California Car Accident Law
Personal Injury in California
It would be for your benefit if we do not provide legal information on our website regarding laws in California regarding car accidents or personal injuries. It is our advice that you consult your attorney or lawyer when such unfortunate event happened.
We will be providing a list of attorneys or law offices that specialize in California Personal Injury Law. Meanwhile, you can look up other sources such as yellow books a list of law offices in your area.
General Information about Car Accidents
Car accidents are unintentional damaging events involving
automobiles. Car accidents can damage one or more autos, people, or structures.
Car accidents--also called traffic accidents, auto accidents, road accidents,
and motor vehicle accidents-- cause thousands of deaths and hundreds of
thousands of disabilities each year. Worldwide, car accidents kill an estimated
one million people each year (a 2002 statistic).
Car makers have been both accused of making cars that go too
fast, and praised for the safety measures (such as ABS) found in new models.
Road toll figures show that car accident fatalities have
declined since 1980, with most countries showing a reduction of roughly 50%.
This drop appears to confirm the efficacy of safety measures introduced
thereafter, assuming that driver behavior has not changed significantly.
A safer car increases the perceived safety level, inducing the
driver to go at higher speeds - in fact there is strong evidence to suggest that
every safety advantage conferred by technology is eroded by modified driver
Types of accidents
Collisions can occur with other automobiles, other vehicles such
as bicycles or trucks, with pedestrians, and with stationary structures or
objects, such as trees or road signs.
Many factors result in car accidents, and sometimes multiple
causes contribute to a single accident. Factors include the following:
Driver impairment by tiredness, illness, alcohol or drugs, both legal and illegal. MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) is an organization made up of the families of the dead who were killed in car accidents caused by drunk drivers.
Mechanical failure, including flat tires or tires blowing out, brake failure, axle failure, steering mechanism failure.
Road conditions, including foreign obstacles or substances on the road surface; rain, ice, or snow making the roads slick; road damage including pot holes.
Speed exceeding safe conditions, such as the speed for which the road was designed, the road condition, the weather, the speed of surrounding motorists, and so on.
Most authorities emphasise speed as a primary cause of
accidents, although most experts agree that speed alone rarely causes an
accident. Some argue in favor of speed restrictions to mitigate the consequences
of accidents, relying on Newton's law of momentum. That is, the outcome of an
accident largely depends on the energy dissipated in a crash, and that energy
rises as the square of velocity, according to the equation E = 0.5mv2, where E
is the energy, m is the mass, and v is the velocity. "Speed kills" proponents
may also argue that slower driving causes no harm. On the other hand, critics of
the "speed kills" mentality claim that this argument ignores complex factors
that influence accident outcomes, and thus fails to address the true causes of
Car accidents often carry legal consequences in proportion to
the severity of the accident. Nearly all common law jurisdictions impose some
kind of requirement that parties involved in a collision (even with only
stationary property) must stop at the scene, and exchange insurance or
identification information or summon the police. Failing to obey this
requirement is the crime of hit and run.
Rubbernecking is where drivers slow down to look at accidents or
anything out of the ordinary on the highway. Events ranging from gruesome car
accidents to a police car stopped on the shoulder can cause traffic jams on both
sides of the road, even if the roadway has been cleared.
Although many accidents are caused by behavior that is difficult
to alter, by mechanical failure, or by road conditions, some technical solutions
are becoming more widely available to prevent accidents:
Sobriety detectors: These locks prevent the ignition key from working if the driver breathes into one and is shown to have consumed alcohol.
Drifting monitors: These devices monitor how close a vehicle is traveling to lane markers and, if it starts to drift toward or over the markers without the turn signal being activated, sounds an alarm.
In most developed countries, young (under 25 years old) male
drivers have been shown to be by far the most likely to be involved in a car
accident, and this has become an area of focus in recent times. Reasons
suggested for this prevalence include over-confidence, peer pressure, showing
off and even neurological development arguments. In addition most serious
accidents occur at night and when the car has multiple occupants. This has led
to some discussion of the following proposals:
Some countries or states have already implemented some of these,
but so far no overall consensus to a total solution has been reached. It should
be noted that this prevalence has long been noted by insurance companies, and
premiums reflect that - however, very high premiums for young male drivers does
not seem to have had a significant impact on the accident statistics, suggesting
that these drivers simply accept the high premiums as part of the "on road"
costs of mobility.