A “personal injury” is a legal term used to describe any situation in which one person’s negligent action (or inaction, in some cases) directly causes an injury or economic loss to another person. Personal injuries can happen in many different places from many different circumstances. If you are wondering where most personal injuries happen in Irvine, the answer is the road.
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of personal injury claims throughout the United States. Every year, thousands of people suffer injuries and many die in car accidents, leading to astronomical financial costs across the country. If you want to limit your risk of dealing with a personal injury claim, it’s essential to know the risks of car accidents around you and do your best to prevent them from happening.
Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in Irvine, CA
The traffic laws and road signals in California exist to help drivers anticipate the actions of other drivers and handle their vehicles as safely as possible. Unfortunately, not all drivers heed posted traffic signals or drive safely for road conditions, often leading to accidents. Some of the most commonly cited causes of car accidents in Irvine include:
- Distracted driving. This is the leading cause of all traffic accidents throughout the United States. When drivers do not pay close enough attention to the road, even for a few seconds, they can easily cause devastating car accidents.
- Drunk driving. Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is extremely dangerous and illegal. If a driver causes an accident because of DUI, they will not only be responsible for any damages they cause to others, but also face criminal prosecution.
- Speeding. Posted speed limits are not suggestions; they indicate the safest maximum speeds for drivers on a particular road. While it may be common to see drivers slightly exceed posted speed limits to maintain a steady flow of traffic, excessive speeding is incredibly dangerous and can easily cause a deadly accident.
- Vehicle defects and defective parts. Some car accidents occur because of defective parts or manufacturing defects within the vehicle itself. If this occurs, the manufacturer could face a product liability claim from those injured by the accident.
- Moving violations. Aside from speeding, moving violations, in general, are another commonly cited cause of car accidents. Failing to use turn signals where appropriate, running stop signs and red lights, and improper lane changes are just a few of the moving violations that can easily result in accidents.
These are just a few of the ways that car accidents happen in Irvine. While you cannot always predict how other drivers will behave around you, you do have the responsibility of refraining from dangerous maneuvers behind the wheel and to drive as safely as possible. California has a pure comparative negligence law, so if a driver contributes to causing an accident but another driver is clearly more at fault, they can still recover compensation, but they will lose a portion of their case award to reflect their fault. Simply put, it is always best to drive as safely and responsibly as possible, so you do not incur any liability for an accident.
Tips for Limiting Your Risk of Having a Car Accident
If you want to be as safe as possible behind the wheel, there are several tips you should keep in mind every time you drive:
- Don’t rush. Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination so you will not feel tempted to speed or become frustrated by an unexpected traffic jam.
- Never drink and drive. Always refrain from getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, even if you only feel slightly tipsy. Alcohol dramatically impairs spatial awareness and reaction time. Additionally, refrain from driving after taking any prescription medications that may interfere with your ability to drive safely.
- Drive defensively. “Defensive” driving means operating your vehicle as safely as possible, eliminating distractions, and following the rules of the road at all times.
- Disengage from aggressive drivers. Road rage can easily cause devastating accidents. If you encounter an aggressive driver on the road, do your best to distance yourself from them and do not engage if they attempt to antagonize you.
- Leave space between vehicles. Rear-end collisions are some of the most common car accidents in California. Do not follow the car ahead of you too closely. A good rule is to leave about one car length of space for every 10mph of driving speed. This provides ample room to slow down or stop if the car in front of you suddenly brakes.
Hopefully, these tips will help you limit your risk of causing a car accident. Unfortunately, you can’t always prevent other drivers from causing collisions with your vehicle. When such an incident occurs, you need to know your rights and your options for legal recourse.
Personal Injury Law After Car Accidents in Irvine
California state law requires all drivers to have auto insurance, and an insurance claim is typically the first step toward recovering from a car accident. However, a minimum coverage policy may not fully cover the entire scope of an injured driver’s damages. Dealing with insurance companies is difficult enough, but if the at-fault driver’s policy is insufficient for your damages, you will need to take further legal action against the driver in the form of a personal injury claim.
Succeeding with your personal injury claim requires identifying the driver responsible for your accident, proving they were negligent in some way that directly caused the accident, and providing a complete list of all your resulting damages. You must also show that your damages directly resulted from their negligence and not some other cause. A successful personal injury claim can potentially yield compensation far beyond what you could secure from an insurance settlement.
At Easton & Easton, our team has years of experience guiding our clients in Irvine, CA through a wide range of personal injury claims, including many different types of car accident claims. Our team can not only help you with your auto insurance claim, but also assist you in your personal injury proceedings to maximize your recovery. If you need legal counsel following a car accident in Irvine, CA, we are ready to help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our team and learn more about your legal options.