Auto Accident Lawyers
Car accident statistics make clear that driving in California can be life-threatening. This is true even under ideal conditions, when drivers are focused and when roadways are in good condition. The risk of an auto accident increases significantly with adverse driver behavior or road conditions. Car accidents are mostly avoidable and the cause, in most cases, is human error.
If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, whether it’s a car or motorcycle accident, tractor trailer wreck or ATV injury, call us now! Avrek Law Firm represents clients throughout California, Nevada and Arizona. We will provide you with a free, no-obligation initial consultation and answer any questions you might have.
Top Causes of Car Accidents
Car crashes are one of the leading causes of death and injury in the United States. Every year approximately 30,000 Americans lose their lives in traffic accidents, and more than two million are injured.
In California alone, there were 2,739 persons killed and 229,354 persons injured in auto crashes in 2010.
Distracted Driving the Main Culprit of Auto Accidents in California
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that drivers make more than 200 decisions per mile traveled. Making the correct decision in every instance requires a driver’s full attention. Unfortunately, the growing use of handheld digital devices, including iPhones, Androids and other smartphones, creates more distractions today than ever before.
A groundbreaking study published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2006 found that driver inattention was the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes. According to the research, 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involve a distracted driver. The specific distracted driving behaviors that most often contribute to car wrecks are:
- Cell phone use
- Reaching for a moving object within the vehicle
- Looking at something outside of the vehicle
- Applying makeup
While it is illegal in California to use a handheld cell phone or to text while driving, many people continue to engage in these behaviors. Public perception is that texting while driving—blamed for 1,600,000 accidents per year—is a teenage problem, but adults are actually more likely to text and drive than teens. Regardless of who texts and drives, it’s extremely dangerous. Studies show that texting while driving is six times as dangerous as drunk driving.
The use of a hands-free phone, permitted for drivers over the age of 18 in California, is thought to alleviate the risk associated with cell phone use. While this is true to some extent, hands-free devices do not eliminate cognitive distraction, as talking while driving leads to so-called “inattention blindness.”
Other Causes of Car Crashes in California
Distracted driving is the main cause of car accidents, but certainly not the only one. Other leading causes include:
- DUI/DWI: Operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs and alcohol reaction times and impairs driving. Drunk driving is strongly correlated with fatal car accidents. Approximately 30 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities are alcohol-related. California lost 972 people to drunk driving in 2010 and an additional 17,000 were injured by alcohol involved collisions.
- Drowsy driving: Driving while sleep deprived is nearly as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. The NHTSA estimates that 100,000 motor vehicle crashes per year are the result of driver fatigue.
- Speeding: Speed is a factor in about one out of three fatal crashes, according to the NHTSA, making it the third leading factor in traffic accidents.
- Roadway conditions: Snow, ice, and other adverse weather make driving more dangerous, especially when drivers are acting in the ways described above. The roadway itself, moreover, can increase accidents. Issues such as potholes, uneven pavement, signage problems, and poor road design make crashes more likely.
Types of Car Accidents
Car accident types can fall into many different categories. How a car accident is classified will determine the laws and insurance policies relating to the incident. The most common types of car accidents include the following:
A pedestrian accident is when a person is hit by a car. This type of accident could be the fault of the pedestrian or the driver, depending on the situation. For example, if a pedestrian runs out into the street when the light is green and gets hit by a car, the fault will likely fall upon the pedestrian. But if the driver was speeding through a red light and hit a pedestrian who was obeying the traffic laws, the driver would be at fault.
Rear End Accidents
A rear end accident happens when one car collides into the rear end of the car in front of them. These accidents might take place due to distracted driving, adverse weather, tailgating, or driver error. A rear end accident might also occur if there is an obstacle or person in the road and the front car comes to a sudden stop. The severity of a rear end collision depends on how fast the car was going, but even minor rear end accidents can result in whiplash and back problems. The driver who rear ends the car in front of them is usually the one at fault in this type of accident, but there are some exceptions.
Minor car accidents are usually defined as small collisions that do very little harm to the car or people involved in the accident. These accidents usually take place when a car is driving at a slow speed, often in a parking lot or driveway. Some single-car accidents are considered minor accidents. For instance, if a car goes off the road or runs into an obstacle but is not damaged, it would be a minor accident. This type of accident can still be stressful, and it may be expensive to fix the vehicle.
Hit and Run Accidents
Hit and run car accidents occur when a driver knowingly hits another car, person, object, or large animal, and then leaves without stopping to give their insurance information. Even if a driver hits a parked car and the owner of the vehicle isn’t around, they must legally stop and leave a note with their contact information, or else it will be considered a hit and run. This type of accident can be classified as a misdemeanor, felony, or infraction, depending on the state laws.
What to Do After a Car Accident
The immediate aftermath of a car accident can be shocking and stressful, but there are certain steps drivers should take to follow the law and make sure everyone involved is safe or gets the medical help they may need. Drivers should first stop and assess for injuries, then inform the police and, if necessary, call 911. Then it’s important to collect important information from other drivers, including insurance policy numbers and license plate numbers. There’s always a chance someone may choose to file a claim against the other driver involved. In this case, it’s best to hire an experienced lawyer to help you through this process.
Reporting an Accident
It’s important to report any car accident to the police and insurance company as soon as possible. Ideally, accidents should be reported at the scene, but if this is not possible, drivers need to report the accident to the police within 24 hours. Insurance companies have differing rules about how long you have to report an accident.
When doing so, make sure to include contact information, photos of the accident, insurance information for all drivers involved, and other important details about the scene of the accident.
All drivers are required to report car accidents to their insurance company. Once the driver calls their insurance claim department, they will be asked to provide their policy number and then the information to file a claim. The insurance representative might ask questions about the location, time of day, and weather conditions during the time of the accident. They’ll also ask the other information collected at the scene of the accident, like the accident report and information from all drivers involved.
Drivers who do not have car insurance will have to pay for damages out of pocket, and they may face fines or other repercussions like loss of driver’s license, depending on the laws of the state.
A car accident may lead to injury, car repair expenses, or other emotional damages. Drivers should report any of these claims to their insurance company immediately after the accident. If someone involved in the accident has sustained serious injuries or has died, their family may claim loss of consortium, which is also known as loss of affection or loss of companionship. In loss of consortium claims, the family suffers because the injured person isn’t able to provide love and companionship in the same way that they were able to before the accident.
Auto accident injuries can be as minor as a forehead bump, or they can be as big as brain injuries or lifelong back problems. Some common car accident injuries include broken ribs, a herniated disc, whiplash, and knee trauma. If a driver experiences pain after a car accident, they should immediately seek medical attention and report the injury to their insurance company.
Auto Accident Lawyers
Auto accident lawyers can help drivers get the monetary compensation they need to cover costs related to the accident, including car damage, injuries, lost wages, emotional damages, and medical bills. They can also reduce the amount of money a driver might owe if they are at fault for an accident. Experienced auto accident lawyers will also reduce the amount of paperwork and red tape a driver goes through in a car accident-related lawsuit.
Avrek Law’s California Car Accident Lawyers Are Ready to Take Your Case
If You Want to Recover Compensation for Your Car Crash Injuries, You Need a Top Personal Injury Attorney
The people injured in a car accident may be entitled to compensation for losses that include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages and future lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- And more
Proving Fault in a Car Wreck: The Reason You Need a Car Accident Attorney
Some auto accidents, such as rear-end collisions, leave little doubt as to which driver is at fault. Other cases, however, depend on evidence, police reports, and eyewitness testimony. When cases are disputed, whether by the driver or the driver’s insurer, holding the negligent party responsible comes down to presenting a convincing case. This is where hiring an experienced car accident attorney is critical, particularly when injuries are serious and medical bills runs into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Lawyer in California to Get the Compensation You Deserve
When the stakes in a car accident are high, you need an experienced auto lawyer who will fight tirelessly on your behalf. With more than 30 years of combined experience and hundreds of millions of dollars recovered for injured clients, Avrek Law Firm’s car accident attorneys know what it takes to achieve top results. To schedule a free case review, contact us online or call us today.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): Crashes Aren’t Accidents
- NHTSA: The Impact of Driver Inattention On Near-Crash/Crash Risk: An Analysis Using the 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study Data
- The California Highway Patrol: 2013 Annual Report of Fatal and Injury Motor Vehicle Traffic Collisions
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): Guidelines for Employers to Reduce Motor Vehicle Crashes
- www.huffingtonpost.com: Who’s Really Texting While Driving Most? Hint: It’s Not Teens
- drowsydriving.org: Facts and Stats
- California Department of Motor Vehicles: Driver Distractions—Don’t Be a Statistic