Motor Vehicle Accidents - An Overview
Motor vehicle accidents cause the loss of time, property, health and even life. Such accidents occur because of elements including driver error, negligence, distracted driving, manufacturing defects and dangerous weather. No matter what the specific cause or result, a car crash can turn a normal day into a prolonged struggle. Speaking with a lawyer can help you sort out your rights, your options and your future. Contact Joshua Katz in Santa Rosa, California, to schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney.
At-fault, negligent and aggressive drivers
When you have been in an auto accident, you may have a sense of who caused it. Issues of fault, however, can be complicated by who acted when and which laws governed the situation. If the other driver was negligent, you may have to prove that the driver breached a duty of care to you and that the breach caused your damages. The assistance of an attorney can be immensely valuable at this time, whether you are battling an insurance company, seeking compensation for your injuries or defending yourself in court.
Sources of information on the accident include police reports, witnesses and the condition of the vehicles involved in the accident. They could reveal what happened and why.
Actions, on the part of either driver, that may have contributed to the accident include:
- Failing to stop at a red light or stop sign
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Failing to compensate for dangerous weather conditions
- Driving above or below the posted speed limits
- Distracted driving caused by a cell phone, passenger, radio or another source
- Failing to obey traffic laws regarding turn signals, right-of-way and other rules
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 his or her 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. Generally, aggressive drivers are a serious threat to safety. Speeding and taking other risks contributes significantly to motor vehicle fatalities.
It is important to avoid confrontation with road-rage drivers and aggressive drivers. You have a better chance of staying safe if you:
- Get out of the way
- Avoid eye contact
- Refuse to make or return obscene gestures
- Let go of your pride for a while; don't challenge the other driver
- Report the aggressive driving to the authorities, stopping in a safe spot to use your cell phone if necessary
Drunk driving and motor vehicle accidents
Drunk driving can lead to both criminal charges and a civil lawsuit. Additionally, 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. This, however, does not take any responsibility from the driver who drove while intoxicated. If you have been in an accident involving alcohol or drugs, seek the help of an attorney who will explain your legal options.
Auto accidents not caused by the drivers
Sometimes, no matter how carefully you drive, you cannot avoid an accident. In certain cases, a vehicle's manufacturing or design defect causes the accident or makes it worse. This might happen if, for instance, the brakes on your car fail or the airbag does not deploy when it should. The law of products liability applies in those situations, protecting consumers when products create an unreasonable risk of harm. If a product defect caused your injuries, you may have a case against the designer, manufacturer or distributor of the motor vehicle.
Another responsible party could be a mechanic who improperly repaired the car that caused the accident. Both the mechanic and the mechanic's employer could be liable in such a case.
Finally, poorly maintained roads, messy and confusing construction, unclear signage, improperly designed roads and similar problems can contribute to an accident. Government entities are typically responsible for maintaining roads and highways; they may, therefore, be liable for accidents caused by the above factors. Special rules, however, apply to lawsuits against government entities; a lawyer will be able to explain them in detail.
Contact a personal injury attorney
It is important to take prompt action when you have been in a motor vehicle accident. This will help you preserve your rights and seek proper compensation. Contact Joshua Katz in Santa Rosa, California, to schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer.