Anaheim is one of the busiest metropolitan areas of California. Traffic collisions are more common in densely populated, busy areas. According to data from the Anaheim Police, the city of Anaheim averages just over 5,000 motor vehicle accidents each year. While high, this number only accounts for accidents that occur within Anaheim city limits. It is safe to assume the accident rate for Anaheim and the surrounding suburban and residential areas is actually much higher. All drivers in the Anaheim area must know how accidents happen and do their best to avoid them.
Accident Data for the City of Anaheim
The Anaheim Police have also reported on the actual cost of motor vehicle accidents in the city of Anaheim. For every person killed in a motor vehicle accident, another eight are hospitalized. Another 99 are discharged from emergency rooms after receiving care. Anaheim’s accident rate was on a slow increase between 2014 and 2016 until a dramatic uptick in 2017. Since then, the motor vehicle accident rate in Anaheim has been steadily decreasing. Despite this improvement, it is still essential for all drivers to use caution on the road and do their best to avoid accidents.
Not all traffic accidents occur from intentional recklessness and dangerous driving. Many accidents happen from honest mistakes, momentary carelessness, and simple negligence. When these accidents occur, injured drivers must know their legal options and the value of experienced professional representation.
Determining Fault for an Accident
There are many ways motor vehicle accidents happen and how an accident occurs often informs the legal implications the incident could have. Some of the most common reasons that accidents happen in the Anaheim area include:
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and/or drugs. DUI is incredibly dangerous for the impaired driver and everyone around them. DUI accidents have a greater chance of causing severe bodily injuries and deaths as impaired drivers are more likely to speed and make severe moving violations. A driver who causes a severe accident due to DUI will be not only liable for any victims’ civil damages but also face criminal prosecution. DUI conviction can lead to fines, jail time, and suspension of driving privileges.
- Speeding and aggressive driving. Every driver on the road has a duty to operate their vehicle responsibly. Unfortunately, some drivers are aggressive or rush to their destinations without regard for others around them. If a driver causes an accident due to committing a moving violation, they will likely face criminal prosecution in addition to liability for victims’ damages.
- Distracted driving. California has enacted strict laws forbidding the use of cell phones behind the wheel. Drivers may only use their phones with the assistance of hands-free or Bluetooth devices, and violations of this law can lead to severe penalties. If you or a loved one has an accident due to another driver improperly using their cell phone or failing to pay attention to the road, call our firm. Your Anaheim car accident attorney can help you secure evidence to prove their liability.
- Poor visibility. Driving at night is inherently more dangerous than driving during the day. While many roads in the Anaheim area are well-lit at night, poor weather conditions and failure to use headlights when appropriate can potentially lead to severe accidents. Traffic collisions that occur due to poor visibility often raise complex questions of liability.
- Poor road conditions. Sometimes a road that is in poor shape can cause an accident, such as a damaged road surface suddenly blowing out a driver’s tire or unfinished road markings causing confusion that results in a collision. If a government entity such as a municipality or the California Department of Transportation is responsible for care and maintenance of the road where such an accident occurs, filing a claim against a government agency is very different than taking legal action against another private party. It is essential to have legal representation from an experienced Anaheim car accident lawyer if you must file a claim for damages against any government entity.
When a driver is injured due to the negligence, carelessness, or intentionally dangerous behavior of another driver, the driver responsible for causing the accident is responsible for the victim’s damages.
A car accident of any kind can be a damaging and traumatic experience. Some accidents can cause damages that negatively affect a person’s life for many years to come or even result in permanent disability or death. If you need legal counsel following an accident in the Anaheim, CA area, the legal team at Easton & Easton can help you determine the best path to recovery.
Negligence and other factors put California drivers among worst
When researchers assess driver behaviors and study statistics to determine the safest and most dangerous areas in the United States, there are many factors that are considered. To be as accurate as possible, the numbers must be quantified after they have been accrued. With that, it is a worrisome result when a new study said California is among the worst when it comes to safe driving.
This information can be important when there is an auto accident with injuries or a fatal auto accident. Having legal advice to investigate the case is imperative. The study by Smart Asset placed California as having the third worst drivers in the U.S. behind Mississippi and Alabama. The numbers that led to this placement are troubling.
A significant number of drivers in California exceed the speed limit and get many traffic tickets. It is obvious that if drivers are speeding or flouting the law in other ways, it will be harder for them to stop in slow traffic or if an unforeseen event occurs. In addition, speed increases the damage that comes with a crash. The state came in sixth in that category. Also, only 84.80 percent of drivers are insured.
Another concern is the number of DUIs that are given in the state. For every 1,000 drivers, there were 4.59 DUIs. This is among the highest in the nation. Alcohol can reduce reaction time and cause people to make decisions they otherwise would not have made. After a crash, there can be major medical expenses, lost time at work and even fatalities. These levels of negligence come with a cost and people who have been hurt in a collision should be cognizant of that.
Those who have been in an auto accident or lost a loved one in a crash should think about these statistics as they can be critical to a successful legal filing. A law firm that has experience in helping Californians after an auto accident should be consulted with to determine the preferable course of action in pursuing a lawsuit.
Danger looms in parking lots, private drives and public roadways
Motor vehicles have never had the amount of safety equipment in them that they do today. Despite airbags, anti-collision warning systems and improved construction, people continue to lose their lives in accidents at an alarming rate. Preliminary data indicates a 1 percent decrease in driving-related deaths in 2017, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that 2016 and 2017 saw the highest death rates in nearly 50 years.
This also doesn’t take into consideration the approximately 4.57 million people injured severely enough to substantiate a trip to the hospital last year. Every life saved and every injury not suffered makes a difference. That’s why the National Safety Council released its recommendations to help keep drivers safe in 2018.
Reducing the dangers
In order to reduce the likelihood of collisions, the NSC recommends the following:
- You could join the NSC’s “Road to Zero” initiative, which outlines what safety professionals believe will help reduce the number of fatalities.
- You could practice defensive driving, which includes avoiding drowsy or distracted driving, using your seatbelt and making alternative arrangements to get home if you drink.
- You could petition your legislators to improve traffic laws, which may improve safety on the roads.
- You could do some research regarding the dangers of drugged driving, especially now that California passed a law allowing recreational marijuana use and the prevalence of opioid abuse here and across the country.
- You could learn more about your vehicle’s safety systems to make them work better for you.
- You could help instill good driving habits if you have teenagers in your home who drive.
Understanding the dangers you face and knowing how to avoid them may just save your life.
You can’t always beat the odds
Even when you diligently safeguard your safety, along with the safety of your passengers and everyone else you share the roads with, other drivers may not take their duty as seriously. You may still end up suffering serious injuries in a crash due to another person’s poor judgment. You could find yourself facing thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages, along with other damages to your personal, professional and financial lives.
The last thing you need as you recover from your injuries and attempt to get back to your life is the added stress of worrying about your financial future. You may exercise your right to file a personal injury claim against the party or parties you believe responsible for your injuries.
What are the costs of car accidents in California?
Most people in the Orange County area probably have been involved in or at least know someone who has been involved in an auto accident. Even those people who do not fit into either of these categories should be aware of the possibility of an accident while they are on the roadways.
Motor vehicle accidents are a common occurrence throughout California, just like they are almost everywhere else in the country. Car accidents come with a variety of consequences, including injuries, medical expenses and property damage. When it comes to fatal car accidents alone, the impact is enormous. But in terms of economic loss, what are the real costs of accidents in California?
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal car accidents in California caused more than $4 billion of costs in a single year alone. While this data is from back in 2005, it still illustrates the staggering economic impact of fatal automobile accidents.
In addition to medical expenses and property damage, fatal accidents come with the heavy cost of loss of economic productivity. In other words, when a person dies suddenly in a car crash, all of their years of potential economic productivity, through work and earnings, are instantly gone.
A person’s individual contributions to their local and state economies can be greater than they might expect. Of course when a person’s life is cut short by a fatal accident, economic costs may be the least of anyone’s concerns. Family members and friends have to come to grips with losing their loved one and trying to move on with life.
Too many Californians die each year in car accidents, and many of these accidents are caused by a driver’s negligence. The good news is that people can prevent fatal car accidents by paying attention to the road and cutting down on speeding and other dangerous driving habits. Avoiding negligent behavior while driving can save lives and money.
Are Headlights the Key to Accident Reduction?
Nobody wants to get into a car accident. These events are aptly named, being that they happen by mistake. We all behave in certain ways to mitigate the chances of an accident occurring, such as signaling turns and lane changes, wearing sunglasses on bright days, driving slowly in blizzards and storms, and keeping our eyes on the road instead of on our phones. Though none of these are guarantees that an accident won’t occur, they certainly reduce the chances and ensure that we’re doing all we can to avoid a disaster.
Because new information is constantly becoming available, there may be a new way to reduce the chances of getting into an auto accident. Studies suggest that turning on your car’s headlights during the day may reduce your chances of an accident by nearly 10%, a pretty significant difference for the minimal effort required.
Many people understand the logic behind using headlights at night and during inclement weather; when visibility is decreased, you must do everything in your power to show other drivers where you are. In many states, headlights are required during both of these times, and fines and penalties can be enacted if the laws are not obeyed. However, it’s harder for many people to grasp why turning on your headlights during the day could help them avoid accidents. The answer is the same as in all other headlight scenarios: better visibility.
Even on a clear day, others are much more likely to spot your vehicle if the lights are on. While car on car crashes are reduced by around 6%, pedestrian collisions are reduced by 12%, and motorcycle accidents go down by a whopping 23% when vehicles have their lights on. Essentially, the more eye-catching your car is, the higher the likelihood that others will see and react to your actions, so if you aren’t able to react to their mistake, they can react to your driving.
Many countries are implementing policies that require all drivers to have their headlights on at all times, all with wild success. Canada decreased auto accidents by 12% by this method, where Denmark saw a 37% reduction in left-turn related accidents alone. The data is not to be ignored. This method may make roads significantly safer and keep injuries and fatalities to a minimum. While some countries require daytime headlights, the majority of cars being produced worldwide do not have an automatic daytime headlight feature. In the United States, this feature is not required of auto manufacturers at all, despite incidents of drowsy driving and low visibility.
Worth the Effort
If there is any debate to be had on this front, it’s over the requirement of a feature that doesn’t come standard in cars. To achieve this setting, drivers would have to turn on the lights themselves. Many people are not used to doing this, as lots of cars turn lights on automatically during the appropriate times. However, with such a low risk, high reward situation, it’s possible that lawmakers will make the jump to require daytime headlight use for all. Drivers will have to get accustomed to ensuring that their lights are on, even if they don’t automatically turn on.
Many people are concerned about the price of running headlights all of the time instead of only at night and in the rain. Many people use their car primarily to commute to and from work, meaning that most of their driving happens in the daytime. Right now, these people rarely use their headlights. With new laws on the line, many worry about the potential bulb and replacement costs of running their car’s lights all of the time. Though this is a valid concern, the reality does not reflect a significant investment to turn on your headlights during the day. The maximum average yearly cost of running headlights in the daytime is $40, and this price reflects a very specific and more expensive kind of bulb. Many people will only be spending $3 more annually. Both of these prices are a minuscule amount when compared with yearly costs of accidents and fatalities. For only $3 per year, you could be saving someone’s life.
For all of your road law and auto accident needs, be sure to consult with a lawyer you trust. The law offices of Easton & Easton have extensive experience in personal injury law and specialize in auto accident claims. No issue is too big or too small for our firm to handle.
5 Pieces of Advice from Car Accident Victims
Car accidents are, unfortunately, common in the United States. They happen for all kinds of reasons, from severe weather and poor road conditions to driving under the influence of alcohol and aggressive driving. Car accident victims experience a wide range of injuries, trauma, and economic losses. Their combined experiences can help drivers who experience accidents for the first time minimize their losses and navigate their legal issues with greater confidence. The following five tips are the biggest pieces of advice car accident victims can impart to other drivers.
One: Always Wear Your Seat Belt
It’s a fact that seatbelts save lives. No matter how old you are or how much experience you have behind the wheel, buckling up your seatbelt before you start your car could mean the difference between minor cuts and bruises and permanent disability or death. If you fail to use your seatbelt and you have a serious accident with another vehicle, you may be thrown from your vehicle. The force of impact will throw your body violently around the inside of your car, increasing the chances of you suffering serious or fatal injuries.
Wearing a seatbelt is also required by law, and following the law reduces your potential liability in the event your accident leads to a lawsuit against another driver. California’s pure comparative negligence law may come into play if an investigation reveals you were not wearing your seatbelt during an accident. A judge may decide your failure to wear your seatbelt constitutes negligence on your part, thereby reducing your case award.
Two: Seek Medical Care After a Crash, Even If You Think You Don’t Need It
Many drivers have experienced car crashes and emerged seemingly without a scratch only to find they cannot move out of bed the next day. The experience of a car accident can send adrenaline surging through your bloodstream, and adrenaline dulls pain. You could have suffered a serious injury but cannot feel it immediately after your accident due to the effects of adrenaline. See your doctor as soon as possible after a car accident.
Your doctor will be able to identify potentially hidden injuries and provide you with medical guidance for managing yourself safely after the incident. The medical report you receive could become invaluable if you decide to pursue an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who caused your accident and will establish grounds for claiming compensation for your medical expenses and pain and suffering.
Three: Gather as Much Evidence as You Can
You might have a few minutes between the moment of impact and the arrival of emergency responders to your crash site. If you are able to do so safely, it’s a good idea to gather as much evidence as possible from the scene of the crash. Use your smartphone to take photos of the accident scene, including the resting positions of the vehicles on the road, skid marks that indicate braking patterns, damage to your vehicle, and your injuries right after you sustained them. You may want to also take photos of nearby landmarks. This evidence will help investigators form a clearer picture of the accident and how it played out, and it could be crucial in a future personal injury lawsuit.
Four: Don’t Talk to Insurance Companies Without Legal Representation
Car accidents often involve dealing with insurance companies. If another driver caused your accident, California law allows you to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy to collect compensation for your losses. Insurance companies do everything they can to reduce claim payments or deny claims whenever possible. Hiring an attorney significantly reduces the chances of an insurance company pushing back against a legitimate claim, and your attorney can even handle correspondence with insurance companies on your behalf to streamline the claims and investigation processes.
Five: Hire an Attorney as Soon as Possible After Your Accident
California law allows for a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including those resulting from car accidents caused by negligent drivers. This may sound like a generous timeframe for pursuing compensation for your losses, but it’s vital to act quickly as the legal process of suing another driver is not as expedient as many would hope. As soon as you address your immediate medical concerns following an accident, contact a reliable and experienced attorney to help you determine your options for legal recourse.
The attorneys at Easton & Easton have successfully handled countless personal injury claims resulting from car accidents in Orange County, and we can put our experience to work in your case. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our attorneys to have a better understanding of your legal options following a car accident.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “State-Based Costs of Deaths from Crashes,” Accessed on Nov. 6, 2015