Vehicle accidents are more common these days than ever before; after all, the number of vehicles on America’s roadways has been on a steady upward trend for the last several decades. Statistics indicate that there were about 50 million vehicles in operation in 1950, and that figure has surged to more than 280 million at present. It’s only going to continue growing during the years to come, so accidents are bound to increase in proportion. As crashes surge, so do the number of injuries and untimely deaths they cause. At the same time, the number of people who need attorneys to help them get through the aftermath is skyrocketing as well.
Seeking Legal Counsel
If you need a new attorney following an automobile accident, there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, it’s important to find legal counsel with extensive knowledge and experience in the field of personal injury. Finding a lawyer who has the compassion to understand your needs yet the tenacity to pursue justice is also essential. You’ll also need a lawyer who has a broad range of resources to draw from. Proving exactly who is at fault in an accident and to what extent can be a complicated process in light of all the potential causes of crashes.
Exploring the Common Causes of Accidents and Who May Be Responsible
According to the latest reports, an estimated six million accidents take place annually in the United States. These crashes result in over 90 deaths per day and more than three million injuries each year. The reasons for those accidents vary widely, and determining the exact cause of each one is the key to establishing who is responsible for victims’ injuries and property losses.
1) Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is the most common cause of accidents right now. Drivers take their eyes and attention off of the road to calm crying children in the backseat, rummage through a purse or shopping bag, adjust the radio, or check their phones to name a few of the many modern distractions. Sometimes, drivers come to rely too heavily on the safety and driver-assist features available in today’s vehicles rather than letting their own vision, hearing, and good judgment prevail. Either way, when distracted driving is the cause of the accident, the preoccupied driver is almost always at fault.
Speeding, road rage, ignoring traffic signs and signals, and repeatedly switching lanes are all examples of blatant disregard for other people’s safety. They’re also leading causes of accidents, injuries, and losses of life. These are cases in which irresponsible drivers are to blame for other people’s injuries. When we climb into the driver’s seat, we assume the responsibility of operating the vehicle properly and keeping in mind our safety as well as that of our passengers and others on the road. If someone fails to do so, he or she is accountable for the consequences.
3) Inclement Weather
Heavy rains and pooling water can certainly make for unsafe driving conditions. Ice and snow make navigating roadways even more precarious. In cases where inclement weather comes into play, proving fault is often a bit difficult. If a driver involved in such an accident failed to observe safe driving practices for inclement weather, he or she may be deemed wholly at fault.
In the event everyone seems to have done everything they could to avoid a crash and things still went awry, partial responsibility may be established. On the other hand, a judge may determine that no one was at fault. Expert witnesses may need to be brought in for assistance, making an attorney’s network and resources especially important.
4) Equipment Failure
Proving fault in accidents in which equipment failure is a factor can be particularly complex because of all the variables involved. If a driver failed to have his or her brakes maintained and brake failure caused the accident, he or she could certainly be deemed responsible. If the cause of the accident was a tire blowout, the person responsible could be the driver or the tire manufacturer depending on the age and condition of the tire.
Perhaps the vehicle simply shut down while in motion. In such a case, the vehicle owner or manufacturer might be at fault. The malfunction could also be due to shoddy mechanic work. Again, expert witnesses from various fields can be instrumental in a situation like this.
5) Poor Road Conditions
Quite a few drivers are quick to mention that the roads in their states are less than perfect. Broken asphalt, potholes, sunken drains, missing reflectors, and countless other road maintenance issues can lead to poor road conditions and resulting accidents. In these types of accidents, the entities responsible for road maintenance may be to blame, such as the county or state.
That being said, finding out who the responsible party might be isn’t an easy feat. Ensuring that the right people are held accountable is even more difficult especially when you’re dealing with county, state, or federal departments. An attorney could certainly be crucial in such a situation.
6) Driving Under the Influence
Some call it DUI whereas others call it DWI. Either way, drugs and alcohol are responsible for about 40 percent of the accidents that take place in America. Alcohol and illegal drugs aren’t the only culprits, either. Many people fail to realize that this also includes driving under the influence of prescription medications that can interfere with the ability to operate a vehicle. Even over-the-counter cold and allergy medications fall into this category. As is the case with distracted and reckless driving, DUI is considered a failure to live up to the responsibility of operating a vehicle safely and properly.
Protecting Your Rights and Interests
These are the most common causes of accidents based on recent reports from various sectors. Several details factor into the equation in each of these scenarios, and the laws regarding vehicle accidents vary by state in many cases. Having an attorney on your side following an accident will take much of the stress off of your shoulders and greatly improve your chances of seeing justice.