The California Office of Public Safety indicates there were 3,074 traffic fatalities during 2014. Traveling by car, truck, or motorcycle is an inherently dangerous activity, and when crashes occur, people can lose their lives. Losing a family member or loved one in an accident is never easy and no amount of financial compensation can ever make things right.

However, the practical reality is that losing a loved one often results in economic losses. In many cases, a civil lawsuit is the only way to hold a negligent party responsible for their actions.

California’s wrongful death statute allows certain surviving family members to bring a legal action against a person or party that negligently causes the death of a loved one. Most wrongful death cases arising from car accidents allege that another driver, a car manufacturer, or the party responsible for the maintenance of the roadway was negligent. Below we discuss some of the ways in which these claims arise. For more information, please call our office today.

Other Drivers can Negligently Cause Accidents

A substantial number of accidents are caused by the negligent actions of other drivers. Some of the more common forms of driver negligence include the following:

    • Speeding
    • Distracted driving
    • Failing to yield
    • Poor vehicle maintenance
    • Driving without headlights
    • Driver fatigue
    • Driving under the influence
    • Failing to signal a turn or lane change
    • Following too closely
    • Failing to account for poor weather

After a fatal accident, a victim’s family must establish the other driver was negligent in order to recover damages. In cases where this issue is contested, doing so may require a significant amount of investigation. It may be necessary to review vehicle computer data, surveillance footage that may have captured the accident, eyewitness accounts, or even to employ the assistance of an accident reconstruction expert in order to do so. Additionally, the fact that a particular accident was the result of negligence may not always be clear to the untrained eye. For these reasons and others, it is critical for family members of car accident victims to speak to an attorney about their options.

Vehicle Defects Can Lead to Accidents

Vehicle defects are another common cause of fatal car accidents. These defects tend to take one of three forms: design defects, manufacturing defects, or a manufacturer’s failure to warn consumers about some non-obvious danger that could have been easily mitigated with sufficient warning. In addition, aftermarket defective vehicle equipment can lead to serious accidents.

When these defects cause a fatal accident, the vehicle or equipment manufacturer can often be held liable in a wrongful death lawsuit settlement. Some of the more common defects that cause accidents include the following:

  • Defective brakes;
  • Unstable vehicle design;
  • Defective tires;
  • Problems with steering; or
  • Explosion or fire hazards.

These problems may not be apparent until after an accident has happened and are often difficult to prove. After an accident, family members should meet with an experienced attorney to go over the full history of the vehicle and determine whether there were any potential issues with the vehicle that could have caused or contributed to the accident.

Poorly Designed or Negligently Maintained Roads can Result in Serious Wrecks

Finally, poor roadway design or maintenance can often cause accidents. These kinds of cases tend to be complicated, as most roadways are designed and maintained by public agencies. Whenever a legal claim is asserted against a government agency (such as Caltrans), a special set of legal rules apply. This is because under a legal doctrine known as “sovereign immunity,” the government has protection from lawsuits except to the extent to which it has consented to be sued. One of the special rules is a significantly reduced time limit in which to file a claim, so victims’ families should speak to an attorney immediately. Some of the more common road defects that can cause serious accidents include the following:

  • Defective Brakes;
  • Unstable Vehicle Design;
  • Defective Tires;
  • Problems with steering; or
  • Explosion or fire hazards.

These problems may not be apparent until after an accident has happened and are often difficult to prove. After an accident, family members should meet with an experienced attorney to go over the full history of the vehicle and determine whether there were any potential issues with the vehicle that could have caused or contributed to the accident.

Call GJEL Accident Attorneys Today to Retain a California Wrongful Death Lawyer

If you have lost a loved one in a car accident, you should retain an experienced attorney as soon as possible. In many cases, you may be able to hold the party that caused the loss of your loved one responsible for their negligence and you may recover significant compensation for your losses. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call GJEL Accident Attorneys today at 866-218-3776 or send us an email through our online contact form.

What Does Car Accident Liability Mean?

Car accident liability refers to the legal responsibility for a car crash. Under car accident laws, the party at fault for the accident is typically held responsible for any injuries or property damage that occurs. In order to determine fault, the police may investigate the scene of the accident, gather evidence, and interview witnesses. Insurance companies also play a role in determining fault by reviewing the evidence and determining whether one or both parties are covered by their insurance coverage.

In a car accident lawsuit, the injured party may seek compensation from the party at fault for their injury and/or property damage. The extent of the compensation will depend on the specific car accident laws in the jurisdiction, as well as the insurance coverage of the parties involved.

It is important to understand car accident liability and the role of insurance companies in determining fault and compensation in the event of a car crash. The knowledgeable personal injury lawyers at our law firm can help you navigate the complexities of car accident laws and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injury or property damage.

What Can You Do to Limit Your Car Accident Liability?

We advice people to take steps to limit their liability in the event of a car accident. One way to limit liability is to follow the rules of the road and practice safe driving habits. This includes following speed limits, maintaining a safe following distance, and avoiding distractions such as texting while driving. Additionally, it is important to regularly maintain your vehicle to ensure that it is in safe operating condition.

Having adequate insurance coverage can also limit your liability in the event of a car accident. This includes carrying liability insurance to cover damage to the other party’s property and injury liability insurance to cover medical expenses and other costs associated with any injuries sustained in a crash.

By taking these steps to limit your liability, you can reduce your risk of being held responsible for a car accident and the resulting injuries or property damage. However, even if you take all the necessary precautions, accidents can still occur. In the event of a car crash, it is important to consult with a personal injury lawyer to protect your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Sobering Statistics About Car Accidents

The majority of car accidents, approximately 94%, are caused by driver negligence. This negligence takes many forms, with distracted driving being the leading cause of car accidents, accounting for 25% of all accidents. The second leading cause is speeding, accounting for 23% of all accidents. Meanwhile, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs accounts for 21% of all accidents, and reckless driving accounts for 17%. Finally, failing to obey traffic laws is the fifth leading cause of car accidents, accounting for 15% of all accidents.

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Andy Gillin

Andy Gillin received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his law degree from the University of Chicago. He is the managing partner of GJEL Accident Attorneys and has written and lectured in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury law for numerous organizations. Andy is a highly recognized wrongful death lawyer in California.