No matter how cautious we are while driving, accidents still happen. The moment you begin your journey, your life can change in the most unfortunate way. One moment you could be healthy and fine, and the next, you could be in excruciating pain or worse lying somewhere in the morgue. Accidents are inevitable, and auto accidents are another sad reality of modern life.
In a large city with busy highways like Los Angeles, accidents are prevalent. Auto accidents can result in serious physical injuries, property loss, and even fatalities. The aftermath of an auto accident can be catastrophic and life-altering. Almost invariably, after an auto accident, you will sustain fatal injuries and other financial burdens. To ensure you do not unfairly struggle under the weight of this burden, you must pursue compensation.
Under California law, a victim of a catastrophic auto accident can sue for compensation for damages suffered. At the Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney, we are more than ready to offer our best legal guidance and expertise to our injured clients. You can contact us for an initial free case evaluation before we file your claim. In this article, you learn about catastrophic auto accidents and what steps to take as a victim.
Common Causes of Catastrophic Auto Accidents
Accidents can happen under different circumstances. The most common causes of auto accidents are human error and mechanical failure. Physical elements like poor road and unfavorable weather conditions can also cause auto accidents. Below are some common causes of catastrophic auto accidents:
The number of auto accidents caused by distracted driving in Los Angeles has been on the rise. Drivers are expected to pay maximum attention to traffic and road conditions when driving. Operating your phone, eating, or performing other distracting activities while driving is a safety risk. According to statistics, many drivers don't pay much attention to traffic and road conditions. It would help if you played your part and exercised caution, so you do not fall victim to reckless driving by other drivers around you.
Road transport is convenient and efficient compared to other means of transport. It's the best option when you want to make a quick dash somewhere or run a few errands. While being struck in traffic is not that exciting, it's better than ending in a wreckage. Driving With increased speed also comes the likelihood of a catastrophic accident. This is because the
The higher the speed limit, the more the mileage and the less time a motorist will have to react should the road and traffic conditions change suddenly. In such a situation, avoiding a car crash will be almost impossible.
Perhaps the most dangerous people on our roadways are drunk drivers. According to statistics, over 300,000 people drive while under the influence of alcohol and similar substances daily. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of drunk drivers are arrested for DUI, making the crime more rampant. The result is an increase in auto crashes with catastrophic repercussions. Reports from the Department of Transportation (DOT) show that over 25 accident-related fatalities occur daily due to drunk driving. The same statistics also indicate that someone is injured every two minutes as a result of a DUI related accident.
Reckless driving can mean driving without observing road etiquette. Disregarding traffic signs, changing lanes anyhow, and engaging in other reckless behavior is a violation of the Los Angeles traffic laws and safety standards. Some drivers tend to drive in a fit of rage and use their vehicles to pour out their frustrations.
While that may make you feel better, it can also increase the risk of catastrophic injuries and even death for you and others on the road. As a driver, you have a duty of care for everyone on the road, and aggressive driving shows total disregard for that duty. California police describe the behavior of aggressive drivers as being:
- Deliberately obstructing other motorists
- Failure to give right of way
- Cutting into traffic and carelessly switching lanes
- Disregarding traffic signals
Fatigue is like being drunk because your brain and vision experience temporary impairment. Fatigue affects your ability to operate your vehicle or make the right judgment safely. Another statistic from the National Traffic Safety Administration(NTSA) shows that over 100,000 auto crashes are attributed to drowsy drivers every year. Some of these accidents occur at night and early morning hours; this means most cases are due to lack of sleep.
Poor Road Conditions
Potholes, defective traffic signals, and worn-out guardrails are hazardous road conditions that can cause catastrophic accidents. The government entities mandated to maintain roads and highways must ensure proper maintenance to curb auto accidents.
Dangerous Weather Conditions
Harsh weather conditions like rain, snow, and mist can pose a serious safety risk. Such situations can hinder visibility, tamper with traffic signs, and cause slippery road surfaces.
Vehicle manufacturers are required by law to produce vehicles that meet the minimum standards of safety. Despite the many improvements made to increase vehicle safety and efficiency, vehicles can experience mechanical failure, thus causing an accident. This is known as product liability. There has been a significant increase in auto crashes due to defective vehicles.
If you are involved in an accident from any of the above causes, it is advisable to enlist in the services of a brilliant personal injury attorney who will help you seek justice. Our Los Angeles car accident attorney will guide you throughout the legal process until we reach a desirable outcome.
Types of Catastrophic Accidents
Auto accidents can be minor, while others can be too catastrophic. Examples of catastrophic auto accidents include but are not limited to:
- Loss of control crashes
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end auto crash
- Hit and run auto accident
- Rollover crash
- Side-impact accident
Loss of Control Crash
Auto crashes, which are due to the driver losing control of the vehicle, can be caused by vehicle defects such as brake failure. During bad weather conditions, the car may lose traction and experience jackknife. Distracted driving can lead to lone departure, and speeding on a sharp ramp can result in a rollover. A tire blowout is mostly due to potholes and similar road obstacles. Always pay attention while driving to avoid losing control of your vehicle. In lousy weather cases, you should employ every safety technique to gain full control of your car, especially if you encounter a jackknife or poor visibility.
The most dangerous of all auto accidents are head-on collisions. Even at a minimum speed limit, the impact of two vehicles colliding can be catastrophic and even deadly. Head-on collisions account for 10.1 percent of accidents related fatalities in the United States. While a collision of two cars can be fatal, a single-car accident can be just as catastrophic. For instance, a vehicle traveling on an average speed limit of 40 miles an hour hitting an object head-on can retain as much impact from the collision. A head-on collision is usually a result of:
- Distracted driving
- Driving during fatigue
- Elderly driver
Rear-end Auto Accidents
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), out of the 5 million accidents reported each year, 2.5 million are rear-ended auto accidents. Tailgating distracted driving, speeding slippery surfaces, and brake failure are among the most common causes of rear and accidents. Ensure you maintain a safe distance and not follow too closely. Don't attempt to overtake when traffic is heavy and maintain the set speed limit.
Hit And Run
The most selfish thing any driver can do is take off after hitting another car, pedestrians,n or private property without identifying themselves or ascertaining the victim's condition. According to a survey conducted by the Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety, 11 out of 100 auto accidents are hit and run types. Three percent of these accidents are usually catastrophic. Under California state law, hit and run is a crime defined as "fleeing an accident scene without offering aid."
While accidents can be unexpected, as a law-abiding citizen, the best and humane thing you can do is alight your car and help. You can give the victim first aid, call an ambulance, the fire department, or the police, and identify yourself. You can also provide information about your insurance provider. The crime of a hit-and-run accident can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony and attracts high fines, a prison sentence, or both.
This type of auto collision results from a vehicle crashing into the side of another motor vehicle. Another name for this type of auto crash is a T-Bone collision. According to a survey by the National Safety Council, it is the second deadliest type of collision after the head-on collision.
In a T-Bone crash, the hitting car has a more protective advantage over the vehicle being hit since the bumper can absorb the impact. However, the side of the vehicle being hit can be a side door that provides little to no protection; hence, it has the potential of being more catastrophic.
Catastrophic casualties are passengers seated on the side of the vehicle that is smashed into. Injuries sustained from a T-bone collision may include spinal cord injury, organ damage, bone fractures, whiplash, and even death. Side-impact accidents account for 20.7% of accident-related fatalities in the United States.
Roll Over Crash
The impact of a roll-over vehicle can be very catastrophic, with severe injuries and extreme vehicle damage. According to NHTSA, it is among the deadliest crashes, accounting for over 10,000 fatalities every year. This type of auto accident can be caused by different circumstances, including reckless driving and mechanical defects. Pick-up trucks and SUVs are the most common vehicles which record-high rollovers due to vehicle defects.
If you are involved in such an accident, a lawsuit against big vehicle manufacturing companies will be a tough legal battle. To have a successful claim, reach out to us at the Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney for regular backup. You stand a better chance with a brilliant legal team by your side than if you dealt with the insurance companies and auto manufacturers on your own.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries
Following an auto accident, you are most likely to sustain any of the following catastrophic injuries:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Server burns
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Internal organ damage
- Bone fracture
At-fault Parties in an Auto Accident
Usually, the most common type of auto accident is human error. Vehicle defects and natural elements are secondary contributing factors. Human error can be:
- Driver negligence
- Comparative negligence
- Negligence of an entity
Motorists in California owe a duty of care for other road users. When a driver disregards this duty and acts in a way that can harm other road users, they can be held liable for negligence. The driver is expected to:
- Operate a vehicle in a safe and reasonable manner
- Pay attention to traffic signals
- Watch out for pedestrians or hazardous road conditions
- Maintain a proper speed limit
On the other hand, negligence on a driver's part can include engaging in any of the following reckless activities:
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Texting while driving
- Running a stop sign
- Distracted driving
Under California state law, a negligent driver that causes injuries and other damages can be held accountable for their actions. As an injury victim, you are eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the liable driver and seek compensation. However, you must prove that the driver was genuinely negligent and failed to honor the duty of care owed to you, thereby causing your catastrophic injuries.
There are incidents where the driver and the victim are both at fault for an accident. This is called comparative negligence. Under California law, the injured victim can file for compensation for damages even if they are partly to blame for the crash. However, their compensation amount may be reduced according to their share of negligence.
For example, if your compensation was $100,000, you can receive a percentage reduction based on your negligence that resulted in your injuries. Determining negligence and liability is a complex process in a California auto crash. Both the victim and the driver may trade blame games, and the insurance company will most likely go for the kill. It is advisable to contact your injury lawyer immediately to ensure you emerge the winner out of that situation.
Negligence of a Government Entity
If your auto accident was due to poor road conditions, then the government entity responsible for the road construction and maintenance may be held accountable for your damages. Filing a lawsuit against a government authority can be a daunting task that requires a top-notch car accident lawyer’s skills and expertise. Reach out to your Los Angeles car accident attorney for the best legal representation.
What to Do After an Auto Accident
Since we can never predict an accident, the aftermath can be devastating. It takes only a moment for your life to make an unexpected turn with physical, psychological, and financial consequences. After an auto accident, you must take the necessary legal action to protect your rights and offset every financial burden that comes with the accident.
One such legal action is to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault parties. Since this process can be long and daunting, you should enlist the services of an established personal injury attorney to ensure the efficiency and success of your claim. Meanwhile, you can do the following immediately after an accident:
Receive medical assistance: A thorough medical assessment should be conducted on all casualties of an auto crash. If possible, share as much information as you can with the emergency response team. Ensure you receive a full medical examination and obtain a doctor's report. This may help you avoid underestimating any unseen injury that may resurface later, thereby jeopardizing your claim.
Gather evidence: If your condition is not so serious, you can gather as much evidence as you can right after the crash. Record all information you can collect about the driver's name, contact, insurance information, vehicle make, model, color, and license plate number. Photographic evidence tends to have a powerful impact on a personal injury claim. Using your smartphone, ensure you capture footage of the crash scene, including skid marks, the wreckage of the vehicle, and your physical injuries.
Call the authorities: The most logical thing to do after an auto accident is to call the police so that the accident is recorded and a police report is filed. Once you obtain a police report, it will be easy for your attorney to prepare for your case.
Reserve your right to an attorney and to remain silent: The moment you are involved in an accident, and it has been reported, expect a call from your insurance and the insurance provider of the liable driver. They will reach out to you almost immediately with appealing out of court offers. It is advisable to reserve your right to remain silent and let your attorney speak on your behalf. Any innocent remark you make may come back to haunt you should you engage those insurance companies without your injury lawyer by your side.
Some of the offers they'll attempt to settle with you may be lower than what you are entitled to, hence, not fully compensating for your damages. Auto accidents can lead to long-term health complications, such as paralysis and permanent disability. These will require lifelong care; hence you'll need a consistent flow of cash. With this in mind, never accept a hurried offer from insurance companies and never engage them directly. Instead, it is advisable to retain a skilled car accident lawyer who can gather and submit all medical evidence to back your claim.
Settlements for Catastrophic Injuries
No matter the cause of your injuries, rest assured that your Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney will fight for the best possible outcome of your case. We understand the insensitive and unfair tendency of some insurance companies to take advantage of the victim and settle for meager compensation. We will employ all legal techniques at our disposal and our negotiation prowess to help you obtain a reasonable settlement. Our legal team will passionately strive to ensure that the award will cater for all your damages, both special and general. With our proven record of winning court trials, we will fully litigate your case should the insurance company decline to cooperate. During the trial process if your case, the following issues must be brought forward:
Requirements for your case
You must furnish the court with all the necessary information regarding your claim for it to be successful. Every detail of the crash, the type and magnitude of injuries sustained, the liable parties, and the losses you're seeking compensation for.
Proof of negligence
This is an essential question of fact for the jury. You must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged at-fault party is truly liable due to their negligence. It would help if you also had an estimate of your full remuneration in mind. From there, our legal team will investigate and compile all findings regarding your injuries. We will consider all circumstances, such as if the accident could have been avoided if the negligence was deliberate and if there is a record of similar incidence.
Expert witness testimony
Witness statements are vital in the success of your catastrophic injury lawsuit. We will ensure that we utilize testimonies of specialists such as surgeons, therapists, psychiatrists, and finance and computer experts.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
The pain and suffering that come with catastrophic injuries are devastating. The last thing you want to deal with in such an agonizing situation is an energy-consuming legal battle. We at Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney sympathize with your condition, and our hearts go out to you and your family.
We would like to see something positive come out of all this and that you receive compensation for all your losses. We want to fight this battle for you as you focus on healing. Reach out to us at 424-237-3600, and we will give you a free case review before we embark on this legal journey together.