What Percentage of Car Accidents Are Caused by Human Error?

Each year, nearly 40,000 Americans are killed in auto accidents. An additional 4.4 million Americans suffer vehicle accident injuries that are serious enough to require medical attention. Traffic related crashes are the leading cause of death in the US for individuals between the ages of one and 54, and according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT), the growing epidemic of car accident fatalities and disabilities is becoming increasingly recognized as a major public health concern.

According to a 2016 study by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), somewhere between 94% and 96% of all car accidents are caused by human error. The results of the studies seem to argue in favor of the use of self-driving technology to eliminate the human element and significantly reduce the number of auto accident injuries and fatalities each year.

We still have a ways to go before self-driving cars will be ready to fully replace human drivers, but some of the technologies introduced in newer vehicles are already helping to keep motorists safer. These include backup cameras, blind spot detectors, lane departure warning sensors, forward collision warning sensors, and adaptive headlights. Safety features like these will be commonplace in the vehicles of the future, and someday, it is likely that vehicles will be at least partially if not fully automated.

What are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents?

Of the 94% to 96% of auto accidents that result from human error, the NHTSA lists several factors that often contribute to these accidents:

  • Distractions: Distracted driving is quickly becoming one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents. In our modern age, people have a constant need to “stay connected”. And when they are driving, they are often tempted to quickly look down at their phone to read or send a text message. But even looking away from the road for a few seconds can result in disastrous consequences.
  • Drowsiness and Fatigue: A surprising number of Americans drive when they are tired or sleepy. According to a National Sleep Foundation study, about half of all US adult drivers admit to driving while they were feeling drowsy. 20% admit to falling asleep behind the wheel at some point during the past year, and 40% admit to falling asleep at the wheel at least once during their driving careers.
  • Aggressive/Reckless Driving: A large number of motor vehicle accidents are caused by aggressive driving behaviors that sometimes cross over into recklessness. Examples include speeding, tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes, running stop lights and stop signs, making dangerous or illegal turns, dangerous or illegal passing maneuvers, and many others. These types of behaviors greatly increase the chances of a car crash.
  • Alcohol: After several decades of high-profile public awareness campaigns, almost all drivers are aware of the dangers of getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink. Unfortunately, a high number of motorists still drive drunk. Chemical impairment has been shown to slow reaction times and generally result in very poor driving decisions.
  • Third-Party Negligence: Sometimes, auto accidents are caused by parties that are not directly involved in the crash. For example, something could go wrong with the vehicle while it is on the highway, such as the tire blowing out or the brake line failing. This could be the fault of the party responsible for maintaining the vehicle or the manufacturer, supplier, or distributor of a faulty vehicle or vehicle part. Poor road conditions that are caused by negligent road maintenance could also play a role in a vehicle crash.

Holding Responsible Parties Accountable for a Car Accident

When someone gets injured in an auto crash that was caused by someone else’s error or negligence, they deserve to be fully compensated. This is very important not only so the victim can be “made whole”, but also to help ensure that those who cause auto accidents are held fully accountable. When those who are responsible are made to face the consequences of their actions, it provides a very strong incentive to drive more safely in the future.

Injured in a Car Accident in Atlanta? Contact an Experienced Attorney

If you or someone close to you got hurt in a vehicle crash, you need strong legal counsel by your side fighting hard to get you the compensation you deserve. In the Atlanta area, contact Ross Moore Law for assistance. Message us online or call our office today at (404) 905-3146 for a free consultation and case assessment. We look forward to serving you!

The Fundamentals of Personal Injury Law

For anyone who has been injured because of the negligence or reckless actions of another party, understanding the basic fundamentals of personal injury law is a must. First among these is the importance of getting the medical treatment you need. Obtaining immediate medical care is critical not only for your health and well-being, but also for your legal claim.

You will need extensive documentation of both your physical and psychological condition in order to recover maximum compensation. In addition, as an injured party, you also have a legal duty to mitigate your losses by obtaining prompt care for your injuries and following through on all treatments and procedures that are prescribed by the medical professional you are seeing.

In What Circumstances do Personal Injury Laws Apply?

Personal injury law can apply to any accident or event in which someone is injured by another person or party. Some situations in which a personal injury claim may be appropriate include:

  • Auto Accidents
  • Truck Accidents
  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Boating Accidents
  • Construction Accidents
  • Premises Liability
  • Dog Bites
  • Product Liability
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Nursing Home Abuse
  • Intentional Acts of Violence

In order for an injured party to have a valid personal injury claim, four elements must be proven:

  • Duty of Care: The defendant owed a duty of care to take reasonable steps to prevent you from being injured. For example, a motorist is required to drive in a safe manner, avoid alcohol, and avoid unnecessary distractions.
  • Breach of Duty: The defendant breached this duty through negligent or reckless actions or omissions. For example, a car crashed into you while the driver was speeding and went through a red light.
  • Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty was the proximate cause of the accident; e.g., the collision would not have happened but for the fact that the defendant sped through the red light.
  • Damages: The accident or event caused by the defendant resulted in compensable losses. For example, because of the car crash, you suffered several fractures that will keep you out of work for an extended period of time. Because of this, you have medical bills that will top six figures, tens of thousands of dollars in lost wages, the possibility of lost future earning capacity, untold amounts of physical and emotional suffering, and the inability to participate in activities that you once enjoyed.

How Does a Personal Injury Claim Work?

In most cases, the person or party responsible for injuring you is not going to step forward and willingly compensate you for all of your losses. Usually, you will be dealing with the responsible party’s insurance company, which likely means dealing with an insurance adjuster.

You can deal with the insurance company yourself, or you can hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your claim. It is important to understand that, while the insurance company representative might tell you that you will receive a fair settlement whether you have legal representation or not, insurance is a business, and their goal is to pay out as little as possible for claims filed against their insured. For this reason, it is best to work with an experienced attorney who is looking out for your best interests.

Once you have an attorney representing you, they will handle all of the complex legal tasks and guide you through the process from A-Z. They will deal directly with the insurance company and advise you on what actions you need to take in order to bring your claim to a successful conclusion.

From the outset, your attorney will thoroughly investigate your case and gather all of the important facts and pieces of evidence. This may include police reports, photos of the accident scene, accounts of witnesses, and much more. Your attorney will also examine your medical documentation to show the extent of your injuries and put together the strongest possible case to present to the other side during settlement talks.

It is generally in the best interests of all parties to settle a personal injury case without going to trial, and this is what happens with the vast majority of injury claims. The way this typically goes is that your attorney will present a settlement proposal with a demand for full compensation based on the evidence that is presented. This begins the negotiation process.

The other side may accept or reject the settlement proposal. If the proposal is rejected, this could result in a series of counter proposals and further negotiations. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case could go to mediation, which is a process in which a third-party mediator attempts to help the parties reach an acceptable settlement. If the parties cannot agree to a settlement with mediation, then the case might go to trial.

Trials are unpredictable, and insurance companies generally like to avoid them if possible. Oftentimes, the simple act of initiating litigation and showing the other side that you are serious about trying the case can bring them back to the table with a reasonable offer. The key is to work with an attorney who is willing to go to trial if necessary and has a proven track record of success litigating cases. In some instances, a full trial might be the only way to secure just compensation, so you should be ready for that possibility.

Once a settlement is negotiated or a verdict is won, you will receive whatever compensation is agreed upon or awarded. In some cases, you will get paid in one lump sum. In other cases, you may receive a series of payments over time. The timing of your payments will depend on several factors, and this will be different in each case.

Speak with an Experienced Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal injury is a very complex area of the law, and there are numerous factors and variables that will determine the success or failure of each case. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury that was someone else’s fault, the best thing to do is retain the services of a skilled and knowledgeable attorney as early as possible. The more time you let go by, the more difficult it will be to gather evidence, track down witnesses, and put together the strongest case for maximum compensation.

If your injury occurred in Georgia, contact Ross Moore Law for assistance. Call our office today at (404) 905-3146 or message us online for a free consultation and case assessment.