California’s Increases In Motor Vehicle Fatalities

California’s Increases In Motor Vehicle Fatalities

Fatal Auto Accidents: What Rights Do I Have After a Car Accident Kills a Loved One?

san mateo car accident lawyer A car accident can disrupt your life in many ways, but for some people, a crash ends a life completely. Whether someone dies instantly in a collision or succumbs to their injuries after weeks in the hospital, their close family members will have to deal with the fallout of the tragic loss. This can involve emotional devastation, as well as financial losses. Over 38,000 people died in traffic accidents in a recent year in the U.S., and these fatal crashes left many families in difficult situations. The last thing you want to do in this situation is to decipher your rights and navigate the complex wrongful death claim process alone. Do not wait to seek help from a compassionate wrongful death attorney who can handle everything for you. Below is some information regarding common injuries that might be fatal, vehicles involved in fatal crashes, how wrongful death claims work, and more.

Common Fatal Injuries From Crashes

Many injuries can be fatal, and the following are some examples of severe crash-related injuries that might end a life.


A traumatic brain injury happens when you experience a blow or penetrating wound to the head. This injury can occur in a collision from the head striking something in a motor vehicle. When someone survives this type of injury, it can result in life-altering disabilities. However, some head trauma is so severe that it causes life-ending brain damage.

Spinal Cord Injury

A traffic collision can cause trauma to the spinal cord, which helps to facilitate bodily functioning. When the trauma completely severs the spinal cord, it can be fatal for the victim.

Internal Injuries

Accident victims can often suffer major damage to their internal organs, including punctured lungs, and internal hemorrhaging can also be life-threatening. Sometimes, victims do not know they have such severe injuries internally until it is too late to save them.


Some vehicles catch fire or explode in collisions, and this can be life-threatening for occupants who cannot escape the vehicle in time.

Penetrating Injuries

Pieces of metal and other objects can penetrate an accident victim, causing fatal damage to internal organs and having similar effects as a stab wound.

Collisions With Large Trucks And Buses Are Especially Dangerous and Fatal

Increasingly, new drivers are crowding the roads, but we also see more large trucks and buses. People don’t often shop at the mall anymore, they order them online. This has increased the number of big trucks causing accidents and leading to a great deal of injury and road fatalities. Accidents with large trucks and buses are especially fatal for occupants of motor vehicles. In one recent year alone, there were 499,000 police-reported accidents involving large trucks and buses, of which 5,096 were involved in fatal crashes. Large trucks and buses were involved in 121,000 accidents that involved injuries. When large trucks strike passenger vehicles, they are more likely to injure or kill the passengers inside. Trucks are heavier and run higher, so the risk of running over the motor vehicle is much higher. If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury in an accident with a large truck, you may be entitled to damages for your injuries, lost earnings, and potentially pain and suffering. Your car accident attorney will work with you on each step of the way to ensure that you collect what you are entitled to so that you can move on as well as possible from the accident.

If You Lost a Loved One, You Might File a Wrongful Death Claim

If you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, you can seek legal recourse and justice through the wrongful death process. Do not hesitate to reach out to a local auto accident attorney to discuss options regarding filing a claim. A successful claim can mean financial recovery for your family. This can never bring your loved one back, but it can help you move forward. An attorney will make sure you take the necessary legal steps for your claim to succeed. When a loved one dies due to the negligence or wrongful conduct of someone else, you can file a lawsuit claiming wrongful death, which is when a person loses their life due to an accident that would not have occurred were it not for the at-fault party’s actions. For example, if a truck ran a red light and killed your spouse, you may bring a wrongful death lawsuit to seek damages for your financial, practical, and emotional losses.

Damages Include Loss of Your Loved One’s Financial Contribution

When you lose a loved one in an accident, you can collect damages to replace the amount of income that your household lost. Your family depends on each contribution to the household, and when an accident takes the life of a financially supportive member of the family, the at-fault party is liable for the loss of value that the home experiences. Wrongful death lawyers calculate this by measuring the financial contribution of the lost person by the number of years remaining in their working life. This can be complicated, but an experienced attorney knows how to compute this for you and then negotiate the closest possible settlement or beyond with the other party.

You Can Recover Damages for the Loss of Emotional Support of Your Loved One

Wrongful death lawsuits also recognize the emotional value that a loved one contributes to the home. Through this cause of action, you can collect damages to make up for the lost emotional support and physical companionship of your loved one. In limited circumstances, you can collect damages for called punitive damages if the conduct that led to the death was particularly egregious, such as road rage or excessively drunk driving. The overall number of fatal collisions has been decreasing across the country, but the state of California is seeing some troubling trends. According to the Huffington Post, data from 2011 shows that the number of fatal collisions reached the lowest it has been in 60 years. The U.S. Department of Transportation recently published data indicating that 32,367 people in the U.S. were killed in automobile accident in 2011. This figure represents a decrease of 1.9 percent from 2010. Unfortunately, despite this nation-wide trend, further research from the DOT indicates that an alarming number of drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel. According to a recent LA Times article, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data indicating that one in four adults admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel. What makes this statistic particularly alarming is that 33 percent of traffic accidents involve what’s known as “drowsy drivers”.

California Experiences Increase In Automobile Fatalities

Despite the national decline in fatal collisions, the state of California has actually experienced a 2.6 percent increase in its number of fatal traffic accidents. With 2,791 automobile fatalities in 2011, California has the second-highest amount of automobile fatalities in the country. Moreover, fatal accidents involving pedestrians seems to be a problem the state of California continues to face. For instance, in Los Angeles, pedestrians actually accounted for almost one-third of all traffic fatalities. This statistic is over double the national average.

Sleepy Drivers Must Be Held Responsible For Their Actions

The repercussions of a sleepy driver’s actions will depend on several different factors. For example, the vehicle’s speed, the vehicle’s weight, and roadway volume will all affect the severity of the crash. Bringing a suit against a sleepy driver whose carelessness caused the injury is a very detailed process. In order to ensure the most favorable outcome for the injured party, careful attention must be paid throughout the investigation process, as this will typically establish the cause of the accident. Injuries sustained in an automobile accident tend to generate high medical bills and may also leave the injured unable to work. Any person who has been injured due to the negligence of another driver should contact an experienced personal injury attorney.


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