There are many reasons for auto accidents, but in general they all revolve around some form of negligence on the part of one driver or another that causes the accident or contributes to the situation that caused the accident. If you are involved in a car crash, especially if there are injuries there is one definite step to take. After a car crash seek medical attention before calling an OC car accident lawyer.
One of the responsibilities of all drivers is to exercise caution when they are behind the wheel of their vehicle. When a driver obviously breaks one of the laws contained in the California Vehicle Code and it leads to an accident, that behavior can be used to prove both negligence and liability. This can include speeding, not following traffic signs and signals, driving under the influence and a variety of other unlawful behaviors. In addition to the obviously illegal activities, there are other things that drivers can do when behind the wheel of a car that can make them a part of California car accident statistics. These include eating, texting, talking on their cell phone (which is also illegal in California if a hands free device isn’t used), reading, putting on make-up, or anything else that causes them to lose focus on the critically important activity of driving the car. Any of these activities can lead to your being held liable for a car accident.
Who Decides Accident Liability
In many cases the insurance adjuster is the one who determines liability or fault in a car accident. Using the police report, which is created through statement from witnesses and the drivers themselves and physical evidence from the scene of the accident such as the damage to the cars and skid marks, the insurance adjuster will put together a determination of which driver was liable for the accident and to what extent. It isn’t always quite that easy though. In some cases it is too difficult for the adjuster to determine fault, or one of the parties feels the adjuster is wrong, and then the case winds up in the court system for a judge or jury to determine who was at fault and to what degree.
What Constitutes Driver Negligence
As I mentioned above there are many things that contribute to driver negligence when behind the wheel of a vehicle. Below are some of the most common according to California car accident statistics.
Speed — You’ve likely heard the phrase “speed kills” before and it is completely true when it comes to driving a car. For example, in 2013 there were 840 fatal and injury crashes in Orange County California. Of those, 137 were determined to be speed related. While excess speed can be considered negligent, it isn’t always determined to be the sole liability. The speed before the accident will certainly cause partially liability, but there may be other factors that are considered to be reasons for fault. In fact, if the accident would have occurred regardless of your speed, then speed may not be considered a point of liability at all. Even slow speeds can be considered hazardous. If you are on the freeway driving 40mph you could be held liable for causing an accident as all the other cars were traveling 55mph and your slow speed contributed to the accident.
Not Paying Attention — One of the key things any driver needs to do is keep their full attention on the road at all times to avoid an accident. Any time you take your attention away from operating the vehicle, to answer your phone, to change the song playing on the radio, or to do anything other than driving you are putting yourself at risk of being the fault of an accident.
Not Following the Rules of the Road — There are some very basic rules of the road and when you neglect to follow them you run the risk of being held responsible for an accident if it occurs. This includes failure to use your turn signals any time you make a turn, change lanes and enter or exit a freeway. It also applies to failure to yield the right of way to oncoming vehicles wherever there is a yield sign as well as at turns and when entering a freeway. The failure to follow at a safe distance is another example of how not following the rules of the road can see you held liable for an accident. Making illegal turns and u-turns is another situation that can cause an accident and if you have made an illegal turn you will be held liable for the accident.
Defects to your Vehicle — It is your responsibility to ensure that your vehicle is in proper working order. This means keeping your vehicle in good repair at all times and fixing any defects as they occur. One common cause of accidents is when brake lights, turn signals, or headlights aren’t in working order. All of these can create a dangerous situation and you will be held at least partially responsible if any of these are the case, even if you were rear-ended by another car.
It’s easy to see that many things can contribute to negligence when driving, but it is just as clear that all of them can be avoided though proper attention and by following the laws of California and the rules of the road. Don’t end up another California car accident statistic, keep safe at all times when driving.