Even though car accidents in Southern California are expected considering the crowded freeways, distracted drivers, and the fact cars function as main mode of transportation, nobody climbs in their vehicle expecting it to be their last ride. The NHTSA reports, however, that a staggering 3,602 people lost their lives on California’s roads in 2017 and was on pace to overtake that number in 2018. The tragedy only compounded considering distracted driving behaviors contributed to nearly 80 percent of these accidents – a negligent and illegal behavior that shouldn’t have happened. If a loved one was involved in a fatal crash, contact an experienced Moreno Valley fatal car accident attorney today to learn if you or their estate may be entitled to compensation for injuries suffered.
Fatal Car Accident Statistics in Moreno Valley
Moreno Valley is located next to the busy 215 freeway, near the 10, and the 60 cuts through the town. The majority of the workforce commutes to major companies located in town on these roads, so they are vulnerable to risk of fatal car accidents almost daily. Urban areas like Moreno Valley are where 61 percent of fatal car accidents occur. California’s Office of Traffic Safety reported that 939 people in Moreno Valley were killed or injured by collisions in 2017 (not including unreported accidents), and of those:
- Alcohol was involved in 105 fatalities and injuries,
- Motorcycles were involved in 40,
- 57 pedestrians were involved,
- 34 bicyclists were involved, and
- 164 were speed related.
The large number of injuries and deaths due to negligent causes, the city’s location, the proximity to freeways with elevated speeds and a multitude of commercial trucks, and the large commuter population all come together to put residents at serious risk of involvement in a fatal car accident.
What Causes Fatal Car Accidents?
Considering over 80 percent of motorists admit to distracted driving behind the wheel at least some of the time, it shouldn’t be a surprise that negligence plays a major factor in fatal car accidents. Other common causes include:
- Driving while intoxicated – In California, drivers in 62 percent of fatal car accidents had a measurable BAC at the time of their crash
- Drowsy driving – studies show with their impaired reflexes and lack of concentration, these drivers are as dangerous as intoxicated drivers
- Speeding – an extra 5 miles an hour of speed increases traffic fatality rates by nearly 8 percent;
- Distracted driving behaviors such as texting while driving
- Motor vehicle mechanical failure
- Driving too fast for weather or road conditions
- Failure to yield
- Running stop signs and/or red lights
These fatal accident causes all provide a reasonable indication that someone – driver, repair shop, manufacturer, or other party – may have acted negligently.
How do I win my Case?
After a fatal car accident, insurance companies will usually try to negotiate with you to settle your claim or deny it altogether. An attorney can handle communication on your behalf with the insurance companies involved and conduct investigation to determine if another party is liable for the fatal car accident and resulting injuries. However, if a fair settlement isn’t reached you may elect to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for harm caused by the defendant’s negligence. To prove this and establish a defendant’s negligence, you must show:
- The defendant had a legal duty of care to you,
- Breached that duty by acting or failing to act when needed, and
- The breach caused your harm.
You may also avoid proving the elements of negligence if you can show the defendant caused your harm while violating a law such as the speed limit. Under the doctrine of negligence per se, a presumption of negligent behavior is created if the defendant caused injury while violating a law, rule, or regulation designed to protect a person or group of people.
How Much is my Case Worth?
It’s understandable to wonder how much your case is worth after a fatal car accident – no amount of money can ever replace the loss of life involved. However, a negligent defendant may be liable for different damages to the victim depending on who is suing.
The estate of the victim, through a survival action brought by the estate’s representative, may recover compensatory damages for injuries including lost wages, pain and suffering, medical bills, property damage, and even funeral costs. In some cases, the estate may recover punitive damage to punish a defendant if their behavior was particularly vile or reprehensible. However, they are only able to bring this lawsuit if the car accident didn’t cause instantaneous death.
Eligible surviving family members of a loved one killed in a car accident, on the other hand, may bring a wrongful death lawsuit and receive compensatory damages for negligently inflicted injuries including:
- Loss of the decedent’s love, support, affection, and companionship;
- Loss of financial support expected from the decedent; and
- Loss of the value of services the decedent contributed to their household.
However, family members cannot recover punitive damages during a wrongful death claim.
Due to the different types of lawsuits that may be filed, differing burdens of proof, and limited types of damages each claimant may recover, it’s wise to work with a Moreno Valley attorney experienced with fatal car accident cases to avoid potentially costly legal missteps in your case.
Consult a Moreno Valley Fatal Car Accident Attorney Today
If you or a loved one was involved in a fatal car accident in the Moreno Valley area, you should consult with the experienced attorneys at Walton Law, APC to protect your rights. Our attorneys have spent years providing personalized, aggressive representation for clients like you and have recovered millions in compensation for their injuries. Contact us today to schedule your no risk, no obligation case evaluation today. We are available 24/7 at (866)-338-7079 or you may use our online Contact Page to set up your initial consultation. There is no charge, and you pay nothing until we win your case. Let our attorneys review the facts of your situation and help secure the best possible outcome for you so you can get your life back on track starting today.