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Car accidents are all too common in the United States. Over 35,000 individuals die in motor vehicle crashes each year, and an additional 2.35 million are injured or disabled. While traffic fatalities decreased slightly in California in recent years, the state still saw more than 3,500 traffic fatalities in one year alone. Crashes certainly have a physical impact on those involved, but they also have a financial impact with crashes representing an estimated economic impact of $242 billion.
Those who have suffered from a car accident are all too familiar with the medical and financial impacts of car accidents. If you have been in a car accident, you may be wondering how you found yourself in this situation and what you can do about it.
Given the frequency of car accidents and the impact they have on an individual’s life, you will need a car accident lawyer who understands the conditions that are most likely to contribute to your car accident and the resulting injuries.
Read on to learn about those causes of car accidents, and what to do if you were injured.
While many factors come together to cause each car accident, there are some actions or inactions that make a car accident and injuries resulting from a car accident more likely.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, failure to use a seat belt, car seat, or booster seat was a contributing factor in over 9,500 crash fatalities. Even more notable may be the number of lives that were saved thanks to seat belts. In 2017, the use of seat belts in passenger vehicles saved nearly 15,000 lives. In California, there were nearly 600 fatalities due to improper use of restraints.
Properly wearing a seat belt helps ensure that the wearer isn’t ejected from the vehicle in a crash. The perilous results of ejection are unavoidable. Seat belts also help ensure that other protective devices like airbags work correctly. If you aren’t wearing a seat belt, the force of a deployed airbag may cause serious injuries.
While driving might feel like second nature, it requires full use of your faculties to safely drive a motor vehicle. Driving under the influence of alcohol or another controlled substance was the cause of over 10,000 crash fatalities. Almost 30 people die in drunk-driving accidents in the United States every day, and the cost data shows the financial impact of these accidents is $44 billion a year. While alcohol is a concern for any driver, it is more commonly associated with male drivers and motorcycle drivers. In California in 2018, 42 percent of all drivers who were killed in a car crash and tested for drug use tested positive for legal and/or illegal drugs.
Alcohol reduces the brain function of the impaired individual, including their ability to think clearly and muscle coordination. The higher the alcohol levels are, the greater the degree of negative impact on the central nervous system. At a Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) of 0.08 (the legal limit in most states), the driver is likely to suffer from impaired concentration, short-term memory loss, speed-control, reduced information processing capabilities, and impaired perception.
In over 9,500 crash deaths, a driver was driving over the posted speed limit. Looking at traffic crash data over two decades, speeding was involved in about one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities. The most obvious indicator of a speeding risk is when a driver is driving faster than the posted speed limit. This isn’t, however, the only time speed is a concern. Drivers are expected to modify their speed based on road and weather conditions. In bad weather or on a rough road, a driver may need to use their judgment and drive below the speed limit for maximum safety.
Speeding poses a serious risk on the road because it:
While any driver can find themselves speeding, men are more likely to be behind the wheel of a speeding vehicle involved in a crash. Additionally, speeding is often a resulting factor of drivers who are driving under the influence of alcohol.
The use of smartphones and other electronic devices become ubiquitous, and while they may bring productivity to some areas of our lives, one place they don’t belong is in the hand of a driver. Electronic devices are a dangerous distraction on the road. In the United States, approximately nine people are killed each day due to crashes that involve a distracted driver, and another 1,000 are injured.
While any action that takes a driver’s attention off the road is considered distracted driving, those involving phones are increasingly problematic. Texting, in particular, poses a danger because it takes the driver’s eyes, hands, and mind off of driving.
Drivers under the age of 20 are the most likely to be involved in fatal accidents due to distracted driving. Reports show that as many as 40 percent of teen drivers are sending text messages or emails while driving. Texting and driving is also associated with increased incidences of drinking and driving and failure to wear a seatbelt.
Regardless of the cause of an accident, you are likely distraught and wondering if and how you can recover for any injuries and property damage you have suffered.
Your first priority after an accident should be to seek medical attention. Regardless of the perceived extent of your injuries, a medical evaluation is important to ensure you aren’t suffering from any underlying injuries, and to make sure another party doesn’t contest the extent of your damages due to a delay in treatment.
In addition to medical attention, the following should also be priorities:
If you find yourself overwhelmed by all the things that need to be kept straight after an accident, an experienced attorney can help.
If you believe another party is responsible for your injuries, you will need to prove that the party acted negligently or willfully in a way that caused the accident and your injuries. This often involves a thorough analysis of the facts of the case and all available evidence.
A number of parties may have caused the accident:
Establishing a case against another party will require an analysis of all the facts and evidence available. An attorney can help you determine the strength of your case.
Once you have determined you have a strong case against another party, you will need to determine the extent of your damages so that it can be included in your request for recovery.
You should consider these damages, among others.
An attorney can help you ensure you have considered all possible types of damages and contact any necessary experts to help calculate your damages.
If you are struggling to understand the cause of your accident and to determine whether another party was at fault, an experienced attorney can help. They can also help you communicate with insurance companies and make sure you are best positioned for securing recovery. They can help you develop a strategy for settlement or trial based on the amount of damages you have suffered due to the accident and your injuries. An attorney can serve as an advocate on your behalf throughout every step of the claims process.
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