With urban sprawl and commuting at an all-time high in Southern California, it’s no surprise people rely on California’s highways to get to work, avoid inefficient and ineffective public transportation, travel to neighboring towns, and even go about daily life in cities like Hemet. Unfortunately, the reliance on these major roadways means motorists and passengers alike are risking their health and their very lives every time they merge onto a highway. Due to improper behavior behind the wheel and carelessness, accidents like jackknifes, rollovers, pileups and sideswipes regularly occur on the 10, 15, and 215 freeways near Hemet, causing severe injuries and fatalities that contribute to the nearly 40,000 people killed in motor vehicle accidents annually. The tragic nature of these highway accidents is only compounded because so many accidents could have been avoided had everyone exercised proper care while driving. If you or a loved one were hurt in a freeway car accident, contact a Hemet Highway Accident Lawyer to see if you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
California’s Office of Traffic Safety reported that a staggering 638 people were injured or killed in Hemet as the result of traffic collisions in 2016 alone, and untold numbers of other injuries went unreported. In August 2019, a passenger was killed at State Route 74 by Winchester Road when the driver of her vehicle crossed into opposing traffic during an argument. Additionally, Riverside County where Hemet is located is the third-busiest commercial trucking county in the state with an average 2.1 million miles logged per day in and around Hemet. The large number of motorists traveling the freeway, heavy commuting population from Hemet to surrounding metro areas like Los Angeles, and large number of commercial trucks in the area means everyone traveling the highways should exercise utmost caution to avoid accidents and potentially life-threatening injuries.
Common Highway Accident Injuries
Compared to speed limits on city streets, the elevated speeds legally permitted on highways in and around Hemet increase the force of any collision that takes place and makes any accident a cause for serious concern – for good reason. Studies have shown even a 5 mile an hour speed limit increase increases the fatality rate in accidents by 8 percent on interstates and freeways.
The potential for serious injury is only increased considering the large population of commercial trucks on the highways that can easily weigh in excess of 100,000 pounds, dwarf regular passenger vehicles, and inflict catastrophic damage in any collision with a standard motor vehicle. Victims that survive any highway accident often face debilitating injuries, an inability to work, temporary or permanent disability, and a need for extended rehabilitation or assistance with daily activities. It’s common to see:
- Head injuries including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Neck injuries,
- Back injuries,
- Spinal cord injuries like paralysis,
- Broken bones, and
- Organ damage.
TBIs may be the most serious of all injuries for victims – they can be fatal if untreated, but many victims are unaware one has occurred because symptoms may not present for several days after the accident. There is no way to diagnose a TBI without medical testing, so this is one reason it’s critical to be examined by a medical professional immediately after your accident and follow their recommendations; this is true even if you believe you weren’t hurt in the crash.
Negligence and Recovery
Most victims hurt in Hemet highway accents seek compensation by filing a suit asking for damages and arguing they were injured by another’s negligence. Generally, negligence is established if you can prove:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care,
- They breached that duty through an act or omission, and
- Your injuries were caused by the breach of duty.
Another option you may pursue to establish negligence is proving a defendant broke a law, rule, or regulation intended to promote safety when causing your injuries – including traffic laws about speeding or texting while driving. Under negligence per se, this creates a presumption the defendant acted negligently. It can be helpful to look at evidence such as eyewitness reports and skid marks at the scene to help establish if a law was broken.
You may even be entitled to recover if you were partly to blame from the accident that injured you. Under comparative negligence, California courts will evaluate the facts and assign the parties involved a percentage of fault for your highway accident. Any award of damages you receive will be reduced by your share of fault in the accident.
What’s My Case Worth?
Highway accidents can inflict severe injuries leaving victims with catastrophic long-term effects, massive medical bills, and a need for a lifetime of care. Because of how these collisions can affect you, it’s natural to wonder what you can recover for suffering from another’s negligent behavior. Once you prove negligence, courts may award damages that won’t undo the trauma, but may help to make you whole for the harm that occurred. Victims of these accidents have, among other things, recovered for:
- Medical expenses,
- Property damage,
- Lost wages,
- Pain and suffering,
- Permanent disability or disfigurement, and
- Loss of consortium.
Sometimes, victims may be able to recover additional damages if a defendant’s actions were particularly egregious. Punitive damages are designed to punish a wrongdoer’s vile, reprehensible behavior and discourage others from engaging in the conduct again. Because these awards may be large and given at the discretion of the court, you should consult an experienced Hemet Highway Accident Lawyer to see about satisfying the high burden of proof that must be met before damages may issue.
Contact an Attorney
If you or a loved one were injured during an accident on Hemet’s busy highways, you know that these tragic, often-avoidable accidents can turn your life upside down in the blink of an eye. Though it may seem overwhelming, time is not on your side so you should speak to the skilled Hemet Highway Accident Attorneys at Walton Law, APC right away. Our attorneys have spent years fighting for our clients to receive the compensation they deserve, and we will do the same for you. Contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (866)-338-7079 or by using our online Contact Page to schedule your no risk, no obligation initial case evaluation today. The confidential consultation is free, and you don’t pay until we win your case. Let our attorneys review your case and use our knowledge and resources to make sure you get the best possible outcome from your unfortunate experience.