In San Bernardino and across California, car accidents are consistently among the top reported causes of accidental injuries and deaths year after year. Accidents can happen unexpectedly for various reasons, and statistics gathered by the California Highway Patrol and various other agencies show the leading causes of accidents and traffic fatalities each year.
While no driver can accurately predict the actions of other drivers 100% of the time, knowing the most common causes of accidents can potentially help you avoid an accident or at least limit your risk of causing one. Under the state’s liability laws, the driver responsible for causing an accident absorbs liability for all resulting damages.
Most Common Causes of Accidents in San Bernardino
Drivers in San Bernardino face risks every time they drive through the area. Accidents can happen at high speed on highways and freeways, but there is also a chance for lower-speed accidents on residential and rural roads to cause devastating damages. According to the most recent accident data for San Bernardino, a few of the most commonly reported causes of motor vehicle accidents in the area include:
- Distracted driving. Whenever a driver becomes distracted in any way, their risk of causing an accident increases significantly. Cell phone use is the most common type of distracted driving despite the state’s law banning cell phone use while driving without the use of a hands-free device.
- This is not only a leading cause of all accidents but also the primary contributing factor in most fatal accidents each year.
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. This is illegal and punishable by fines, jail time, and driver’s license suspension. The sentence for a DUI conviction will increase significantly if the defendant has injured or killed someone with their actions.
These are just a few possible ways for car accidents to happen. Whenever any accident occurs, the injured party must know the state’s rules for resolving the case and recovering the compensation they need to account for their damages.
Recovering From an Accident in San Bernardino
California law requires every driver to have auto insurance that meets basic coverage requirements for bodily injury and property damage. Once you succeed in proving fault for an accident, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, seeking compensation for the damages they caused. However, this may not be an easy process, or the at-fault driver may not have insurance at all. The state has one of the highest statewide rates of uninsured drivers in the country.
An experienced car accident attorney can help maximize your insurance claim settlement, resolving any problems you encounter in your interactions with the insurance company. After you secure a settlement, you can proceed with filing a personal injury claim if the at-fault driver’s insurance cannot fully cover your damages.
If you have lost a family member in a fatal vehicle accident, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver. This civil claim will essentially replace the personal injury claim the victim could have filed if they had survived. There are special rules for wrongful death claims, and only certain individuals have the right to file these claims.
Q: What Is the Leading Cause of Traffic Fatalities?
A: According to available accident data from across the state, speeding continues to be the leading cause of traffic fatalities each year. Exceeding the posted speed limit increases a driver’s risk of causing an accident because they will have less time and space to avoid a collision if traffic patterns suddenly change. Accidents that happen at very high speeds have the greatest chance of causing catastrophic or fatal injuries.
Q: Which County Has the Most Car Accidents?
A: Statewide accident data from every county in California indicates that Los Angeles County reports the highest countywide accident rate each year. Los Angeles is one of the largest counties in the country by size and population, and traffic is notoriously congested throughout the entire county but especially in and around the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
Q: Can I Sue for a Car Accident?
A: The state upholds the fault system for resolving motor vehicle accidents. This means that whoever causes an accident faces liability for all resulting damages. If another driver is responsible for causing your recent accident, your first option for recovering your losses is to file a claim against their auto insurance policy. If you cannot fully recover through insurance alone, you have the right to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your outstanding damages.
Q: What Happens When Drivers Share Fault for an Accident?
A: If you believe you share partial responsibility for causing your recent accident, the state’s pure comparative negligence rule would apply in your subsequent personal injury case. For example, if you bear 25% fault and the other driver bears 75% fault, they are responsible for 75% of the damages claimed in the case, while you are responsible for the remaining 25%. When a plaintiff is assigned a fault percentage, it is deducted as a penalty from their final case award.
Q: Do I Need to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident?
A: There is no law that requires you to hire legal counsel for a car accident case, but legal counsel you can trust significantly increases your chances of maximizing your recovery in the most efficient manner possible. Your attorney can make every aspect of your recovery efforts easier to manage and more likely to generate the results you hope to see.
The attorneys at Easton & Easton have years of professional experience helping car accident victims recover in San Bernardino and surrounding areas. We know the various legal challenges you might encounter in the aftermath of a recent accident and want to help you approach your recovery efforts with confidence and peace of mind. Contact our team today to schedule a consultation with an attorney you can trust to guide you through your recovery efforts.