Car accidents occur for many reasons: driver error, negligence, manufacturing defects and dangerous weather. No matter what the specific cause or result of the car accident, speaking with a lawyer at Haskins James Law and we can help you sort out your rights, your options for moving forward.
At-Fault, Negligent and Aggressive Drivers
Driver negligence is much more common than you might think. All it takes if a lack of attention in that split-second before the accident. Whether the distraction is talking to another passenger or child, changing a CD or radio station, applying make-up, eating, or talking on the phone, it may be enough to prevent the normally quick reaction time needed for changing traffic conditions, such as sudden braking in stop-and-go traffic, or avoiding an object or animal in the road. More serious negligence occurs when traffic or criminal laws are actually violated: disobeying traffic signs and signals, driving above or even well below the posted speed limit, failing to signal while turning or changing lanes, disregarding the weather or traffic conditions, and driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of the both.
You may have a sense of who caused a car accident; but a determination of “legal fault” can be surprisingly complicated and involve questions about who acted when, which laws governed the situation, witness recollections and the like. Even if the driver of the other car was clearly negligent, you must still prove that his negligence caused your damages. Police and car accident reports, including witness statements and photos can help; but even then, many car and auto insurance companies will contest what appears to be clear liability and force you to “prove it.”
Actions, on the part of either driver, that may have contributed to the car accident include:
• Driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs
• Failure to stop at a red light or stop sign
• Driving a car above or below the posted speed limits
• Failure to obey traffic laws regarding turn signals, right-of-way and other rules
• Failure to compensate for dangerous weather conditions
• Driver distraction caused by a cell phone, passenger, radio or another source
Sometimes the at-fault driver is more than merely negligent; he or she may have acted recklessly or even intentionally. A reckless driver acts with conscious disregard for the probable consequences of the driver’s actions. Road rage incidents often involve reckless behavior, and they can escalate into intentional behavior. Road rage in particular can be extremely dangerous, leading to injuries and criminal charges.. Aggressive drivers are a serious threat to the safety of all the other drivers; and if they cause a wreck, their liability is usually apparent. The difficulty lies in identifying them, and then hoping they are covered by insurance!
DUI – Drunk Driving – Drugs
In the US, driving while intoxicated accounts for about 40% of the reported traffic accidents; someone dies every 30 minutes in an alcohol-related car crash; and someone else is injured every two minutes. Drunk driving can lead to both criminal charges and a civil lawsuit. In Addition, the business that sold alcohol to the drunk driver may be held liable if it served the driver when he or she was visibly intoxicated. However, this does not take any responsibility away from the driver who drove his car while intoxicated. Almost half of the traffic accident fatalities in Salt Lake City are speeding related, and most of those are also alcohol-related. If you have been in a car accident involving alcohol or drug use by the other driver (not you) come in and let us explain your legal rights in these curcumstances.
Car Accident Injuries and Compensation
We help drivers and passengers injured in car accidents recover damages from the party or parties who caused the accident. “Damages” means money, and the money is paid to the victims to compensate them for their physical injuries, such as broken bones, spinal injuries and head injuries; and also for their physical pain and their mental and emotional suffering. This is often referred to as “pain and suffering”. Damages may also be sought to pay for the victim’s medical bills that arose directly after and because of the car accident, in addition to reasonable future medical bills. If the victim requires rehabilitative services or accommodations, such as physical therapy or a ramp leading to the home, these costs may be recovered. The car accident victim also may recover lost past and future wages. Compensation for damage to personal property may also be recoverable.
If you have been injured in a car or other type of motor vehicle accident, it is best to keep a daily dialog documenting how the injury is affecting you, both emotionally and physically. This can be of great assistance when it comes time to show the effects of the accident.