Statistics show that each year about 10 million auto accidents occur in US and 33,000 of them have a bad ending.
Accidents can happen in a fraction of a second and can cause property damage and severe personal injuries, along with major economic and emotional losses. If you have been involved in a car accident, the O'Brien & Zehnder Law Firm can help you get compensation for your injuries and loss.
Auto accidents can be prevented by avoiding driver distraction in most cases, as this is the primary factor that influences accidents. Reckless driving and negligent behavior also have a vital importance with consequences that vary depending on the severity of the collision and the driver and passenger’s predisposition to injury. The cost of medical care and productivity losses is estimated at over $99 billion each year, as the latest statistics show. Apart from the injuries that they are prone to, victims also deal with property damage issues and expenses that are not always covered by insurance policies.
Why Are Accidents Happening?
The most common causes of auto accidents include:
- driver distraction
- reckless driving and negligence
- driver fatigue
- running red lights or stop signs
- defective auto parts
- tire blowouts
Driver distraction is the leading cause of auto accidents, as drivers are focused on other activities during driving such as talking on the phone and texting, reading a map, talking to passengers or changing the radio station. These activities should be avoided as much as possible during driving so that there are no influences that might disturb your concentration while driving.
Closely following driver distraction, negligence is another key factor in accidents. Usually, the liable party that failed to act reasonably in a given situation shows different behaviors that include:
- ignoring traffic signs
- improper lane changes
- excessive speeding
- ignoring weather conditions
Severe auto accidents also happen because of fatigue. Usually involving commercial trucks, these accidents can cause a tragedy considering the size and weight differences between passenger cars and trucks. Road defects, roadway design errors and the weather conditions also have a great influence and can result in fatal accidents as well.
Serious Injuries: Victims Suffer from Physical Pain and Mental Anguish
As for injuries, car accidents can affect a person’s life forever. These include:
As an experienced auto accidents lawyer, John M. O’Brien can help victims of car accidents receive the compensation they deserve. Depending on the severity of the accident, victims may undergo long term treatments, surgeries and physical therapy that involve substantial economical losses.
Can Car Manufacturers and Public Road Companies Also Be Held Liable?
Yes, companies that are maintaining, designing or building public roads and car manufacturers can also be held liable for auto accidents if the investigation shows proof that there was a design or manufacturing error or any other flaws regarding the road state when the accident happened. Some car manufacturing defects that can influence accidents are:
- malfunctioning seat belts
- defective air bags
- faulty brakes and tires
- unsafe fuel system
John M. O’Brien on Safe Driving in Sacramento & Elk Grove
As car traffic increases each year and more accidents are happening because of reckless driving, John M. O’Brien advises Sacramento drivers to adopt defensive driving techniques to minimize the chances of an accident. Here are the tips you need to consider when driving on the roads of Sacramento.
- Keep focused on your driving and avoid distractions. Consider using a hands- free device if you need to use your cell phone. Texting and reading messages while driving is illegal in the state of California. Limit passenger interaction and avoid eating, checking maps or changing the radio station while driving.
- Obey the traffic signs and speed limits. Stop at red lights and adapt your speed considering the weather conditions. Keep in mind that speed limits may not apply to the wet or icy road conditions.
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Alcohol accounts for over 30% of all auto accident fatalities in the U.S. Prescription drugs also have a great influence on the driver, so make sure there are no significant secondary effects before you use any.
- Always use the seat belt. Seat belts have proved to be life saviors in many accidents. Unfortunately, over half of the fatalities resulted from car accidents involved passengers who were not buckled up. Remember always to use the seat belt, even if you go for a short drive around the neighborhood.
- Never drive if you are tired. Fatigue accounts to 20% of all crashes. Always get plenty of rest before you get behind the wheel. 8 hours of sleep each night is a must!
- Inform yourself about the weather and road conditions. Check your windshield wipers for any problems that may affect their functionality, check your headlights. According to the law, in the case of snow or rain, headlights must be on anytime, and your wipers should function continuously. Reduce your speed on wet, icy or foggy roads even if the maximum speed limit says you can go faster. Those speed limits may not apply to the weather conditions mentioned above.
- Keep a safe distance between vehicles. Even if you may be obeying Sacramento’s driving rules, you should always expect the unexpected. Tailgating, illegal and unpredictable lane changes, sudden stops or unsignaled turns can rapidly transform into severe accidents. It is important to be aware of the traffic around you so you can act quickly if anything happens.
- Vehicle maintenance is a must. Regular checkups should be done, not only because it helps you extend the life of your car but also because it can make a difference between life and death. Check your tires, wheel rims, see if there are any leaks or if it smells like gasoline inside your car. Make sure you pack the following items if you are traveling: flashlights, batteries, cell phone with an additional power source, tire chains, drinking water and snacks, warm, waterproof clothing and blankets. Keep a first aid kit in your vehicle at all times!
What Kinds of Damages Can Be Compensated?
Two types of damages may be compensated after an auto accident: compensatory and punitive damages. The first covers property damage, pain, and suffering, medical expenses, loss of income and future earnings. The purpose of compensatory damages is to reestablish the financial state of the victim before the accident. The second type of compensation can be awarded in the case similar conduct needs to be prevented in the future or when the defendant’s conduct draws punishment. You should immediately follow some steps in the event of a car accident in case you are considering filing an auto accident claim.
These steps are listed below:
- take photographs and document the circumstances of the crash
- gather statements from any people who have witnessed the accident
- obtain a copy of the police report
If you are involved in a car accident in Sacramento or Elk Grove areas, contact John O’Brien immediately to analyze the circumstances of your accident so that you may be fully compensated for any injuries that you have sustained. As an experienced auto accident attorney, Mr. O’Brien will provide you with peace of mind for you to move forward with your life after a traumatizing experience. Contact Elk Grove-based John M. O'Brien today by calling toll free 800.722.4176 or our local line 916.714.8200 if you are a car accident victim.