California has some of the most dangerous intersections and roads in the United States. California traffic accidents result in thousands of injuries and deaths each year. A reckless or careless driver can turn your world upside down in a matter of seconds. The effects of a car accident can continue for years after the collision. For some individuals and families, their lives are never the same after a traffic accident.
The California car accident attorneys of The Thompson Law Office help accident victims fight for the compensation they deserve after a car accident injury. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation with a California personal injury lawyer by calling 1-650-513-6111.
Keep reading to learn more about:
- 7 Most Common Traffic Accidents in California
- What are the Most Common Injuries Caused by Car Accidents?
- How Much is a Car Accident Claim Worth?
- What Should You Do After a California Car Accident?
7 Most Common Traffic Accidents in California
Car accidents happen for a variety of reasons. Many of the causes of car accidents involve some type of human error; however, other factors can also play a role in the case of a car accident.
Common causes of car accidents in California include:
- Speeding and reckless driving
- Tailgating or following too closely
- Distracted driving, including texting while driving, using a cell phone while driving, and reaching for objects
- Inexperienced drivers
- Road rage and aggressive driving
- Fatigued and drowsy driving
- Impaired driving, including drunk driving, buzzed driving, and drugged driving
- Poor weather conditions
- Defectively designed roads and intersections
- Hazardous road conditions and improperly maintained roads
- Defective automobile parts and improper vehicle maintenance
- Failing to follow traffic laws
Regardless of the cause of a car accident, the result is often the same. Innocent victims are injured and killed because of the errors and negligence of other drivers or parties.
Seven of the most common types of car accidents in California are:
Individuals involved in a head-on collision have a high risk of sustaining catastrophic injuries and life-threatening injuries. When vehicles crash head-on, the severity of the impact increases. Vehicles do not need to be traveling at high rates of speed for a head-on crash to be severe. Many head-on crashes are caused when a driver drifts into the opposing lane of traffic because of distractions, alcohol-impairment, and drowsiness.
Rear-end crashes are the most common cause of whiplash and neck injuries. When a car crashes into the rear of your vehicle, your head is violently whipped back and forth. The “whipping” motion can cause severe injuries to the soft tissues in the neck. Many cases of whiplash heal within a few weeks, but some individuals suffer chronic pain and permanent impairments from whiplash. Common causes of rear-end crashes include following too closely, distracted driving, speeding, and impaired driving.
Pedestrian deaths have increased in California and nationwide. In our pedestrian accident blog, we carefully review the increase in pedestrian deaths, including the fact that California continues to have the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in the county. Pedestrians have no protection when they are struck by a vehicle. Therefore, pedestrian injuries are often catastrophic, life-threatening injuries. Distracted drivers and speeding drivers cause many of the pedestrian accidents in California.
Side-impact accidents are also known as T-bone accidents because the collision forms a “T” shape. These crashes happen when the front of one vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle. T-bone crashes are common at intersections and when someone is making a left-hand turn across one or more lanes of traffic. Vehicle occupants in a side-impact car accident do not have as much protection from injury because there is not as much metal between them and the other vehicle to protect them from the collision. Side airbags and other safety features can help, but many side-impact accidents result in life-threatening and traumatic injuries.
Bicycle accidents are also common in California. Bicyclists have a high risk for traumatic and life-threatening injuries, much like pedestrians. Wearing bicycle helmets and bicycle safety gear can help reduce the risk of head injuries, but the safety gear does not protect the bicyclist’s body during a collision. A bicyclist can suffer severe damage to internal organs and internal bleeding, in addition to traumatic brain injury when hit by a vehicle. Speeding and distracted drivers cause many of the bicycle accidents in California. Failing to yield the right of way and follow bicycle traffic laws are also common reasons for bicycle crashes.
Drunk driving accidents or impaired-driving accidents are also common throughout California. Drivers who are impaired by alcohol or drugs have decreased reaction times. Cognitive and mental capacity is also diminished. DUI accidents can result in traumatic injuries for accident victims. Even though the driver was intoxicated, the driver’s insurance company should compensate the victims for injuries and damages, provided that you can prove the drunk driver caused the accident.
Large Truck Accidents
Large trucks, also known as tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, big rigs, and 18-wheelers, cause horrific crashes. The fatalities in about three- fourths of the large truck crashes are occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. A typical passenger vehicle cannot withstand the force of the collision with a large truck as well as the large truck. Our attorney discusses the challenges involved in large truck accidents in more detail in our large truck accident article.
What are the Most Common Injuries Caused by Car Accidents?
Car accidents cause a variety of injuries. Even in a low-speed crash, the occupants of the car can sustain life-threatening and severe injuries. It does not take a high-speed crash or a large truck accident to result in a fatality or disability.
Many common car accident injuries result in permanent impairments and disabilities. A person who sustains a disability or permanent impairment may not be able to return to work. At the very least, the person’s earning capacity is diminished, and the person’s quality of life and enjoyment of life may be less.
Common traffic accident injuries include:
- Head and brain injuries, including penetrating brain injuries, skull fractures, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), closed head injuries, and concussions
- Neck and shoulder injuries, including whiplash
- Back and spinal cord injuries, including loss of sensation, paralysis, ruptured discs, fractured vertebrae, and chronic pain
- Fractures and broken bones, which may require surgery and physical therapy
- Internal bleeding and damage to internal organs
- Seat belt syndrome
- Lacerations, puncture wounds, scarring, and disfigurement
- Vision and hearing loss
- Severe burns
In addition to physical injuries, many accident victims suffer intense physical pain and suffering. Some victims require multiple surgeries and months of physical, occupational, and vocational therapy.
Car accident victims also suffer from mental anguish and emotional distress. Some victims may develop one or more emotional disorders, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, night terrors, and flashbacks. For some individuals, emotional injuries after a car accident can be as debilitating or more debilitating than a physical injury.
It is important to document your injuries and damages after a car accident. Our legal team works with you to document your injuries and damages to maximize the amount of compensation you may receive for your car accident claim.
How Much is a Car Accident Claim Worth?
The value of a car accident claim is calculated based on a variety of factors. Each case is unique. Therefore, using a multiplier or formula to calculate how much a car accident claim is worth is not advisable.
Our California car accident attorneys carefully and thoroughly examine each factor of a personal injury claim to determine how the factors impact the value of the claim.
Factors that impact the value of a California car accident claim include, but are not limited to:
- Severity and Type of Injuries — In most cases, the more severe an injury, the higher the value of the claim. Also, the type of injury impacts the value of a claim. For example, a case of whiplash that heals within a few weeks without intensive medical treatment would not be worth as much as a case that involves a broken bone that requires surgery and physical therapy.
- Financial Damages — If another party is at-fault for the crash, a victim should be entitled to reimbursement for all financial damages and losses. Financial damages and losses include, but are not limited to, medical expenses, physical therapy, medications, medical equipment, travel expenses, loss of income, and personal care.
- Permanent Disability and Impairment — Victims are entitled to compensation for scarring, disfigurement, impairments, and disabilities caused by the car crash. Also, disabilities and impairments may result in future damages for ongoing medical care, personal care, diminished earning capacity, and loss of income.
- Comparative Fault — California is a comparative fault state for personal injury claims. If a victim is partially responsible for causing the car accident, the victim’s compensation can be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the victim. In other words, if you are partly at fault for the cause of the crash, you may not receive full compensation for all damages and losses.
- Available Insurance — Drivers in California are required to carry minimum automobile liability insurance. Even if your damages exceed the amount of the driver’s insurance coverage, the insurance company is only liable for damages up to the policy limits. However, if you carry underinsured motorist coverage, you may receive additional compensation from your car insurance company of the driver’s insurance coverage is not sufficient to pay your injury claim in full.
- Your Actions After the Car Accident — Your actions after the car accident can substantially impact the value of a car accident claim. For example, if you did not seek medical attention for several weeks after the accident, the insurance company may argue that you were not injured in the accident. If you provide a statement to an insurance adjuster, something you say could be used to undervalue or deny your claim. Therefore, it is important to know what steps to take after a car accident, including contacting an experienced California car accident attorney.
What Should You Do After a California Car Accident?
Whenever you are involved in a traffic accident, there are some important steps that you can take to protect your health and your legal rights.
- Call 911 — Report the accident immediately by calling 911. Wait for the police to arrive. Do not discuss the accident with anyone. Avoid saying you are sorry or claiming any responsibility for the crash.
- Document the Car Accident Scene — If possible, take photographs of the vehicles, skid marks, and the surrounding area. Making a video can be very helpful because a video may capture something you did not realize was important. Ask witnesses to write down their contact information for you.
- See a Doctor as Soon as Possible — If you do not go to the emergency room from the accident scene, go to the doctor as soon as possible. Delays in medical treatment can harm your health and your personal injury case.
- Keep Copies of Everything — Document your damages and your case by keeping copies of any documents related to the crash, your injuries, and your recovery. Take careful notes during each conversation with your doctor or other professional.
- Avoid Talking to the Insurance Adjuster — You are not required to provide a written or recorded statement to file an insurance claim. However, most conversations with the insurance company and adjusters are recorded, even if you are not aware of the recording. Contact a California personal injury attorney as soon as possible and let the attorney handle the insurance company.
- Do Not Use Social Media — Until you meet with an attorney, avoid using social media. Also, do not discuss your accident or injury by email or text. This information could be used against you later in your case. Private does not always mean not accessible in a personal injury case.
Contact The Thompson Law Office for a Free Consultation
You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, losses, and damages caused by a car accident in California. However, the insurance company for the other driver may act in bad faith by attempting to undervalue your claim to avoid paying a fair settlement amount. Our legal team fights to ensure you are treated fairly. We right to get you the compensation you deserve after being injured in a traffic accident.
For a free consultation with an experienced California car accident lawyer, call 1-650-513-6111 now to contact our office. We are here for you when you need support, guidance, and legal counsel after an injury or accident.