Motorists must drive carefully and avoid causing harm, damages, and foreseeable injuries to other motorists on the road. Unfortunately, not all drivers uphold this duty, and when they do not, catastrophic accidents can happen.
Although many causes can lead to a motor vehicle collision, in this blog post, we will go over some of the more common contributing factors that can result in these devastating crashes. We will also discuss the actions you need to take after this horrifying accident to protect yourself and your rights and how an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer can help you.
Common Factors That Contribute to Motor Vehicle Accidents
Typically, distractions, intoxicated driving, and inattention are all major contributing factors to car crashes. However, they are not the only ones. Other common factors that can contribute to these deadly collisions include:
#1. Human Error
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorist error contributes to 94 percent of all traffic accidents. Of that amount, recognition errors account for over 40 percent of collisions. These recognition errors include inattention, such as failing to watch out for other vehicles because the motorist is daydreaming or lost in their thoughts instead of focusing on the road.
#2. Driving While Impaired
Impaired driving is often defined as an individual who operates a vehicle while impaired by a substance such as an over-the-counter medication, alcohol, or illicit drugs.
Sadly, this impaired driving is a common problem in the United States. In fact, in one recent year, around 12.6 million people reported they have driven under the influence of illicit drugs or marijuana. While, every day, almost 29 individuals are killed in a car crash that involves an alcohol-impaired motorist. That is nearly one death every 50 minutes.
#3. Excessive Speeding
Speeding endangers everyone on the road, not only the life of the motorist speeding, but all those around them, including other drivers, passengers, and even pedestrians.
Yet, although many people think speeding is harmless and even consider it typical driving behavior. In truth, speeding may result in far-ranging consequences.
For over two decades, speeding has been involved in approximately one-third of all vehicle deaths and, in the last year, a contributing factor in 26 percent of all traffic fatalities.
This is because speeding:
- Can cause a vehicle to lose control
- Results in an increased stopping distance
- Increases the crash severity, which can result in more deadly injuries
- Reduces the effectiveness of occupant protection equipment
#4. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving remains a top factor in all traffic crashes, claiming over 3,000 lives every year. Typically, distracted driving is any activity that motorists do behind the wheel that diverts their attention from driving, including texting on the phone, eating, drinking, talking to others in the vehicle, and even changing the radio station.
#5. Poor Driving Conditions
Poor road conditions, including potholes, broken concrete, uneven roads, road cracks, and sinkholes, can cause significant issues for a motorist and even contribute to serious accidents, leading to debilitating injuries to the driver, pedestrians, and passengers.
For instance, if a motorist hits a large pothole, it can cause their tire to burst and lead to the vehicle veering into another lane, which can result in a collision with another car.
In addition, extreme weather conditions can also affect a motorist’s ability to drive safely. Generally, poor visibility and slippery roads often contribute to many horrifying crashes. According to the Federal Highway Administration, a majority of crashes due to bad weather result from wet pavement (70 percent) and rainfall (46 percent)
#6. Driver Fatigue
If a motorist does not get enough sleep, they may find it challenging to pay attention to the road as they are driving. In some cases, these drivers can even fall asleep behind the wheel, causing their motor vehicle to veer into oncoming traffic or crash into stationary objects, motorists, and pedestrians.
According to the NHTSA, sleep, and other non-performance errors accounted for around seven percent of all traffic-related collisions.
#7. Motor Vehicle Issues
Although driver error is often the main reason these car crashes occur, there are other grounds for these collisions. For example, vehicle issues and defective motor vehicle parts account for almost two percent of all car crashes.
These defective parts can include:
- Faulty brakes
- Steering issues
- Defective tires
- Other unknown motor vehicle problems
Common Injuries Resulting From a Motor Vehicle Collision
No matter how a car accident results, the consequences of these crashes are often disastrous, causing harm to almost every part of the body.
Yet, although these injuries can vary in severity and scope depending on the circumstances of the crash, some of the more common injuries that result from these motor vehicle collisions include:
- Neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Broken bones
- Deep lacerations
- Facial trauma
- Internal injuries
- Loss of a limb
- Wrongful death
What to Do Following a Motor Vehicle Crash
Following a car crash, the scene of the accident is often stressful, chaotic, and overwhelming. Yet, even though taking action after the devastating accident is probably the last thing on your mind, you need to take certain steps after the collision to ensure that you stay safe and your legal rights remain protected.
That is why you should:
#1. Contact the Police Immediately
After a motor vehicle collision, you need to contact the authorities immediately. Not only is this the fastest way to get your accident on record, but you can quickly notify emergency medical services that you or another person from the crash need assistance.
In addition, once the local authorities arrive at the scene, they can investigate the incident and write down their findings in their police report. If you decide to bring a claim following the accident, this report can provide you with valuable information regarding what happened.
#2. Gather Evidence From the Accident Scene
If it is safe, you should collect as much evidence from the crash scene as possible. This evidence should include photos and videos of your visible injuries, the cars involved in the collision, their placement on the road, any skid marks on the street, traffic signals near the accident, the weather conditions at the time of the accident, and any other evidence that can help show what happened.
#3. Get Information From Those Involved in the Crash
Try to exchange information with those involved in the accident, including names, insurance information, driver’s license numbers, and contact details. However, as you are exchanging these details, make sure you watch what you say.
You do not want to make any statements that can hurt your case, such as definitive statements about the accident, apologizing for anything that happened, or taking the blame for what occurred. These types of comments can come back in the future and affect the amount of money you can receive.
#4. Check for Witnesses
If there were people at the accident scene, try to get their names and contact details. These individuals can often provide you with further information regarding the accident and help back up your claim.
However, do not try to force these individuals to offer you their information if they do not want to. Rather, have your car accident lawyer work on getting this testimony for you.
#5. See a Doctor as Soon as You Can
Even if your injuries appear to be relatively minor, you should still see your doctor as soon as possible. Many times serious conditions such as head trauma can take some time for symptoms to manifest, yet the longer you wait to get medical help, the worse the situation can become. For these reasons, do not delay getting examined by a doctor after the crash.
Additionally, getting prompt medical treatment can be helpful to your legal claim. Usually, following an accident, insurance companies will look for any reason they can to deny your case or pay you less than you deserve. That is why when you do not get medical treatment after the crash, these insurers will argue that the injuries you sustained are not that severe or were a result of a separate event.
Thankfully, when you get checked over by a doctor immediately after your car accident, these medical professionals can create a medical report detailing your injuries and provide you with evidence of a direct connection between the harm you endured and the car collision.
Damages Available Following a Motor Vehicle Crash
Following a car accident, if the contributing factor that caused your collision was the result of another person’s wrongful actions, you may be entitled to compensation. Generally, this compensation includes the following types of damages:
Economic Damages: These damages refer to the easily quantifiable losses that result from an accident.
- Medical bills including your past, present, and future medical costs such as doctor visits, prescription medication, hospital stay, surgeries, assistive medical devices, and emergency services
- Lost wages from an inability to work following the accident
- Lost earning capacity
- Rehabilitative services such as occupational and physical therapy
- Replacement at-home services such as cleaning services or child care services
- At-home nursing care
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Non-Economic Damages: These damages refer to the personal losses that result from an accident, which are not easy to quantify.
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of reputation
In addition, in some instances, punitive damages may also be available to the victim. However, unlike the other compensatory damages (economic and non-economic damages), which compensate the victim for their losses following an accident, punitive damages punish the wrongdoer for their egregious actions. They also deter others from committing these actions.
To collect these damages, the victim’s lawyer must show with clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s actions were grossly negligent or a complete disregard to the victim’s health and safety.
Following a Motor Vehicle Crash, Do Not Wait to Get the Legal Help You Need
You deserve justice if you have been harmed in a motor vehicle crash due to another person’s negligent, intentional, or wrongful actions. However, to bring a successful injury claim, you need to provide solid arguments and reliable evidence that can help prove your case. Yet, following a car crash, preparing and gathering these documents and statements is very well the last thing on your mind.
When you reach out to a skilled motor vehicle accident lawyer, you do not have to take on this complex legal battle on your own. Instead, you can focus on what matters most your recovery, while these lawyers fight for the financial recovery you deserve.
Once you retain one of these lawyers, they can:
- Go over your accident, figure out which contributing factor caused the collision, and determine if you have a viable claim.
- Answer all the questions you have regarding the incident and decide what legal options you should pursue.
- Investigate the accident thoroughly and secure the evidence required to prove what happened and who was responsible for your injuries.
- Hold all those parties that caused your accident or contributed to it accountable for the harm and losses you endured.
- Obtain experts such as accident reconstructionists, doctors, and economists to substantiate your claim.
- Take on all the negotiations and discussions with the insurance company and fight for a fair settlement offer.
- Head to trial if the other side does not want to offer you a just settlement and pursue maximum compensation.
If a car accident injury disrupted your life, it is time to secure the legal help you need.