The Most Common Cause of Collisions
Motor vehicle accidents occur for many different reasons. However, the most common cause of these accidents is negligent driving. Negligent motor vehicle operation means failing to abide by the prevailing standard of care—or driving unreasonably under the circumstances. Negligent driving can take on various forms, including distracted driving and intoxicated motor vehicle operation. No matter the type of negligent driving a motor vehicle operator engages in, serious consequences can result when a negligent driver causes a car crash.
If you have suffered injuries in a motor vehicle collision that resulted from negligent driving, you want a skilled car accident lawyer on your side representing you throughout your case. Your lawyer can discuss the circumstances of your accident with you and can help you file a claim, usually with the insurance company for the driver who was at fault.
Your lawyer can then help you negotiate a favourable settlement offer from the insurance company, and if such an offer is not forthcoming, your lawyer can litigate the case in the court system on your behalf. Your lawyer’s primary goal will be to recover the maximum amount of compensation available in your case, given your car accident injuries and other damages.
Negligence Type #1 —Failing to Follow the Rules of the Road
Traffic laws and regulations are in place to keep drivers and their passengers safe. When drivers violate basic traffic laws, they significantly increase the chances that they will cause a serious motor vehicle collision.
Some of the most common traffic violations that lead to motor vehicle accidents include:
- Speeding (including driving too fast for snowy and rainy weather conditions)
- Failing to use turn signals and weaving in and out of traffic
- Tailgating other vehicles
- Failing to yield the right-of-way at traffic intersections (such as by running a yield sign, stop sign, or red traffic signal)
Any of these traffic violations significantly increases the chances of an accident. For example, when drivers are operating their vehicles far over the speed limit, especially in inclement weather, the driver may not stop their vehicle in time to avoid a collision. Moreover, running a red light or stop sign increases the chances of a T-bone Accident, where the front of the at-fault vehicle collides with the side of another vehicle that is moving in the opposite direction.
Negligence Type #2 – Distracted Driving
With all of the technological devices and other gadgets that people carry around with them regularly, it is no wonder that many motor vehicle crashes occur because of distracted vehicle operation. Distracted driving means failing to give sufficient time and attention to the road while operating a car or truck. A distracted driver, for example, might be using a cell phone or another electronic device in their vehicle to make a telephone call, send a text message, or read an email.
However, not all distracted driving involves cellular phones and tablets. Distracted driving also occurs when a driver turns their head to discipline children in the back seat or roughhouse with passengers in the vehicle. A driver might also become distracted if they attempt to program a GPS device while operating their vehicle. Similarly, loud music playing in the car can distract a driver and divert their attention from the road. Even when a driver only turns their head away from the road for one or two seconds, that can be sufficient time for them to miss an oncoming vehicle or a pedestrian who might be walking in the vicinity.
Negligence Type #3 – Driving While Intoxicated
One final type of negligent motor vehicle operation includes intoxicated driving. An intoxicated driver might be under the influence of alcohol or some other controlled substance, preventing them from operating their vehicle carefully and safely.
This means that if a police officer, through a Breathalyzer device or chemical testing, determines that a driver’s BAC has exceeded the legal limit, that driver is per se intoxicated under the law. However, police officers know how to look for other signs of physical impairment, such as bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, when determining whether or not a driver is intoxicated.
Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated carries numerous criminal penalties, including fines, probation, and even jail time in some circumstances. In addition, if an intoxicated motor vehicle operator negligently causes an accident in which other drivers or passengers suffer injuries, they can be civilly liable, and their motor vehicle insurance coverage will come into play. There may be issues regarding coverage if there is a conviction related to alcohol consumption. As such, it is imperative to speak to an injury lawyer to discuss your claim.
Alcohol can have a significant impact on a driver’s abilities. For example, the driver might not focus on driving, their vision might blur, and their reaction time might slow down considerably. Therefore, the driver can veer off the road and strike another vehicle or pedestrian, or they might not stop their vehicle in time to avoid an impact.
If you or a person you love has suffered injuries in a car accident that resulted from one of these types of negligence, seek the assistance of a knowledgeable auto accident lawyer.
Your lawyer can investigate the circumstances behind your accident and determine if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer can then assist you throughout the process and work to get you the compensation that you deserve for everything you went through following your accident.
Types of Car Collisions that Can Result from Negligence
Many car accidents can result from negligent motor vehicle operation. One common type is a rear-end accident, where the front of the at-fault vehicle collides with the back of another vehicle. The force of this collision can jar the bodies of occupants in the vehicle and cause soft tissue and whiplash injuries.
Another common type of accident that results from negligent driving is a head-on motor vehicle collision. In this type of accident, the fronts of two or more vehicles collide with one another. These accidents are extremely serious and are sometimes fatal, especially when they happen at high speeds. These collisions typically happen with a motor vehicle operator does not pay attention to the road or is intoxicated. Alcohol can blur a driver’s vision, causing them to cross the median strip in the middle of the roadway and collide head-on with an oncoming vehicle.
Another type of collision that happens because of negligent driving is a sideswipe collision. In these accidents, the sides of two vehicles moving in the same direction brush up against one another. Depending on the force of the impact, one vehicle might force the other vehicle into another travel lane or off the road.
One final type of motor vehicle accident that results from negligent driving is a T-bone accident. These accidents typically occur at traffic intersections, where the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another vehicle that is moving in a different direction.
These accidents are likely when a driver is trying to beat a red light or runs a stop sign directly into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Depending on the force of the collision, the impacted vehicle might overturn in the middle of the intersection or spin around, causing the occupants to suffer serious and sometimes deadly injuries.
Injuries that Car Accident Victims Suffer in Accidents Resulting from Negligence
Victims of car accidents can suffer extremely serious injuries that may leave them incapacitated. An accident will abruptly jolt the bodies of the people in the car.
Depending on the type of collision, the accident victim’s body might move forward and backward quickly or from side to side. Furthermore, a part of the accident victim’s body might strike a part of the vehicle, such as the headrest, steering wheel, doorframe, or window, resulting in an injury.
Some of the most common injuries that victims of car accidents may suffer include traumatic head and brain injuries, soft tissue injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and even death.
It is important that victims of car accidents immediately seek medical treatment for their injuries at an urgent care center or hospital emergency room or with their family doctor. While there, the healthcare provider on duty can undertake a detailed physical examination and perform necessary imaging studies, such as a brain scan, MRI, or X-ray.
These tests can shed more light on the injury or injuries the accident victim suffered in the collision. The doctor on duty at the urgent care center or emergency room can then perform emergency medical treatment, if necessary, or make recommendations for follow-up treatment, such as with a medical specialist.
Not treating injuries immediately after an accident can have significant negative consequences for the accident victim. For example, if the accident victim later files a car accident claim or lawsuit, the insurance company might believe that the accident victim’s injuries were not all that serious or that the accident victim did not take their medical treatment seriously.
More importantly, from a health standpoint, when an accident victim does not seek medical treatment following their accident, a relatively minor injury can turn into a far more serious one. Therefore, to be on the safe side, it is important that accident victims get the medical treatment that they need as soon as possible after their collision, and preferably that same day.
Monetary Damages that Victims of Car Crashes Can Recover
Alberta has many laws that deal with car accident victims, including:
- Alberta Insurance Act
- Alberta Standard Automobile Policy
- Alberta Minor Injury Regulation (MIR)
- Alberta accident benefits, called section B benefits
When it comes to recoverable damages in car accidents, not every case is the same. Different accident victims will suffer different injuries and undergo different types of medical treatment. This, in turn, can result in varying types of monetary compensation and damages.
Generally speaking, the more severely an accident victim suffers injuries, the greater pain and suffering they can have, and the higher the damages that a court will award the accident victim. Moreover, higher amounts of monetary compensation are typically available where the accident victim suffers a permanent injury in their accident.
In car crashes that result from negligence, the accident victim has the legal burden of proof. This means that they have to satisfy all of the elements of their case to prevail and recover monetary damages.
Specifically, the car crash victim must show that the other driver behaved unreasonably under the circumstances and that they did something wrong. In addition, the accident victim must demonstrate that this negligence caused their injuries. Accident victims who can satisfy this standard of care may be eligible to pursue and recover various damages.
In addition to recovering monetary compensation for any lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses, accident victims can seek recovery for their pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, inconvenience, loss of the ability to use a body part (such as after a permanent injury), and lost quality of life. They can also claim loss of spousal companionship or consortium.
If you have suffered injuries in a car crash that resulted from negligence, you have legal options. Get a knowledgeable lawyer on board in your case as soon as possible. Your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company in hopes of reaching a favourable settlement. However, if the insurance company refuses to compensate you fairly, you have the option of litigating your case.
No matter what path your case needs to take, you want the right legal team on your side from the very beginning of the process.