Car accidents happen every day in California for a wide variety of reasons. Whenever an accident happens because of the actions of a driver, that driver becomes liable for any and all damages they inflict on others. Every driver in California must understand their responsibilities while driving to reduce their risk of causing accidents, but it is also vital for drivers to know the biggest risks they face while driving and the most common causes of accidents in the state.
Commonly Reported Causes of Car Crashes in California
Many agencies at the state and federal levels collect accident data, compiling reports that show the greatest risks drivers face on the road. For example, in California, a few commonly cited causes of vehicle crashes each year are:
- Inattentive driving. Distracted driving is the most commonly reported cause of all vehicle accidents in the country each year. Distracted driving takes many forms and includes any activities that take the driver’s eyes, hands, and attention away from operating their vehicle safely.
- Reckless driving. Unfortunately, some drivers engage in intentional moving violations and various reckless behaviors while driving. Whenever a driver causes an accident in this manner, they face criminal prosecution along with civil liability for the damages they inflict on others.
- Driving under the influence (DUI). It is illegal for any driver to operate their vehicle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, and the penalties for a DUI conviction can include jail time, fines, and loss of driving privileges. In addition, penalties for DUI automatically increase when the driver at fault has caused an accident and harmed or killed someone else while driving under the influence.
- Moving violations. Whenever a driver disrupts traffic flow, they can startle other drivers. Traffic signs and road signals intend to allow drivers to anticipate the actions of other drivers nearby. Failure to yield the right of way, performing an illegal turn, or running through a stop sign or red light are just a few ways moving violations can cause serious accidents.
- Speeding. Speeding past the posted speed limit inherently increases the risk of causing an accident as well as the seriousness of any resulting damages. Speeding may not only lead to liability for another driver’s damages if an accident occurs, but excessive speeding can lead to a reckless driving charge as well.
- Vehicle malfunctions. Drivers must address known mechanical issues with their vehicles once they notice them. Failure to do so could lead to liability for a resulting accident. However, it is also possible for a mechanic to face liability for an accident for failing to perform vehicle maintenance correctly, and it is possible for the manufacturer of a defective vehicle or part to face a product liability claim if their faulty product causes an accident.
No matter how your recent car accident happened, your recovery process will likely begin with an auto insurance claim against the driver at fault. If this is not enough to fully compensate your losses, you will need to file a personal injury claim against the driver who injured you. For both your auto insurance claim and a subsequent personal injury claim, success with your recovery efforts will require proving fault for the incident in question. The attorneys at Easton & Easton comprise a team of attorneys ready to assist you with the recovery efforts you must attempt in response to an accident another driver caused in California.
Q: What Is the Most Common Cause of Car Accidents in California?
A: Distracted driving consistently ranks as the most commonly reported cause of all motor vehicle accidents in California and across the United States each year. Cell phone use specifically is responsible for most of the accidents in the state, despite the fact that California has banned the use of cell phones while driving without the use of hands-free devices.
Q: What Is the Most Reliable Way to Avoid Car Accidents in California?
A: Defensive driving is a great method for reducing your risk of causing a car accident. This entails maintaining situational awareness, abiding by traffic signs and signals, and disengaging from dangerous situations safely. While many accidents can occur due to the unpredictable actions of others while driving, you can take steps to reduce your own risk of causing an accident.
Q: What Should I Do Immediately After a Car Accident?
A: Your personal well-being should be your first concern after a car accident, so check yourself for injuries and do not move if you are severely injured. Next, make sure the accident has been reported to 911 and wait for first responders. Once you are allowed to leave, seek medical care immediately, even if you think you only sustained minor injuries. After addressing your medical needs, reach out to legal counsel you can trust to help you recover your damages.
Q: What Happens if a Car Accident Causes a Fatal Injury?
A: If you have lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, you likely have grounds to file a wrongful death claim against the driver who caused the accident. This type of civil suit is very similar to a personal injury claim with some unique differences, and it is vital to have an experienced attorney assist you with this emotionally challenging case.
Q: Do I Need to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident?
A: If your accident only resulted in minor vehicle damage, it’s possible to resolve the issue on your own through insurance. However, if you suffered any serious injuries, if your damages exceed available insurance coverage, or if the driver at fault contests liability, you will need to have an attorney assist you in resolving these issues. Therefore, it’s always worth investing in legal counsel you can trust if you want to recover as fully as possible from your accident.
The attorneys at Easton & Easton have years of experience handling all types of car accident claims on behalf of clients throughout California. We know the challenges you face when it comes to securing compensation for your damages, and our goal is to help you recover as fully as state law allows. Contact us and schedule a consultation with our team today to learn more about the professional legal services we offer.