Driving is the most dangerous thing many Americans do every day. According to the Insurance Information Institute, about 38,000 people die in automobile wrecks each year, which is equivalent to approximately 104 deaths per day.
If you or someone you love was in a car wreck, consider contacting a knowledgeable attorney to determine what caused the collision and who can be held responsible for causing it.
How Do Car Accidents Occur?
Many of the common causes of car accidents are preventable. In terms of the primary cause of the collision, motor vehicle crashes can fall into two categories: driver error and non-driver error.
A car crash can occur for a variety of reasons. In some collisions, a driver gets distracted while operating a vehicle and rear-ends another car. In other cases, a driver is speeding or disregards other traffic rules, which endangers themselves and other people on the road.
Often, motor vehicle collisions occur for a combination of reasons. While the causes of car crashes vary from one case to another, the consequences are often the same: People can suffer injuries and incur thousands of dollars in property damage.
The losses attributable to a car crash depend on what caused the collision, the severity of the injuries, and many other factors.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Vehicle Collisions?
According to a report by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 94 percent of motor vehicle crashes are due to human error or decision.
The vast majority of traffic collisions are preventable. Some causes are more common than others. We have put together a list of some of the most common causes of car crashes in the United States:
1. Distracted driving
One of the leading causes of vehicle collisions is distracted driving, including texting while driving and talking on the phone while operating a motor vehicle. However, cell phone use is not the only form of distraction. Other potentially dangerous distractions when operating a motor vehicle include eating, navigating a GPS, applying makeup, grooming, reaching for something in the backseat, and others.
Hundreds of thousands of car accidents occur due to speeding. It is critical to obey speed laws and drive a vehicle at a speed that is prudent and reasonable under the circumstances. According to the NHTSA, speeding occurs in about one-third of all car accident fatalities across the country.
3. Driving under the influence
Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs is one of the most dangerous and reckless behaviors that contribute to a large percentage of collisions on our roads. Drivers who get behind the wheel while intoxicated are more likely to cause a preventable accident because of their slower reaction and impaired judgment of time and distance.
4. Reckless driving
Drunk driving is not the only form of reckless driving. Other reckless behaviors while operating a motor vehicle include making unsafe lane changes, street racing, aggressive driving, and willfully disregarding traffic laws. When driving a car, it is critical to remain calm and follow traffic laws to avoid causing harm to yourself and others.
5. Inclement weather
As mentioned earlier, not all motor vehicle accidents are attributable to driver error. Bad weather also plays a role in many crashes. Inclement weather can reduce road visibility and make the road surfaces wet or slippery. While driving in inclement weather is unavoidable for many people, it is vital to adjust your speed and exercise due care.
6. Unsafe lane changes
Changing lanes is one of the most frequent maneuvers drivers perform. However, many drivers fail to change lanes safely. Traffic laws require motorists to signal their attention to change lanes and always check their surroundings before moving into a new lane of traffic. It is critical to observe the speed and distance of other vehicles when changing lanes.
7. Driving while fatigued
Drowsy driving, which is also known as driving while fatigued, can impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Driving while fatigued can be as bad as drunk driving because sleep deprivation impairs a driver’s reaction, coordination, and concentration.
8. Running red lights or stop signs
Failure to stop at a red light or stop sign can result in a devastating motor vehicle accident. Drivers must bring their vehicle to a complete stop anytime there is a red light or stop sign. While some drivers willfully disregard road signs and traffic signals, others fail to notice them due to distractions.
9. Driving at night
As a driver, you may have noticed that it is much easier to drive during the day than at night. Driving at night puts more strain on the driver’s eyes, not to mention that a driver is more likely to be exhausted, sleepy, and fatigued at night than during the day.
10. Vehicle defects
Not all automobile collisions are attributable to driver negligence. Some motor vehicle accidents are the result of vehicle defects. It is vital to perform maintenance inspections of your vehicle regularly to make sure that you catch any problems with the car before they cause harm.
11. Failure to maintain a safe following distance
When operating a motor vehicle, it is important to maintain a safe following distance between your car and the car in front of you. Tailgating is a dangerous behavior that can lead to a rear-end collision. By failing to maintain a safe distance between vehicles, a driver may not react and stop in time to avoid a collision if the car in front of him or her hits the brakes.
12. Wrong-way driving
A driver is likely to drive against the direction of traffic by mistake, especially if they are not familiar with the road or not paying attention to road signs. Wrong-way driving can result in a fatal accident because head-on collisions tend to be the deadliest.
13. Potholes and other poor road conditions
Road defects are a common cause of motor vehicle accidents. When driving over a pothole, uneven pavement, or other poor road conditions, a driver is more likely to lose control of their vehicle or get a flat tire.
What Types of Damages Are Recoverable After a Traffic Accident?
Whether a car accident is minor or severe, it can dramatically change an injured victim’s life. Injured persons are likely to incur medical expenses, loss of income, and other damages and losses.
Fortunately, car accident victims may be entitled to compensation by pursuing an insurance claim or filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Depending on how the collision occurred and who was responsible for causing it, the injured party can recover damages.
Common types of damages that are recoverable by victims of traffic accidents include:
- Medical bills. First and foremost, an injured party can obtain compensation for their reasonable medical expenses. A victim can seek compensation for past and future costs associated with their treatment, surgery, rehabilitation, and physical therapy. An injured person might have to wait until they reach their maximum medical improvement (MMI) to understand the actual extent of injuries before settling their claim.
- Property damage. If vehicles collided in a motor vehicle accident, they may sustain damage due to the force of impact. For this reason, a victim may incur expenses associated with repairing their damaged car following the collision. If your phone, laptop, or any other personal property was damaged, you can also seek compensation for the cost of repairing or placing it.
- Loss of income. If you had to miss work or lose your job due to your injury, you might obtain reimbursement for the loss of income and other employment benefits. If you suffer a temporary or permanent disability, you may also receive compensation for your diminished earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering. Calculating non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, is the most challenging part when seeking compensation for your losses after a car accident. If you suffered any physical pain, psychological or emotional suffering, distress, discomfort, inconvenience, or other non-monetary effects as a result of your injury, you might obtain compensation for these losses.
- Loss of enjoyment of life. An injury caused by the other driver’s negligence might have disrupted your life. If you can no longer enjoy your everyday life or cannot participate in activities that you used to enjoy before the injury, you might seek compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life.
Each case is unique, which is why you may want to speak with a knowledgeable attorney to help you determine what compensation you can seek in your specific situation. An attorney will review the facts of your case to calculate the value of your claim and fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Car Accidents
Should I seek medical attention after a car crash if I feel fine?
It is a question car accident victims commonly ask car accident attorneys during the first consultation. What many people do not realize is that symptoms of injuries may not be apparent immediately following the collision.
The rush of adrenaline and shock after the crash can mask pain and discomfort after the accident. Symptoms of injury may not be apparent for hours, days, or even weeks after the collision. For this reason, we cannot overstate the importance of receiving medical care immediately after the crash.
Who will pay my medical bills after a car accident?
If you suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident, you might incur thousands of dollars in medical bills. Medical expenses following a car accident are always unexpected and may put a strain on your budget. Regardless of the cause of your injury, you are responsible for paying your medical bills. However, if the other driver caused the accident, you can file a claim against their insurance carrier to obtain reimbursement for your medical expenses.
How long will it take to settle a car accident case?
Each case is unique, which is why there is no specific time limit during which you can settle your claim. The timeline of your car accident case depends on the insurance company’s wiliness to pay you the compensation you deserve as well as the negotiation skills of your attorney.
What to do if you get a phone call from the insurance adjuster?
In the hours or days following your car crash, you may get a phone call from the insurance company’s claims adjuster, asking questions about your injuries and the accident. The adjuster may even offer you a settlement right away. Consider contacting an experienced attorney to learn about your rights before you speak with the insurance adjuster. An insurance company may attempt to get you to accept a quick settlement offer before you calculate the actual value of your claim.
How much is your case worth?
If you suffered injuries in a car crash, it is perfectly normal to wonder how much your car accident case is worth. You deserve to know what compensation is adequate to cover your losses and damages. However, since no two car accidents are the same, you might want to contact a skilled attorney to get an accurate estimate of your case.
What evidence do you need to win your case?
The more evidence you can gather to support your claim, the more likely you are to receive the maximum compensation to which you are entitled. Some of the most invaluable pieces of evidence to prove the other party’s fault may include photos from the scene of the crash, your medical records, a copy of the police report, surveillance or traffic camera footage, and witness statements.
Do you need a Phoenix car accident attorney if you suffered injuries in a car crash?
Yes. A skilled attorney will advocate for your best interests throughout the claims process to help you receive the compensation you need to cover your losses, achieve justice, and move forward with your life.