Speeding is a frequent element in California car accidents. Nationally, speeding is more than just a leading cause of crashes—it is involved in approximately one-third of all fatal collisions each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)—and has been for more than two decades. Unfortunately, California speeding crashes and deaths are on the rise.
Speeding collision fatalities increased by 11 percent in 2020 and the state highway patrol issued around 31,600 citations for driving faster than 100 miles per hour—roughly double the number of citations issued the previous year in 2019.
If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a California crash caused by a speeding driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Here's what you need to know about California speeding crashes and how the skilled and experienced Riverside car accident attorney at the Inland Empire Law Group can help you fight for—and recover—the fair compensation you deserve.
What Constitutes Speeding?
For many people, driving faster than the posted speed limit is what comes to mind when asked to define speeding. While this definition is not wrong, it is incomplete.
The California legal code defines speeding as driving a vehicle “at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.” Legally speaking, a motorist could be cited for speeding, even if they were driving at or below the posted limit, provided that their speed posed a danger to people or property. Examples of speeding include:
- Driving at speeds faster than the posted limit
- Driving too fast for the current weather conditions
- Driving too fast for the condition of the road
- Street racing, drag racing, or exhibitions of speed
California law requires drivers to operate their vehicles at a safe speed in all road and weather conditions. In some cases, the safest speed may be well below what is posted.
How Speed Affects Driving Performance
Most people are well aware of the dangers of drinking and driving. However, in many ways, speeding can be just as dangerous. Whereas driving under the influence of alcohol can increase how long it takes a driver to react to a hazardous situation, speeding reduces the amount of time a driver has to react, and that's not all. Driving at an excessive speed also severely reduces a driver's ability to safely steer around objects and curves, greatly increases how long it takes them to safely stop and lessens the effectiveness of road safety structures such as guardrails, median dividers, concrete barriers, and impact attenuators.
Was the motorist who caused your accident—or the crash that injured or killed your loved one—speeding? At the Inland Empire Law Group, our exceptional Riverside car accident attorney can help you hold the at-fault party accountable.
Consequences for Speeding in California
In California, the penalties for speeding can vary dramatically depending on where and how fast the motorist was driving. Tickets are issued for speeding violations in which the motorist was driving 100 miles per hour or under.
The state is one of several to pass a “super speeder law,” taking a hard line against motorists caught driving at speeds faster than 100 miles per hour. Consequences can range from a maximum base fine of $500 and up to a 30-day license suspension for a first offense to a maximum $1,000 base fine and a one-year license suspension, or restriction for a third (or subsequent) conviction within five years of a previous conviction.
Depending on the circumstances, speeding could also potentially lead to criminal charges for reckless driving, vehicular manslaughter, or homicide.
However, while such penalties may hold an unsafe driver accountable to the state, they do nothing to compensate accident victims for their injuries and other losses. Fortunately, personal injury litigation can do what driving privilege penalties and criminal consequences can't. And though traffic citations and criminal charges and convictions don't directly benefit victims, they can serve as valuable evidence in a speeding-related car accident personal injury lawsuit.
What to Do if You or a Loved One Were Hurt in California Speeding Crashes
According to our Riverside car accident attorney, if you were in a California speeding crash, you should follow the steps below:
- Report the accident to the police.
- Exchange insurance information.
- Take contact information from witnesses.
- Gather essential evidence, such as photos or videos of the accident scene, injuries, and property damage.
- Seek immediate medical attention and follow through with the treatment plan, including attending subsequent doctor appointments.
- Keep track of your medical bills and other related losses.
- Consult an experienced California car accident lawyer.
What You Have to Prove and What You Could Recover in a Car Crash-Personal Injury Case
Obtaining fair compensation in a car accident injury case requires proving the following elements:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care (they were required to operate their vehicle safely)
- The defendant breached that duty (by speeding)
- The breach (speeding) led to an accident
- You suffered injuries and other damages as a result
Personal injury litigation is complex and proving a claim can be complicated. Fortunately, our accomplished Riverside car accident lawyer from the Inland Empire Law Group can help you build and present a strong case. Depending on the available facts and evidence, we may be able to help you recover compensation for California speeding crashes:
- All accident-related medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage repair or replacement costs
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- And more
If your loved one died in a crash caused by a speeding motorist, our attorneys can help you explore your rights and options for a wrongful death case. This type of legal action allows you to seek compensation for a wide range of economic and non-economic losses.
Schedule a Consultation With Our Riverside Car Accident ATtorney Today!
Ready to find out what the Inland Empire Law Group can do for you? Contact our Riverside car accident attorney today at (888) 694-3529 or (909) 481-0100 to schedule an appointment for a free, initial consultation.