Causes and consequences of fatal car accidents

by | Mar 15, 2024 | Personal Injury, Car Accidents

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Driving your car in the US will give you a versatile experience and joy as it has different types of landscapes for your eyes to devour. However, steering your car on the road needs your full attention and expert maneuvering skills. Knowledge of the local law will surely aid you in your safe driving.

The car accident statistics in 2019 show a decrease in the car accident fatality rate compared to 2018. Even then, around 90 people die every day in car collisions. More than 3 million people are being injured in such fatal accidents. Wearing seatbelts during travel reduces the death and injury rate by around 50%. However, during the pandemic lockdown, the tendency to wear the seatbelt had reduced and caused most of the accidents. Alcohol, speeding, and reckless driving are the three equally important factors causing accidents.

Common causes of fatal car accidents:

All car accident fatalities occur due to human error, inclement weather conditions, road conditions, or mechanical deficits.

1. Human errors:

“To err is human…” is a meaningful saying depicting the true nature of humankind. Most of the fatal car accidents happen due to the carelessness of one or the other drivers on the road.

  • Overspeeding: In the first part of 2020 many cases were reported for overspeeding. This shows the change in the mentality of vehicle users. There are three types of speeders: non-speeders, momentary speeders, and risky speeders. Driving beyond the speed limit of a particular area is dangerous to all.
  • Reckless driving: Some drivers tend to violate the traffic rules. Mainly 16-24 age groups are found to be reckless in driving and posing a great threat to others who share the road.
  • Running stop signs and red lights: Even if a single person runs the stop sign or red light, many fatal car accidents, side sweeps, rollovers, and head-on collisions can occur.
  • Driving under the influence of drug or alcohol: If your blood alcohol level is above 0.08%, you should avoid driving. Impaired driving either by drug or alcohol tends to cause immeasurable damages to human lives. Being impaired, you can’t avoid risky factors in driving.
  • Careless or distracted driving: Once you are behind the wheels, you should be responsible and avoid using gadgets for texting or voice calls. Even a single second’s carelessness can cause irreparable losses. Avoid eating or fidgeting for things while driving.  More accidents in the US are caused by careless driving.
  • Tailgating: Going closer behind bigger and speeding vehicles is like inviting your own destiny. If those vehicles stop suddenly, you cannot avoid impacting them. Maintain at least a one-car length distance behind other vehicles.
  • Changing lanes: Unexpected lane changes could make other commuters startled and lead to crashes. Do safe lane changing with utmost care in proper places.
  • Swerving to avoid hazards: While on the road, you should be extra cautious. Even if you are driving carefully, due to somebody else’s carelessness, you may need to swerve your car to avoid fatal car accidents. While doing so, you may end up impacting other cars or objects.
  • Street racing: Among teenagers and even in some adults, the tendency to do street racing is found. Turbo engines and boosters provide high speed for cars when racing. A racing car cannot be controlled easily. More than racers, many innocent lives are at risk. Multiple crashes, rollovers, and pedestrian fatalities can be expected with the very least survivors. It is one of the top most causes of fatal car accidents.
  • Road raging: Being angry, some people tend to tailgate or chase other vehicles and stop in front of them suddenly to express their rage. This could lead to multiple vehicle crashes. The road is not a place to vent your anger. If you do, then you are leading to fatal car accidents.
  • Improper turns: Taking improper turns at wrong places ignoring the turn signs and stop signs will result in a car collision.
  • Drowsy driving: When you feel drowsy avoid being behind the wheels. Fatigue is also one of the reasons for accidents at night since the workers return from work exhausted. At nights due to low visibility, judging becomes difficult and it may lead to fatal car accidents. Stay awake to stay alive.

2. Inclement weather conditions:

Another unavoidable cause of a fatal car accident is poor weather conditions. It’s better to avoid traveling under unfavorable climates.

  • Snow: For those who are driving in cold weather, snow becomes a potential natural hazard. Avoiding the drive during snowstorms would be more reasonable to prevent a possible car crash.
  • Rain: Due to rain lot of collisions occur since the roads will be slithery and vehicles may lose tire grip on the road. Going below the given speed limit also should be exerted with caution.
  • Ice: Driving on an invisible sheet of ice or black ice that looks like a normal surface can make your car tires skid on the surface. Be slow and honk the horns to alert others.
  • Fog: However much you are careful, driving in low visibility has its own dangers. Fog is a very rare reason for fatalities in the US. 

3. Road conditions:

  • Potholes: Driving over unexpected potholes makes it impossible for the drivers to maneuver their cars.
  • Deadly curves: Deadly curves create blind spots for the vehicles and reduce visibility and become prominent spots for terrible accidents. Many have lost their precious lives in dangerous curves.
  • Slippery roads: Due to liquid spills or oil spills, the road becomes dangerous to drive. Be vigilant when you drive and pay attention to the road surface too to avoid fatal car accidents..
  • Animal crossings: You may see wild animals crossing the road, giving you an alarming surprise. While speeding nearby the forests or national parks, be careful of such unpredictable dangers as they don’t follow any rules. On seeing animal crossing signs, watch your speed and be alert. 

4. Mechanical deficits:

  • Tire blowouts: Unexpected tire blowouts can make you lose control of your vehicle. Being near to larger vehicles during their tire blowout can potentially harm you too as they are like juggernauts when not in control. The debris was thrown around with force also can be dangerous to make fatal car accidents.
  • Brake failures: Brake failure is a very rare event with modern-day dual circuit brake systems. Even if one fails, the other one will prevent accidents. Even then sometimes this happens.
  • Defective auto parts: Severe fatalities can occur due to defective auto parts. Manufacturing companies used to pay-of the lawsuits if proved. Knowledge of auto parts can save you to an extent.

Now that we have discussed the causes of car crashes, let’s now discuss what happens if you cause a fatal car accident.

The possibility of getting arrested on suspicion of a crime will surely be an unfortunate event in certain circumstances. However, there are instances where a driver’s reckless driving practices contribute to a fatal vehicle collision. Such an accident may occur due to activities like racing, speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or violating other traffic laws. In such cases, the dangerous driver may face criminal charges, leading to their arrest.

A lawsuit can be filed by the departed person’s family, which can bring you before the court even if you are not arrested. They might look to your personal assets for compensation for the accident. Typically, in order for the family members to prevail in court, they must demonstrate that the police have concluded that you were the cause of the accident.

After a fatal accident, insurance rates may increase in certain situations, but not always. This is due to the fact that your insurance will have to cover all of the damages, including any settlement with the deceased’s family members who have sued you. However, insurance rates don’t always rise. The majority of insurance companies advise you to consult an attorney to support your case if you are suspected of being at fault in a fatal auto accident.

Car accident injuries:

When you are injured in a car crash, you may have different injuries. Knowledge of the possible injuries in a fatal car accident may help you to analyze your injuries and get proper treatment.

  • Whiplash trauma includes ligament, tendon, or muscle injuries when the body moves violently during the impact. Such injuries also will be painful and take a lot of time to convalesce.
  • Head or brain injuries include injuries to the scalp, skull, or brain. Mild bumps, minor wounds, skull fractures, concussions, and even serious damages to the brain that has a permanent effect on your life can be possible. Internal hemorrhage, concussion, hematoma, edema, and brain cell damages are powerful enough to end up one’s life in coma or paralysis.
  • Broken bones or ribs can occur when your body hits against the steering wheel or on the sides of the vehicle. This could take months to heal.
  • Herniated discs are possible during heavy impacts where one or more vertebrae rupture or dislocate. This could cause radiating pain throughout your upper or lower extremities.
  • Knee injuries are common when your knees hit against the dashboard or under the steering wheel. This may lead to kneecap injuries, torn ligaments and make you need the help of crutches or braces while walking.
  • Internal bleeding cannot be noticed and can become dangerous because of that. Broken ribs or bones can damage the internal organs.
  • Bruises or cuts are common in most accidents and should be taken care of properly. Otherwise, infections or permanent scars can be the result.
  • Emotional traumas can also occur after fatal car accidents. Post-traumatic stress disorder can torture you for the rest of your life. You may need the help of a mental health provider to overcome this. This kind of traumas may evolve very lately like a few months or years of the fatal car accidents.

Car accident law:

  1. Insurance coverage:

All registered vehicles should have insurance coverage and valid insurance proof should be with you when you are behind the wheel. At times of accidents, you are bound to provide insurance information to the people involved in the fatal car accidents. If you fail to provide proof of financial responsibility, your license can be revoked or suspended.

  1. Duty of the driver:

While entering a highway or crossing a highway, you should yield the way to the oncoming traffic and the pedestrians. Once you are sure that you can enter the highway without disturbing others, you should move forward.

  1. When to report the accident:

If anyone is injured or dead, and the property damage is exceeding $1,000, you are obliged to report the accident. The report should contain the time, date, and location of the accident, the personal information of all the drivers, including your, and clearly explain the injuries and property damages.

The time limit to report the case differs in most states ranging from immediately to within 30 days. In Ohio, you can take 6 months to report the accident. However, if the accident scene is evaluated by the officer and the report is given on the day of the occurrence that will be favorable for claiming your recovery. Most insurance companies and the court consider the police report as important evidence in the litigation process.

  1. When to file your claim:

Each state has different statutes of limitations regarding the time period for filing an injury or property claim. Even though the time limit differs from one to 10 years based on the state, late claims arouse suspicions in the insurance providers or the defendants. Filing your claim as early as possible helps you claim the benefits smoothly. Approaching a car accident lawyer on time can do wonders in claiming your lawsuit.

  1. Important elements to prove negligence:

In order to claim your compensation, a car accident victim should prove four important elements. They are duty, breach, causation, and damages. The drivers are duty-bound to maintain their cars in good condition and drive carefully following the traffic laws.

The court wants to make sure if the defendant breached his duty and knowingly became a reason for the injury to the plaintiff. The examples are like – not maintaining stopping distance between the vehicles at signals or could have averted the accident, etc.

The victim should prove that the injury is caused by a particular accident or due to the negligence of the defendant. If the defendant could have foreseen the possibility of injuring someone or the accident is unforeseeable also play an important role in deciding the negligence.

Damages refer to injury, lost wages, emotional distress, and medical expenses. The plaintiff should prove that these damages are caused by the negligence of the defendant.

Why do you need a car accident attorney?

Before thinking of fighting on your own to get your car accident claim, you should know that most insurance companies have their own team of expert attorneys for car accidents to work for them. As an ordinary citizen, you may not know the nuances of the law to win your case. It is in this context you understand the power of having an efficient car crash lawyer to support you.

When you choose to handle your personal injury or car accident claims, the insurance companies will take advantage of your ignorance of the law in their favor and may give you a very low amount as compensation or even deny the claim. You may not know for what all you can claim. As an unsupported claimant on a lawsuit, you can be easily targeted and defeated as you do not know how to negotiate with the powerful insurance carriers who tackle multiple cases daily.

While you are slowly recuperating from your injuries, do you think you can undergo more agony by fighting against the insurance giants? No, you need mental peace to come out of the fatal car accidents. The worries of how to pay the medical expenses, and what to do without any earnings would be torturing you. Hiring an experienced car crash attorney will relieve you of all the tension and worries of recovering most of your claim.

You need the assistance of an expert lawyer to help you in the following aspects.

  • To advise you in all your confusions and guide you on who will take care of your medical bills or property damage or how to find a good doctor to treat you.
  • To direct you whether your case comes under a no-fault system or not. How to do things to get your claim.
  • To speak on behalf of you to the insurance carriers.
  • To investigate how the accident occurred or who is at fault to get you the maximum compensation. Some attorneys even do accident reconstruction with the help of experts to determine the person at fault.
  • To calculate your present medical bills, loss of wages, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and even future loss of earning to ease you of the worries of expenses.
  • To negotiate with expert insurance companies to recover your monetary benefits.
  • To represent you when your lawsuit goes for trial in court.

Final thoughts:

Involving in fatal car accidents could change your destiny. As a car driver sometimes you can’t avoid being hit by the fault of others. Knowledge of your state’s traffic law would guide you to be away from fatalities. When you are injured in fatal car accidents, hire an attorney as early as possible because only an early bird catches the worm. Most car accident law firms work diligently with medical record review companies to win your litigation by getting a lucrative sum to relieve your worries.

Stay alert and stay alive!

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