Category: Car Accidents

Four Things You Need to Know After a Drunk Driving Accident

Four Things You Need to Know After a Drunk Driving Accident

Each year, about 10,000 people die in drunk driving accidents in the U.S. More than 3,500 of those deaths occur on California roads. Of course, this isn’t a statistic most people want to consider. But if you spend any time behind the wheel, it’s important that you understand the dangers. 

The aftermath of any car accident is chaotic. Add alcohol to the situation and things can get out of control quickly. Sometimes, worst-case scenarios are unavoidable. 

If you do find yourself in a drunk driving accident, stay on top of the situation by answering these four questions:

1. Does the Other Driver Have Insurance?

To answer this question, you will need to make sure you file a police report at the scene of the accident. Any police officer who is called to the scene will compile this and other related information. 

Later, you can obtain the report, which can help you to determine whether your injuries and damages will be covered by insurance. 

It is uncommon, but sometimes, a driver will not have adequate insurance to pay for the damages they cause. In those cases, it may be necessary to take the driver to court to pursue compensation. 

Understanding where the driver stands on insurance will help you know where to turn for coverage.

2. Was Anyone Injured?

If anyone was injured in the accident, make sure to call for medical care. Even if you don’t feel a lot of pain, make sure that you visit a medical professional immediately after the accident. Sometimes, the shock of the accident itself can mask common symptoms of pain.

If you have adequate medical records showing that you pursued treatment right away, you can begin to build a case to pursue compensation for your injuries from the other driver.

3. Is the Bar or Restaurant that Served the Alcohol Liable?

It can be difficult to prove that a bar or restaurant is liable for your injuries or damages. In California, a third party is usually only held liable if they served alcohol to a minor. 

With that being said, you may be able to pursue criminal charges against an establishment if it appears they acted negligently. Did the third party serve alcohol to a known or habitual drunkard? If the answer is yes, the establishment may be charged with a misdemeanor, according to California Business and Professions Code Section 25602

4. Do You Have a Lawyer?

This last question is the most important. Without a lawyer, it can be difficult to navigate the specific nuances of your case. 

When you hire a legal professional, you can expect them to offer the following services:

  • Obtain and evaluate the police report
  • Pursue insurance claims
  • Collect your medical records
  • Help you to fight for adequate compensation for your injuries and/or damages

After you have been hit by a drunk driver, we recommend that you call an attorney immediately. That way, you can move forward with professional guidance. A lawyer will work hard to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Drive Defensively and Avoid DUI Accidents Whenever Possible

The primary goal is always to avoid these accidents in the first place. To do that, we recommend that you drive safely and defensively. 

Defensive driving is easy and requires only a little more focus and awareness than you may typically implement. Safe driving habits will help to protect you from drunk, distracted, or negligent drivers that you may encounter on the road. 

Can You Still Use a Car Seat After an Accident?

Can You Still Use a Car Seat After an Accident?

Several sources recommend that you replace a car seat after an accident. The NHTSA recommends replacing a car seat after a moderate or severe accident.

However, a car seat might not need to be replaced after a minor car crash. The NHTSA defines a minor car crash as:

  • You could drive the vehicle away from the accident scene
  • The vehicle door closest to the car seat was not damaged in the collision
  • There is no visible damage to the car seat
  • None of the vehicle occupants sustained crash injuries
  • The airbags did not inflate during the collision

If any of the above factors apply, you need to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines and consider replacing the car seat. Whenever in doubt, it may be best to replace the car seat. Your child’s safety could be at risk if you use a car seat involved in a car accident. 

The Insurance Company Should Pay for a New Car Seat

If you were involved in a car accident that damaged your car seat, the insurance company should replace the car seat as part of your property damage claim. Don’t allow the insurance adjuster to convince you to replace the car seat. 

You should obtain evidence of the cost of a new car seat that is the same or similar model to your previous seat. You deserve to be reimbursed for the cost of a new car seat if another driver caused the car crash.

Car Seats Decrease the Risk of Death or Injury in a Car Accident

According to the Centers for Disease Control, using a car seat reduces the risk of injury for children by 71 to 82 percent compared to seat belt use alone. Using booster seats reduces the risk of serious injury by 45 percent for children between the ages of four to eight years. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides detailed information about car seats online. Families can use the guidelines to choose a safety seat or booster seat that meets their child’s needs. Parents should also read the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure their child’s height or weight does not exceed the maximum limits for the car seat.

Generally, the AAP recommends using rear-facing car seats for as long as possible. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing safety seat, the parents can transition the child into a forward-facing safety seat. 

The child should use the forward-facing car seat until they outgrow it. Once they outgrow a car seat, the parent can use a booster seat with belt-positioning functions until the child is tall enough for a seat belt.

Parents should check their car seats for recalls and register the car seat to receive recall notices. Each state has laws regarding child passenger restraints. Most state laws follow the AAP and NHTSA guidelines for car seats, but it is up to parents to know the laws in their state.

What Should I Do If My Child Is Injured in a Car Accident?

Children injured in car crashes can sustain traumatic injuries. Even minor injuries could have long-lasting developmental, emotional, physical, and cognitive impairments.

After a crash, you should have your child examined by a physician — regardless of the severity of the crash. You should also watch for symptoms of injuries in the days and weeks after the car accident.

You can protect your child’s legal right to compensation by filing an injury claim. However, child injury claims can be complicated. Seeking legal advice to understand personal injury claims is generally in your child’s best interest.

If you are considering filing an injury claim, you should:

  • Document the details of your child’s recovery with pictures and notes 
  • Take pictures of physical injuries right after the crash and as the injuries heal
  • Keep a journal detailing your child’s recovery 
  • Make notes about your child’s daily struggle with pain, depression, withdrawal, nightmares, and other symptoms

This information can help your attorney prepare a case for maximum compensation for your child’s damages. 

It is always best to verify claim deadlines with an attorney. Missing a deadline for filing a lawsuit could result in the loss of compensation for damages. 

What Are the Odds of Dying in A Car Crash?

What Are the Odds of Dying in A Car Crash?

Since 2014, over six million motor vehicle accidents have been reported in the United States each year. In 2019 alone, there were 6,756,000 traffic accidents nationwide. The result was 36,096 traffic fatalities and 2.74 million injured persons. With such a high rate of accidents occurring each year, you may wonder: “what are the odds of dying in a car crash?”

Odds of Dying in a Car Crash Compared to Other Causes of Death

The National Safety Council (NSC) calculated the lifetime odds of dying from selected causes. In 2019, your odds of dying in a car accident were one in 107. Dying in a motor vehicle crash was eight on the list of causes of death. 

The other seven causes of death examined were:

  • Heart disease (1 in 6)
  • Cancer (1 in 7)
  • All preventable causes of death (1 in 24)
  • Chronic lower respiratory disease (1 in 27)
  • Suicide (1 in 88)
  • Opioid overdose (1 in 92)
  • Fall (1 in 106)

Most traffic accidents are the result of negligence or carelessness. In other words, traffic accidents are preventable in most cases. Drivers make mistakes or engage in dangerous driving behaviors that increase their risk of being in a car accident.

Common Causes of Car Crashes in the United States 

The most common causes of automobile accidents include:

Speeding

Speeding was a factor in 26 percent of the fatal auto accidents in 2019. As the vehicle speed increases, the chance of being in a crash and sustaining severe injuries increases. In 2019, over 9,475 speeding-related deaths were reported.

Distractions 

Distracted driving continues to be a contributing factor in many motor vehicle accidents. In 2019, distracted driving was a factor in six percent of fatal traffic accidents. 

The most common distraction was daydreaming or being lost in thought, followed by:

  • Cell phone use
  • People or objects outside of the vehicle
  • Vehicle occupants
  • Using or reaching for a device
  • Eating or drinking
  • Adjusting vehicle controls
  • Moving objects in the vehicle
  • Smoking

Any activity other than focusing on the road has the potential to be a deadly distraction.

Impaired Driving 

Drunk and drugged driving continue to be a problem throughout the country. Each day, approximately 28 people die because of a drunk driving accident. In 2019, approximately 10,142 people died in drunk driving accidents.

Impaired drivers typically face criminal charges for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The criminal penalty increases if someone is killed or severely injured because of a drunk driving accident. Likewise, drunk drivers may also be held financially liable for the damages caused by a DUI accident.

Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving caused 697 deaths in 2019. When a driver is fatigued or drowsy, their ability to operate a motor vehicle can be severely diminished. Moreover, the chance of falling asleep at the wheel increases, and reaction times and judgment can be severely inhibited. 

Failing to Follow Traffic Laws

Many accidents are caused by failing to follow traffic laws. Failing to yield the right of way, improper lane changes, and following too closely are common causes of traffic accidents. Other factors might contribute to the causes of these types of accidents, such as drunk driving and distracted driving. 

All drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles in a manner that is safe and does not place others at risk for injury or death. If the driver fails in that duty of care, the accident victim may sue the driver for damages.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim or Personal Injury Claim 

When a car accident injuries a person, that person may file a personal injury claim seeking compensation of damages. 

If the other driver is entirely at fault for the cause of the crash, the accident victim may demand full compensation for damages, including:

  • The cost of medical treatment and care
  • The cost of personal care and in-home health care
  • Permanent disabilities and impairments
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of income and benefits
  • Decreases in future earning potential
  • Physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life and enjoyment of life

When a person dies in a car accident, the family may file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver. The wrongful death claim seeks compensation for the family members for damages arising from their family member’s death. 

Damages in a wrongful death case may include financial losses, such as loss of income and funeral expenses. The family may also receive compensation for the loss of companionship, support, guidance, and care from their loved one. 

Lawsuits related to car accidents must be filed within a certain period after the car crash to satisfy the statute of limitations. If you do not file a lawsuit seeking wrongful death or personal injury damages before the deadline, you give up your right to pursue an action in court. Seeking legal advice as soon as possible after a car accident is generally in a person’s best interest.