poor judgment and decreased reaction time. Drunk drivers can cause T-bone accidents, head-on collisions, speeding accidents, and pileups.
The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration levels in California is 0.08%. Driving with more than this amount – or any alcohol that impairs your driving abilities – can result in a criminal driving under the influence charge. (Causes of Car Accidents)
Breaking the rules of the road
California has several traffic laws that keep its roads running smoothly. These laws include the right of way, speed limits, and traffic control devices.
Accidents happen when reckless drivers break traffic rules. Broken traffic laws lead to accidents due to unsafe lane changes, illegal turns, illegal passing, speeding, following too closely, running red lights, and other violations.
The driver who broke the law and caused the accident will be liable for damages in California.
Careless, reckless, and dangerous drivers are California’s leading causes of car accidents. Human errors on the road, from failing to maintain a vehicle to drowsy driving properly, can be fatal.
However, some car accidents in California are caused by nondriver causes. This is especially true for single-vehicle car accidents. Examples of nondriver causes of car accidents are:
- Inclement weather.
- Animals are crossing the road.
- Dangerous construction areas.
- Road defects such as potholes.
- Auto defects.
Should You Hire a Lawyer After an Accident?
After a bad accident, what you do and don’t do can decide your future. Taking the right steps, such as gathering evidence against the at-fault party and hiring an attorney for serious injuries, can give you the money and peace of mind you need to move forward.
However, not all accident claims require lawyers. Find out if you should seek legal help from a legal professional in Riverside after an accident.
When You Need an Attorney
Hiring an attorney can strengthen your claim for damages depending on the circumstances of your accident.
A car accident attorney can guide you through confusing legal matters such as insurance settlement negotiations or injury trials. If you’re unsure whether you need an attorney, ask whether any of the following apply. (Causes of Car Accidents)
You have serious injuries
Serious injuries are the first reason clients need to hire attorneys to see them through their civil claims.
Serious injuries that will affect you for the foreseeable future, such as broken bones, concussions, other traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and internal organ damage, qualify for legal representation.
Otherwise, you may settle your case for less than it’s worth.
The insurance company is trying to take advantage of you
A lawyer will not allow anyone, including insurance companies, to take advantage of you during the claims process.
This is important, as insurance companies often try to trick claimants into accepting less money for their claims than they are entitled to.
Your lawyer will fight powerful insurance companies on your behalf to make sure they treat you fairly. (Causes of Car Accidents)
You have a complicated case
Many injury claims involve complex legal matters that require the supervision of attorneys.
Examples include split liability, liability disputes, comparative negligence, liability waiver, uninsured drivers, and hit-and-run accidents.
Hiring an attorney can help you overcome challenges. A solicitor can be a source of information and advice for a claim that is too complex for you. (Causes of Car Accidents)
When an Attorney May Not Be Necessary
While a lawyer can be helpful during any claim, small and simple civil cases often do not require a lawyer. Representing yourself (by a pro) during a simple matter can make for an easier and cheaper legal process.
Do You have minor or no injuries?
If the accident barely injured you or didn’t hurt you, you may not need to hire an attorney.
You should be able to follow the instructions for filing a claim against the at-fault party and obtaining a settlement from the insurance agent.
Most personal injury attorneys will not accept cases too small to be worth their time. (Causes of Car Accidents)
You have experience negotiating with insurance companies
You can find a satisfactory solution if you are confident negotiating with insurance companies and their rent claim adjusters.
You will first need to obtain an accurate estimate of the value of your case, either on your own or by consulting an attorney.
Then, you will negotiate with the insurance provider until a reasonable and accurate solution is obtained. If you cannot settle successfully, call an attorney for advice on what to do next. (Causes of Car Accidents)
You caused the accident
If you know you were injured by accident, you will not need to hire an accident attorney in San Bernardino. Your insurance company will negotiate for you.
This will provide a lawyer to speak on your behalf without needing to hire one for yourself. As the person who caused the accident, you would have no basis on which to base a personal injury claim.
However, one important exception is if you only partially caused the accident with another person. In this case, you may benefit from hiring an attorney to navigate California’s comparative negligence doctrine. (Causes of Car Accidents)
What to do after a car accident
Being involved in a car accident can be stressful and confusing. You may not know what steps to take to protect your rights as an injured accident victim.
Always be at the collision scene to check for injuries, render aid, and exchange contact information with the other driver.
Then, take other steps to improve your chances of making a successful car insurance claim in Riverside. (Causes of Car Accidents)
Call the police
Calling 911 after a car accident in Riverside can help you document your wreck by obtaining an official police report.
You should always call the police from the scene of an accident – even a minor accident – to help protect your rights as a victim. However, some factors may make it even more important to involve law enforcement.
- personal injuries
- property damage of more than a thousand
- the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- unlicensed driver
- uninsured or underinsured motorist
- hit-and-run accident
Don’t tell the police that you caused the car accident. Also, don’t tell them you have an injury until you’ve seen a doctor.
Your adrenaline from the debris can mask the symptoms of injury. Before leaving the scene, write down your police report number.
If your car accident meets the first three criteria, you must also contact the Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days to report the accident. (Causes of Car Accidents)
Collect information and photos
Gather as much information as possible about the car accident before you leave. If you can’t live because of your injuries, ask someone you trust to collect evidence. If you can, take photographs of all damaged vehicles, a wide-angle shot of the entire crash scene, close-up shots of key details (such as skid marks on the ground), and your injuries.
Police may also record important information, such as the other driver’s name, insurance information, and the names of eyewitnesses. (Causes of Car Accidents)
Go to a hospital in Riverside
Don’t delay in getting medical care for your car accident injuries.
Go to Riverside Community Hospital, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Parkview Community Hospital, or another local medical facility immediately after your car accident for treatment.
Insurance companies check whether customers go to emergency centers promptly as evidence of serious injuries. Postponing care can not only be bad for you physically but also hurt your insurance claim. (Causes of Car Accidents)
File an insurance claim
Once you have the other driver’s insurance information and have shown your injuries to a doctor, begin the insurance claims process.
Call the at-fault driver’s insurance company to file your claim immediately. Under California’s tort-based insurance system, the at-fault party will be liable for the damages.
Before you accept an accelerated settlement offer, speak with a car accident attorney about your case.
When speaking with an insurance claims adjuster, stick to the facts without embellishing or implying error. Do not agree to give a recorded statement to the adjuster. (Causes of Car Accidents)
Before seeking help from an injury attorney, create a file to organize your crash documents in one place.
Get copies of your pay stubs, insurance papers, medical records, X-rays, police reports, photographs, repair estimates, witness statements, and anything relevant to your claim.
An attorney will want to review this information during your free consultation to understand your case better.
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