Car accidents are an everyday occurrence in California, with the state reporting roughly 200,000 injury crashes each year, according to the California Highway Patrol (CHP). These accidents can have a wide range of causes and contributing factors. Find out which are the most common, as well as how to protect your rights if you were hurt in a crash that wasn't your fault, and how our skilled team of personal injury attorneys can help you recover the damages you deserve.
California law tasks all drivers with operating their vehicles safely to avoid injuring others. Unfortunately, not all motorists share the same commitment to safety, and many engage in dangerous behaviors that can cause serious accidents. Here are some common causes and contributing factors for California car crashes:
- Distracted driving. Any activity that takes a driver's full attention away from driving can be potentially deadly. Eating, grooming, changing the music, smoking, conversing with passengers, disciplining children, and interacting with pets behind the wheel are all forms of distracted driving that can lead to accidents.
- Phone use. Talking and texting are particularly deadly driver distractions, as they can cause motorists to take their eyes off the road, at least one hand off the wheel, and their mental focus away from driving. In the time it takes to read or send a text message (approximately five seconds), drivers can travel the length of a football field—without eyes on the road.
- Drunk or drugged driving. Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can impair driving performance, resulting in reduced attentiveness, slowed reaction times, and poor judgment.
- Drowsy driving. Getting behind the wheel without sufficient rest can be just as impairing as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Speeding. Driving above the speed limit, or too fast for current road or weather conditions, is a contributing factor in many Inland Empire crashes—particularly those involving serious injuries or fatalities.
- Tailgating. Following other vehicles too closely can lead to rear-end accidents that result in injuries and other losses.
- Reckless driving. Drivers who operate their vehicles without regard for the safety of others can cause or contribute to catastrophic car crashes.
Younger Drivers and Older Drivers
While drivers of any age can cause or contribute to an accident, some demographics—such as young and older drivers—have a heightened risk of causing a crash. For young, teen drivers, this is often due to inexperience, lack of skill, and their likelihood of engaging in dangerous driving behaviors such as texting. For older drivers, this increased crash risk is associated with aging-related issues like vision, cognitive, hearing, and mobility impairments.
Protect Your Rights After a California Car Accident
Regardless of which type of driver and dangerous driving behavior caused your injuries, it's vital to begin protecting your right to recovery as soon as possible. Here's what you can do:
- Stay at the scene.
- Check involved drivers and passengers for injuries.
- Call the police and ask for an ambulance, if necessary.
- Take photos of relevant road or weather conditions, visible injuries, and property damage.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver.
- Get contact information from people who witnessed the crash.
- Seek immediate medical attention.
- Follow through with scheduled appointments and prescribed treatments.
- Let your car insurance company know you've been in an accident.
- Consult a California car crash attorney as soon as possible.
Talk to Us About Your Case
Hurt in a California car accident you didn't cause, and suffering physical injuries, lost wages, and other damages as a result? You need a skilled legal team to help you file a personal injury lawsuit and fight for the compensation you deserve. That's just what you'll find at the Inland Empire Law Group, where our esteemed injury recovery specialists have assisted thousands of clients in situations similar to yours. Let us put our considerable knowledge and experience to work for you. Contact us today at (888) 694-3529 or (909) 481-0100 to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation. We look forward to discussing the details of your case.