Car accidents happen in Riverside and throughout California for many reasons, and drivers who experience these incidents can face very difficult legal proceedings as they seek compensation for the losses they suffered. Unfortunately, many traffic accidents each year are fatal, and it is vital to know the most common causes of traffic fatalities in Riverside and the biggest risk factors you face on local roads.
If you have lost a family member in a recent car accident in Riverside, you have the right to pursue compensation for wrongful death against the driver who caused the accident. The right attorney can be invaluable for this case, and the sooner you connect with an attorney you can trust, the more likely you are to succeed with your recovery efforts.
Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in Riverside
Accident data gathered by the California Highway Patrol, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and various other state and federal agencies report the leading causes of accidents in Riverside and throughout the state each year. According to the most recent data, the most common causes of car accidents include:
- Speeding, which reduces how much time and distance a driver will have to slow down, swerve, or stop to avoid a hazard in the road. Any measure of speeding is dangerous, and speeding consistently ranks as a top cause of traffic fatalities across the country each year.
- Distracted driving. Whenever a driver is not paying attention behind the wheel, they are endangering themselves and others around them. California has banned the use of cell phones while driving without the use of a hands-free device, but distracted driving continues to be a leading cause of accidents in Riverside and surrounding communities each year.
- Moving violations. Drivers are expected to heed posted traffic signals and know how to navigate traffic safely. When drivers commit moving violations like running red lights or stop signs, performing illegal turns, or failing to yield the right-of-way where appropriate, they can easily cause devastating accidents.
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol. This is the most common type of illegal behavior responsible for car accidents in Riverside each year. Whenever a driver causes an accident because of DUI, they face various penalties, including fines, jail time, and suspension of their driver’s license. If they cause a fatal injury, they face felony prosecution and significantly increased penalties.
Traffic fatalities can happen unexpectedly in many ways, leaving the family of the victim wondering what they can do to ensure accountability for the fatal accident and how they can recover from the financial impact of the unexpected death. The standard process of recovering from a car accident is to file an auto insurance claim against the at-fault driver before proceeding with a personal injury claim if insurance can’t fully cover the victim’s damages. However, if a person dies from an accident that someone else caused, their family must prepare to file a wrongful death claim in place of the personal injury claim the victim could have filed if they survived.
Q: Which State Has the Highest Traffic Fatality Rate?
A: Statewide traffic fatality rates are measured by comparing the total number of fatal accidents reported to the number of residents in the state. According to the most recently available traffic fatality statistics, Mississippi has the highest traffic accident fatality rate in the country, with a death rate of 22.2 deaths per 100,000 people. The state consistently ranks high for total traffic fatalities each year due to the much greater number of drivers in the state compared to most other states, but the fatal accident rate per 100,000 residents is roughly equivalent to the national average.
Q: What Is the Leading Cause of Traffic Fatalities?
A: Vehicle accidents can happen in many ways, but the most commonly reported cause of traffic fatalities is speeding. Whenever a driver exceeds the speed limit, they not only increase their risk of causing an accident but also the severity of the resulting damages. The risk of fatal injury increases dramatically with excessive speeding.
Q: How Do I Prove Fault for an Accident?
A: Before you can recover compensation for an accident someone else caused, you must prove the exact cause of the accident. You must also show the full extent of the damages you suffered and prove that they directly resulted from the defendant’s actions and not some other cause. Your attorney can help gather evidence from the scene of the crash, digital records, and traffic camera footage to help meet the burden of proof for your recovery efforts. Eyewitness testimony can also be invaluable for proving fault for a car accident.
Q: Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
A: If your loved one recently died in a fatal vehicle accident that someone else caused, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death suit against the at-fault driver. State law requires the personal representative of the deceased’s estate to file the wrongful death claim. If they did not have an estate, their surviving spouse, child, or other close relative can file the claim. If they have no close family, anyone who can prove a legal claim on the contents of their estate may be eligible to file a wrongful death suit.
Q: Will a Driver Go to Jail for Causing a Fatal Accident in Riverside?
A: If a driver causes an accident resulting in death, they are likely to face a wrongful death suit from the victim’s family. If they caused the accident through any type of illegal misconduct or egregious negligence outside the extent of typical negligence, this could lead to criminal charges as well. DUI is one of the most common examples of this, and penalties for DUI conviction escalate dramatically when a defendant has killed someone with their intoxicated driving.
The attorneys at Easton & Easton are ready to provide the legal counsel you need in the aftermath of a fatal car accident in Riverside. If your loved one recently died because of the negligence or misconduct of another motorist, we can help file your wrongful death suit to hold them accountable. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our team and learn more about how our firm can assist you with your case.