There are millions of motor vehicle crashes on U.S. roadways every year. There were 6,734,000 in 2018 alone, which amounts to nearly 18,500 crashes a day. Tens of thousands of these crashes are fatal and more than 1.5 million result in injuries, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Unfortunately, many fatal and injury accidents are the result of driver negligence, such as speeding, drunk driving, distracted driving, or disobeying traffic laws. That means most of these crashes could have been prevented, saving lives and sparing victims from physical, financial, and emotional harm.
Geoff McDonald and Associates discusses car crashes caused by negligence, explaining what negligence means and the harm it can cause. If you were injured in a crash and believe it was caused by negligence, give us a call today to schedule a free consultation. We have helped many crash victims recover compensation for their damages.
What is Negligence?
Negligence is a failure to act with care to prevent others from suffering physical and/or emotional harm. A negligent individual may have done something that resulted in harm to others or failed to act and that failure resulted in harm.
If you were injured in an accident and want to file a personal injury claim, you and your attorney would need to prove the four elements of negligence were present.
The four elements are as follows:
The Other Party Had a Duty of Care
Your Richmond car accident lawyer must establish the other driver had a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to protect others from harm. For example, all drivers are required to obey the rules of the road in the state they are traveling.
The Other Party Failed to Uphold the Duty of Care
You and your attorney must present evidence establishing the other driver failed to uphold a duty of care. Evidence of a breach of the duty of care may include evidence showing the other driver was drunk or speeding.
The Failure to Uphold the Duty Caused Injuries
There must be a direct link between the failure to uphold the duty of care and your injuries. In other words, the victim’s injuries would not have happened unless there was a breach of the duty of care.
If the other driver was speeding, your lawyer must show how this caused the accident and how the impact from the accident resulted in your injuries. For example, you may be able to link speeding to a broken arm if you were involved in a T-bone collision that left a huge dent in the driver’s side door, and the driver of the car that hit you was racing to beat a red light.
Injuries Caused Damages
Your lawyer must provide proof of damages from your injuries, such as the medical bills you have accumulated for the treatment of your injuries. Other damages you may be able to pursue include lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damages.
Common Examples of Negligence When Driving
Below, review some of the most common examples of negligent driving and the alarming statistics on how many accidents and injuries are caused by these crashes.
This is one of the most egregious examples of negligent driving behavior. Drunk drivers put themselves and everyone else on the road at risk because their judgment, reaction time and motor skills are compromised. That is why drunk drivers often struggle to stay in one lane, react to the cars around them or avoid serious mistakes in judgment, such as going the wrong way.
In 2018, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol was a factor in 5,175 fatal crashes, just over 10 percent of fatal crashes that year, according to NHTSA.
While we hear a lot about distracted driving in the news, speeding is still the leading cause of fatal car crashes, according to the National Safety Council. In 2018, driving too fast for the road conditions or above the posted speed limit was a factor in 26 percent of fatal car crashes.
Speeding gives drivers less time to react to things, such as a car suddenly stopping in front of them or an obstacle in the road. When combined with distracted driving, speeding is a recipe for a collision that results in serious injuries and potentially death.
Whenever someone is driving a car while distracted by something is engaging in distracted driving. Distractions are things that take your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or your mind off of driving.
The media focuses a lot on texting and driving because it has become one of the most common distractions. However, there are many other distractions that could result in a crash, such as:
- Making a phone call
- Eating or drinking
- Using the radio or other features on the dashboard
- Reading a map or reviewing written directions
- Talking to others in the car with you
- Using the internet on your smartphone
- Using a navigation system
- Sending or reading emails
According to national statistics, distracted driving was a factor in more than 5 percent (2,688) of fatal car accidents in 2018 alone (2,841 people were killed in these crashes). That National Safety Council also reports cellphone use while behind the wheel causes approximately 1.6 million crashes every year, resulting in 390,000 injuries. In fact, one of every four car crashes are caused by texting and driving.
Other examples of negligent behavior that often lead to car accidents include:
- Disobeying traffic laws, including red lights, stop signs, yield signs or right-of-way laws
- Drowsy driving
- Making wild traffic maneuvers, like suddenly stopping, swerving or stopping past the line at an intersection
- Improper use of vehicle equipment, such as failing to use your turn signal, not dimming high beams, not using hazard lights, or failing to fix broken brake lights
Injuries Often Caused by Negligent Driving
Negligent driving can result in many severe injuries that are sometimes fatal. For example, brain damage, spinal cord injuries and internal organ damage could all be fatal, particularly if treatment is delayed.
Other serious injuries from car crashes could include:
- Broken bones
- Compound fractures
- Nerve damage
- Crush injuries
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
Need Help After a Car Crash? Call to Set Up a Free Consultation
At Geoff McDonald & Associates, we know what you are going through after a car crash. In more than 20 years serving clients in Richmond and the state of Virginia, we have recovered compensation numerous car crash victims. This includes a recovery of $1.75 million for the victim of a rear-end crash.
Your consultation is free, and you are not obligated to hire our firm after this meeting. If you choose to do so, there will be no upfront fees and no fees unless you are compensated.
Geoff McDonald & Associates. No Upfront Fees. Call (866) 369-9051 today.