The Most Common Causes Of Collisions
October 23, 2021
There are many causes of traffic collisions in the United States. Negligent drivers cause thousands of deaths and millions of serious injuries every year. Injury victims need to enforce their legal rights against dangerous drivers – not only to ensure they get the compensation they legally deserve for their injuries but also to help keep public roads safer for everyone to use. Regardless of why a driver was negligent, they can be held accountable for the damage and financial losses they cause.
Here are some of the most common causes of collisions:
Distracted driving has quickly become one of the biggest public safety threats across the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about eight people lose their lives every day in distracted driving accidents. 2,800 people died because of distracted drivers, and an estimated 400,000 suffered injuries from distracted drivers in a single year. That is nearly half a million American families who felt a deep impact from the negligent actions of another person.
These losses cost billions of dollars in medical bills and lost productivity. While public information campaigns regularly target distracted driving, individual drivers must choose to ignore distractions in the vehicle. To this end, injury victims must hold distracted drivers accountable for the damage they cause. Personal injury claims not only enforce an injury victim’s legal right to compensation but also act as a deterrent to future distracted drivers. This helps make the road safer for everyone.
The recent spike in distracted driving has been largely due to the many electronic devices that are in the vehicle at all times. Drivers not only have their cell phones, smartwatches, and tablets with them but multiple electronic systems come with a vehicle. The navigation program, entertainment systems, and old-fashioned radio can all take a driver’s attention away from the road where it belongs.
The law prohibits text-related activities and requires drivers to operate their vehicles with due care. This means it is the driver’s responsibility to not answer calls, texts, or emails while driving. A driver must also not get distracted by the car’s built-in systems. When they do, they cause accidents that injure – and even kill – innocent bystanders.
New electronics and technology are not the only things that can distract a driver from the road. A common problem is “rubbernecking.” Any time there is an accident, drivers tend to slow down and pay attention to the accident scene instead of the traffic around them. Drivers might also be distracted by disabled vehicles, construction sites, and other events that surround them. This is a problem. Drivers should never take their attention off the road ahead of them. When they do, they must be accountable for the financial losses they cause.
Passengers are a common source of distraction – especially for teen drivers. Passengers are such a problem for teen drivers that many states limit the number of passengers a teen can have in the vehicle while driving.
Adults should not assume this is just a problem for new drivers. Even the most experienced driver can get distracted by conversation, loud music, and other things that passengers do in the vehicle. They must take the initiative to keep things safe in their vehicles.
Drivers are responsible for their distractions, so they must ask passengers to lower the music, or wait to have a conversation, or hold off on other activities that take attention away from the road ahead.
Though drunk driving gets a lot of media attention, many other types of impaired driving can lead to fatal accidents. Drivers have a legal obligation not to operate their vehicles while they are impaired by any substance. Learn more about the different types of impaired driving:
NHTSA reports that 28 people are killed by drunk drivers every day in the United States. That is one death approximately every 52 minutes. Over ten thousand victims died because of drunk drivers in one year. It is interesting to note that rideshare services reduced drunk driving fatalities in many areas. Drivers also still have the option to call a friend or take a cab. With the wide availability of Uber, Lyft, taxis, and other rideshare services, there is simply no excuse to drink and drive. Drunk drivers must be accountable for the deaths and injuries they cause in a Drunk Driving Accident.
Driving Under the Influence Of Marijuana
Changing marijuana laws across the United States have made it difficult to enforce impaired driving laws. Unlike alcohol, marijuana has no set limit at which it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle. But drivers can still face charges of driving under the influence (DUI), reckless driving, and other offenses when they drive under the influence of marijuana. Whether marijuana use is under a medical marijuana program or recreationally in a state that allows it, there is no excuse for impaired driving.
Americans have become aware of the dangers of abusing prescription medications thanks to media coverage of the opioid epidemic. Unfortunately, many fail to grasp how dangerous it can be to drive while under the influence of prescription medication. AAA reports that of all drugs in a driver’s body after a fatal accident, prescription medications were the most common. They were present in nearly half of all drugged drivers involved in fatal accidents. This percentage has been steadily increasing since 2005.
It can be incredibly difficult for patients to determine whether it is safe to drive while taking a prescription medication. Even if someone takes medication as directed, the driver may still have impairment from the medication. Drivers must take these medications and become familiar with their effects before attempting to operate a motor vehicle. They should be especially cautious any time there is a change in dosage, scheduling, or switching from one medication to another. Remember: the driver has the ultimate responsibility to ensure that it is safe for them to operate a motor vehicle.
Like distractions and impairment, sleepiness can also affect a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Drivers must recognize when they are too tired to drive. If they do not and cause a crash, they are financially responsible for all the damage they cause.
Driving On Road Trips
On a long road trip, it can be easy to succumb to “highway hypnosis.” This is a term for what happens to a driver after many hours of driving in similar areas. The driver’s mind might start to wander, they might become tired, and eventually, they can stop paying attention to the road altogether.
Be sure to take frequent rest breaks while on a long road trip. Drivers should be sure to stretch and move their bodies to keep alert. If they start to feel sleepy, they can find a safe place to pull over and rest for however long they need. Nodding off behind the wheel can have fatal consequences.
Driving On a Daily Commute
Many drivers recognize the risk of drowsy driving on a long road trip, but it is easy to overlook this risk on a daily commute. The task of driving a familiar route is so automatic that some people do not realize they are doing it at all. If you have not slept well, or have been working long hours, or have other stressors in your life, this could affect your driving skills – even on a familiar commute. Pay attention to your body. Be sure it is alert and responsive before you drive even the most familiar route.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Protects Injury Victims’ Rights After a Crash
Injury victims who hire an attorney consistently receive higher settlements than those who settle their claims. There are many things an accident lawyer does to protect your legal rights after an accident:
Communicating With the Insurance Companies
As soon as the other driver’s insurance company knows that you have counsel, they are no longer allowed to contact you about your injury claim. All communications must go through your attorney’s office. This protects you from accidentally saying anything that could hurt your case. This is especially important when there are multiple drivers or other parties involved in the case.
With so many insurance employees, attorneys, and others involved in the case, it can be easy for someone to hear something they shouldn’t. Your attorney will organize these communications to protect you from inadvertent disclosures. Your attorney will also make sure that anything they disclose will only help your case.
Determining the Fair Value of Your Case
If you deal with the insurance company on your own, it will not tell you the full and fair value of your case. Insurance companies spend huge sums of money training their claims adjusters to pay as little on as few claims as possible. The insurance company might tell you that your pain and suffering wasn’t “that bad,” or that you cannot prove your suffering, or even that a jury would not award you very much at trial. Do not believe this.
Remember, the insurance company is actively working against you. Only your lawyer can fairly assess what your case is worth. Injury lawyers have experience settling similar claims, and they know what factors are likely to persuade a jury. This allows your lawyer to determine the fair value of your case. It also allows your attorney to advise you whether you should accept a settlement or take your case to court.
Assessing the Risks and Benefits Of Litigating Your Case
If you decide not to accept a settlement offer, your other option is to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver. Lawsuits always carry some risk. There is always a chance (however small) that a jury could find for the defendant and award the injury victim nothing at all. An experienced car accident lawyer can advise you whether your risk at trial is great or small.
If the risk is simply too high, your lawyer may advise you to accept a settlement offer. But if you have a strong case that would present well to a jury, your car accident lawyer might advise you to proceed with a lawsuit and even take the case to trial if necessary. The choice to settle or litigate is always yours. Your attorney can advise you, but the decision is ultimately yours.
Protecting Your Legal Rights in Court
Your attorney needs plenty of time to investigate your case before filing a lawsuit. In some cases, the mere act of filing a lawsuit is enough to get the insurance company to raise its settlement offer to a fair amount. Showing you are serious about litigating the case can be enough to get a quick resolution.
But if the insurance company proceeds to litigate your claim, you might have to go through the full discovery process. This can involve written questions, the production of documents, and depositions. Your attorney will prepare you for these things before they occur.
Attorneys engage in settlement discussions throughout the discovery phase of a lawsuit. Sometimes, the evidence that arises changes an attorney’s opinion of the case, and they advise their client to settle. Other times the case must go all the way to trial. Your attorney will explain what is happening at every step of the process.
If your case goes to trial, you will know what to expect and how to testify to a jury. Sometimes, there is even more legal work to finish after a trial. An injury victim might need to appeal specific rulings by the judge, the trial procedure, or even the entire verdict.
By hiring an experienced lawyer, you will know that your legal rights have protection at stages of litigation.
“These lawyers are not only very efficient, but caring as well. I would not hesitate to refer them to anyone.”
MATTHEW T. / FORMER CLIENT