Thousands of car accidents in California result in serious, life-altering injuries every year. Tragically, many also result in death. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 3,000 people die in motor vehicle accidents in California every year.
In fact, according to crash statistics, three of the nation’s most dangerous roadways, I-101, I-15, and I-10 are located in Southern California. I-101, also known as the Hollywood Freeway, is listed as the most dangerous road in America.
If you are injured, or a loved one is killed in a car accident, you need an experienced attorney on your side to ensure you receive maximum compensation. Bakersfield car accident lawyer Mickey Fine has over two decades of experience helping victims of motor vehicle accidents get every penny they deserve. Please contact us online or call our office at (661) 333-3333 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your rights.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Some DUI statistics released by the NHTSA that you might find sobering include:
- In 2015, there were 10,265 deaths caused by alcohol-impaired-driving crashes nationwide.
- Of those 10,265 deaths, 1,132 deaths included children 14 years or younger.
- California had one of the highest drunk driving fatality rates at 914 deaths, only behind Texas, which had 1,323 according to the report.
Everyone knows that drunk driving kills. Yet, everyday, in cities across California, intoxicated drivers get behind the wheel and place everyone on the road at risk. If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, Mickey Fine can help you hold the drunk driver accountable for your damages.
In 2012, the latest year for which data are available, 803 drivers died on California roads. That works out to just over two deaths per 100,000 residents. While that number might not seem that high, more than 70 percent of those fatalities involved drunk drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15 or higher, or more than twice the legal limit.
What’s especially disheartening, though, is that nearly 4 out of 5 of these high BAC drunk drivers were repeat offenders. That’s right, 80 percent of drunk drivers who were involved in a lethal car accident and blew a 0.15 or higher had already been in the system before for drunk driving.
Unlike no-fault states, there’s virtually no limit to your ability to pursue damages from a drunk driver. The only significant barrier to getting everything you deserve is Proposition 213, which limits how much you can recover if you, yourself, are uninsured. If you are driving an uninsured vehicle when a drunk driver causes you harm, the courts will try to limit your damages to such quantifiable losses as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages. But trust Mickey Fine to pursue your case as far as is necessary to get you everything you deserve.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is a factor in nearly 80 percent of all motor vehicle accidents. This means that eight out of every ten accidents could potentially be avoided if all drivers would simply pay attention to the task at hand.
Of course, one of the largest causes of distracted driving is texting or talking on a cellphone while operating a vehicle. The state of California has taken measures to decrease cell phone-related car accidents by banning the use of handheld devices in a car, but this law does not address all forms of distraction.
Distracted driving is not limited to cellphone use. In fact, any time attention is taken off the road, the potential for a car accident increases.
- Adjusting the radio
- Programming or reading GPS
- Applying makeup
- Eating or drinking
- Turing to talk to passengers
- Reading billboards or looking at scenery
Reckless driving is considered a misdemeanor in California. According to California Law, someone who is driving recklessly is “a person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.” A reckless driving conviction could result in jail time of up to 90 days and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
Reckless driving can include behaviors such as:
- Driving at high speeds – Driving above the speed limit increases the chances of an accident. Driving above the speed limit will decrease the time you have to react to a sudden change in speed of the vehicles around you. Following posted speed limits will allow you to avoid being one of the 2 million people who are killed or injured in a car accident each year.
- Weaving in and out of traffic – When a driver doesn’t use their turn signal or cuts another car off while attempting to switch lanes, accidents can occur. Make sure to always signal a turn, and use your mirrors to avoid cutting another vehicle off.
- Tailgating – Some drivers can be impatient with the flow of traffic and will often drive too close to the cars in front of them. When this happens, they cannot react in time if the car in front of them suddenly stops or hits their brakes. To avoid these types of accidents always leave one car length between you and the next vehicle for every 10mph your car is traveling.
Running Stop Signs and Red Lights
Stop signs and red lights should never be ignored. 40% of accidents nationwide occur at intersections according to the NHTSA. There are thousands of car accidents each year caused by a driver running a stop sign or a red light. These accidents can cause severe injuries due to how t-bone collisions are oriented. Always look both ways before crossing through an intersection and wait a few seconds after the light turns green.
According to the NHTSA, In 2015, over 5,000 accidents happened nationally involving drivers who were driving fatigued. Of those 5,000 crashes in 2015, 45 people were killed. Driving when you are fatigued can be very dangerous. If you’re on a long road trip or driving late at night, make sure that you are properly rested to avoid falling asleep at the wheel.
Other common causes of car accidents include:
- Aggressive driving or speeding
- Alcohol or drug use
- Defective vehicles
- Dangerous or unmaintained roadways
- View more common causes of car accidents
Many car accidents are not a result of one, but rather a combination of factors, all of which must be identified to ensure proper compensation. The best way to determine what you may be entitled to is through a one-on-one consultation at the Bakersfield office of Mickey Fine.
Common Injuries From Car Accidents
There are many injuries that result from car accidents. The most common car accident injury we see as lawyers happens to be whiplash. Whiplash occurs when a person’s head and neck are violently thrown forward due to a sudden impact. Whiplash often occurs in rear-end collisions, but can happen during head-on or t-bone collisions as well. Whiplash accidents can leave a victim in terrible pain for a few days, months and sometimes, years.
Additionally, some injuries may not show up right away. After an accident your adrenaline is pumping and in some cases you are in shock or even worse, in the hospital. After a few days have passed some injuries may surface, which is why it is always important to get a full health diagnostic a week after your accident even if you think you are ok.
Physical Injuries from Car Accidents
Extreme forces exerted in car accidents will often lead to their victims sustaining severe physical injuries such as:
Broken Bones – Other than whiplash, broken bones are the most common result of a car accident. The force your body is jostled around within the car during a crash is often to much for the human bones structure to handle. Victims of car accidents will often suffer broken hands, legs, and arms.
Cuts/Abrasions/Gashes – When accidents happen, metal and glass are thrown around in what seems to be a million directions. This will often leave victims at the mercy of free-flying shrapnel. Broken glass and metal can easily cause severe cuts and abrasions to a human’s skin.
Severe Bruises – The blunt force of car accident can often toss occupants in the vehicle around no matter how restrained they are. Hitting any part of your body with great force can cause severe bruising to muscle tissue and bones.
Burns – Whether it’s from heat and fire, or from seatbelts, severe burns are often acquired during a car accident. Burns can leave victims with permanent scars and blisters.
Organ Damage/Internal Bleeding – Internal organs are often ruptured or punctured in car accidents. Blunt force trauma can often shake a person to their core. Literally. The force of a car accident can jostle and severely damage a person’s internal organs and cause internal bleeding. Breaking bones such as your ribs can also leave your lungs punctured.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) – Brain injuries are all too common in car accidents. Victims are often thrown around inside of the vehicle with no control over their bodies. Often times, victims will hit their heads on windows, the steering wheel and other parts of the vehicle. Traumatic brain injuries can leave victims temporarily or permanently damaged. People will often lose their memory, lose consciousness and experience frequent and excruciating headaches following their accident.
Spinal Cord Injuries – Spinal injuries are very common in car accidents. Depending on the severity of the crash, victims can sever their spinal cord, crush vertebra and rupture discs. Spinal injury victims can ultimately be left paralyzed, have to get major surgery, attend physical therapy sessions, and be in pain for the rest of their life.
Psychological Problems After Car Accidents
Many times after a car accident, you are focussed on your physical injuries. Any accident victims pay less attention to the emotional stress that they are under. Mickey Fine understands that being involved in a car accident can also have an emotional impact. You may suffer from additional emotional anguish such as:
- Loss of concentration
- Hesitancy to get behind the wheel
- Loss of enjoyment of life
All of these symptoms can impact your life significantly. You may find it difficult to be around people, go to work, school, or get out of bed. Many people are too afraid to talk about the mental problems they are having after a car accident. It is important to get help for these problems and talk to a specialist. Mickey Fine understands how difficult car accidents can be on their victims and is here to help in any way the he can.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
When you are involved in a car accident in California, the steps you take both on the scene and immediately following will play a role in building your case for compensation. California car accident attorney Mickey Fine will conduct an investigation into your accident, but any documentation you can provide will serve to strengthen your case.
At the Scene of the Car Accident
If your injuries do not prohibit it, call 911. You will want to have a police report and be checked by EMTs before you leave the scene of the accident. You should also call your own insurance company to report the accident; they may wish to send an adjustor to the scene to assess damages. Make sure you do not suggest you are at fault for the accident when talking to police, EMTs, your insurance company, or anyone else on the scene. When possible, you will also want to:
- Exchange contact and insurance information, along with drivers’ and vehicle license numbers with everyone involved in the accident.
- Obtain the names and contact information of any witnesses.
- Take multiple pictures of the accident from various angles with your camera or cell phone.
- Complete a police report, making sure to get the badge number and business card of the officers you speak to.
- Cooperate with all emergency personnel and do not alter the scene until advised to do so.
Following Your Car Accident
Following your car accident, you will need to see your doctor. EMTs may clear you to leave the scene, but some injuries can remain unnoticed without a complete physical examination. Explain to your doctor the specifics of your accident to help ensure you receive the appropriate diagnostic tests.
As soon as you are able, contact personal injury attorney Mickey Fine to schedule a free initial consultation. Be sure to bring all of your documentation to this first meeting. If you have been contacted by an insurance company regarding a settlement, bring this information as well. You should never accept an insurance settlement until you have discussed your case with an experienced attorney. Mickey Fine will use your initial consultation to answer your car accident questions, review your documentation and personal account of the accident, and help you determine the best course of action based on the cause of your accident.
Compensation After a Car Accident Case in California
The best way to determine what caused a car accident is through an investigation headed up by an experienced car accident attorney. Bakersfield car accident lawyer Mickey Fine is prepared to conduct an investigation, establish liability, and fight for the compensation you are due.
What Compensation is Available in a Car Accident Claim?
Unless Prop 213 applies in your case, you may be entitled to a full range of economic and noneconomic damages following your car accident. These can include:
- Property damage
- Medical bills
- Emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life
- Lost wages and lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
Who is at Fault in a Car Accident?
Based on the circumstances of your accident, one or more drivers may be at fault. Victims may have the right to sue the following parties:
- The at-fault driver(s)
- The at-fault driver’s insurance company
- The government
- A car’s manufacturer
What is Comparative Fault in a Car Accident Claim?
Often times, there are multiple people at fault in a car accident. When this happens, California’s comparative fault rule has an effect on the outcome of the case. Comparative fault is a system that attributes a fault percentage to each driver in the case and when the case settles, compensation is then divided by the percentage of fault for each motorist in the accident.
Do I Need a Car Accident Attorney?
No matter what type of car accident you have been involved in, you need an aggressive personal injury lawyer on your side. We will protect you against the tactics and insufficient settlement offers of insurance companies, taking your case as far as needed to secure proper compensation.
Our dedication is to justice, not company profit, and we know what needs to be done to help victims of auto, truck, and motorcycle accidents in the Bakersfield area get every penny they are due.
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a car accident in California, please call our experienced car accident attorney at (661) 333-3333 to schedule a free consultation right away. Mickey Fine serves all of California from our office in Bakersfield, but can also come to you if your injury prohibits travel.