At Sam & Ash, LLP, we know how traumatic a car accident can be. It can upend your life instantly, leaving you to deal with costly medical bills and other financial losses you aren’t prepared to handle. You deserve compensation for the injuries you suffered, damage to your vehicle, lost wages, and other expenses related to the crash. We believe in fighting for What’s Right and will aggressively advocate for you.
Legal Duties as a Driver
Drivers have a legal duty to avoid harming others. As such, drivers are supposed to exercise reasonable care and avoid conduct that might put other motorists, motorcyclists, bikers, and pedestrians in danger. Unfortunately, sometimes drivers fail to fulfill this duty, resulting in accidents.
Drivers have a duty:
- Drive at a sensible speed— Motorists have a duty to drive at an appropriate speed for present road conditions. If a motorist encounters inclement weather, heavy traffic, road construction, or other hazardous conditions, they must reduce their speed to accommodate those conditions. Failing to drive at a safe speed based on weather or traffic conditions may be considered negligence.
- Remain alert— Drivers must remain alert and aware of their surroundings at all times. Not only are they expected to keep an eye out for other motorists, but they must also take notice of motorcyclists, bikers, pedestrians, and anyone else with whom they are sharing the road. Drivers who fail to notice other people on the road could be considered negligent in an ensuing collision.
- Maintain control while driving— Drivers are required to maintain control of their vehicles during operation. Failure to do so can lead to accidents. A broad range of behavior behind the wheel including speeding, drifting out of lanes, and leaving the roadway can be considered a failure to maintain control.
- Regularly inspect and maintain their vehicles— Before getting on the road, drivers should ensure that the essential functions of their car are working correctly. Drivers should verify they have working lights, sufficient engine fluid and oil, properly inflated tires, and more. Drivers must get their cars inspected regularly to ensure that they are safe to operate.
Car Accident Statistics in California
Motor vehicle fatalities have increased in California in recent years, with almost 4,000 deaths from car accidents most years. California car accidents also result in nearly 200,000 injuries every year. Inattention remains a high contributor to accidents, with cell phone usage a leading cause. Alcohol and drug usage also contribute to many of the fatalities and injuries on California roads.
The California Highway Patrol states that a fatal or injury traffic crash was reported every three minutes in a recent year. Most traffic-related fatalities in California involve passenger vehicles, though small trucks and motorcycles also account for smaller portions of traffic deaths.
Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in California
Most car accidents in California are caused by some form of driver negligence, including the following:
- Speeding— Motorists who exceed the speed limit or drive too fast for conditions put themselves and everyone else on the road at risk. Force increases with speed, which means that the faster a vehicle is traveling at the time of a collision, the greater the damage and injuries it will cause.
- Distracted driving— There are three main types of distracted driving: cognitive, manual, and visual. Distracted driving includes any activity that causes a driver to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or focus off driving. Common driving distractions include texting or talking on the phone, chatting with passengers, eating and drinking, engaging in personal grooming, using a GPS, and adjusting the radio.
- Intoxicated driving— Drinking and using drugs impair judgment, concentration, and reaction times, all of which can have deadly consequences behind the wheel. Impaired driving causes about 28 traffic fatalities every day in the United States, according to the NHTSA.
- Tailgating— Tailgating occurs when a driver follows another vehicle too closely. Tailgating is the leading cause of rear-end accidents. If a motorist follows another vehicle too closely and the car in front suddenly stops or slows down, they may not have sufficient time to adjust their speed before a collision.
- Failure to yield— Drivers who fail to yield to oncoming traffic or pedestrians crossing intersections can cause catastrophic accidents.
- Reckless driving— Reckless driving is a broad term that includes road rage and aggressive driving, such as racing, weaving in and out of traffic, unsafe lane changes, and ignoring traffic signs. Such behavior dramatically increases the likelihood of a collision.
- Fatigued driving— Like intoxication, fatigue can cause impaired judgment and delayed reaction time. Fatigued drivers may also have a harder time focusing on the road, which can lead to accidents.
Most Common Injuries in Car Accidents
Some of the most common injuries sustained as the result of car accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries— Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, occur due to a violent blow to the head, such as when a motorist’s head collides with the steering wheel in a crash. They range in severity from minor concussions to life-threatening hematomas. However, even minor TBIs can cause long-lasting damage and neurological effects.
- Soft-tissue injuries— Soft-tissue injuries such as whiplash occur when ligaments, tendons, and muscles are torn.
- Broken bones— Car accidents commonly result in fractured bones. These injuries may require surgery and rehabilitative care.
- Internal injuries— Internal injuries include ruptured organs and punctured lungs, which can be life-threatening if not treated quickly.
- Burns— If a car accident victim is exposed to toxic chemicals or fire, they may suffer burns. This often results in serious injury and permanent disfigurement.
If you were injured in a Newport Beach car accident, you could be entitled to compensation for any medical expenses you incurred after the crash. This includes their past and future treatment and any other ways they have impacted you financially.
Filing a Claim for a Car Accident Case
If you have been in a car accident caused by a negligent motorist, you could file a third-party insurance claim for compensation against the at-fault driver. To do so, you should follow these steps:
- Seek medical attention— Most insurance companies expect you to see a healthcare professional within 72 hours after a crash. If you don’t, they may argue that your injuries did not stem from the accident and therefore are not covered.
- Contact your own insurer— Even if you weren’t at fault for the accident, you should contact your insurer to let them know what happened. Avoid speaking with the other driver’s insurance company until you’ve consulted with a personal injury attorney.
- Gather documents— Determine what documents you need to file your claim. You will likely need a copy of the police report from the accident and a “proof of claim” form.
- Review deadlines— You should determine whether the insurance company has a time limit for filing and resolving claims.
- Supply necessary information— Communicate with the insurance adjuster and provide only the essential information regarding the collision. You should also be meticulous as you fill out any necessary paperwork to ensure you don’t make any mistakes that could affect your claim. Furthermore, you should maintain a file that includes proof of all your expenses and other documents related to your claim.
- Contact a Newport Beach car accident attorney — Lastly, but crucially, you should consult with an experienced car accident injury lawyer in California as soon as possible. They can handle the entire claims process for you while you focus on your recovery. Dealing with insurance companies can be stressful. An attorney can see that your paperwork is filed on time and can even negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
If you cannot recover fair compensation through insurance, you may still have grounds to pursue legal action. This is when a California car accident lawyer will be essential. They will evaluate what compensation you’re entitled to and assist you with the next course of action. An attorney can also help determine who is at fault and prove the other party’s negligence.
Contact Sam & Ash Today
Have you been injured in a Newport Beach car accident? Was someone else to blame? If so, the attorneys at Sam & Ash Injury Law are prepared to help determine your legal rights and seek the compensation available by law.
Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate the accident that caused your injuries, gather evidence to support your case, determine liability, document and calculate the losses you suffered, and aggressively pursue just compensation for you. If we cannot reach a fair settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, we will not hesitate to fight your case in court.
Contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation. You deserve What’s Right.