Car accidents are unfortunately all too common and claim the lives of Californians every day, but nobody gets in a vehicle expecting to become part of such an event. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 36,750 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2018, and in 2017 California had 3.602 car accident fatalities on its roadways. In the first half of 2018, California reported 1,538 traffic fatalities and was on track to exceed the number of deaths in 2017. Most of these tragic accidents are avoidable, as nearly 80 percent were caused by some form of distracted driving behavior that should not have been going on behind the wheel. If you or a loved one were involved in a fatal crash like this, contact an experienced Temecula fatal car accident attorney today to learn if you may be entitled to compensation for the harm you suffered.
Fatal Car Accident Statistics in Temecula
With over 50 percent of Temecula’s 112,000 residents commuting more than 30 minutes a day to work on and around the busy 15 freeway and the Temecula Parkway in bustling Riverside County, motorists in the area are particularly vulnerable to risks on the road. California’s Office of Traffic Safety reported that 809 people in Temecula were killed or injured by collisions in 2016:
- Alcohol was involved in 43 severe and fatal collisions,
- Motorcycles were involved in 69 fatal accidents,
- 27 pedestrians were involved, and
- 302 were related to excessive speed.
Of the 3.53 billion miles driven in California each year and thousands of serious collisions that take place, 61 percent of fatal car crashes occur in urban areas such as Temecula. This means unsuspecting drivers can easily wind up involved in a fatal car accident on a moment’s notice. Just this year, an intoxicated driver killed another motorist near the Rancho California Road on-ramp in Temecula after having hit another vehicle, fleeing the scene, and evading police. The large commuter population, crowded roadways with high speed limits, and unsafe behavior of other motorists all come together to make Temecula a city where fatal car accidents are unfortunately a common occurrence.
What Causes Fatal Accidents?
Though some deadly Riverside car accidents are truly nobody’s fault, the vast majority occur as a result of distracted driving and other negligent conduct. It’s common to see fatalities result from:
- Drowsy driving – these drivers are as dangerous as intoxicated drivers behind the wheel;
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol – California reported 62 percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers had a detectable BAC at the time of their crash;
- Equipment failure;
- Poor road conditions;
- Not using headlights during evening hours or in the appropriate weather conditions;
- Running stop signs or red lights;
- Speeding – an extra 5 miles an hour of speed can increase traffic fatality rates by up to 8 percent; and
- Cell phone use such as texting while driving.
Though the list is not exhaustive, these actions are a good indicator that a driver, repair shop, or manufacturer may have negligently and caused a fatal car accident in Temecula. If so, they may be held financially and criminally responsible with the help of a Temecula fatal car accident attorney.
How Do I Win My Case?
If you decide to engage the services of a lawyer after a fatal car accident in Temecula, they will handle communication with the insurance companies involved and work to gather information that proves another party is liable for the collision. The most common argument for liability when seeking compensation is the collision resulted from another party’s negligent conduct. Essentially, it’s argued the defendant had a legal duty to the victim, acted in a way to breach that duty, and caused the victim’s harm. If these are proven, the defendant will be liable for the victim’s damages without a valid defense.
What Can I Recover?
If negligence is proven, a victim may be awarded compensatory damages to make them whole for their harm. Courts will award these to victims for lost wages, permanent injury, pain and suffering, lost wages, property damage, medical bills, and even funeral or burial costs. In some cases, additional damages may be given to punish a defendant’s particularly vile behavior and deter others from behaving the same way.
The estate of the victim may recover compensatory damages as well as punitive damages through a survival action for harm it suffered if the car crash did not result in the victim’s immediate death.
Additionally, eligible family members of a loved one killed in a car accident may bring a wrongful death claim and receive compensatory damages for injuries such as:
- 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, in a wrongful death claim, family members cannot recover punitive damages to punish the defendant’s reprehensible conduct.
Due to the different burdens of proof, potentially tricky issue of proving causation, and limitations on what damages some claimants may receive, it’s highly suggested to work with an experienced Temecula car accident attorney to avoid missteps that could be very costly for your case.
Consult a Temecula Fatal Car Accident Attorney Today
If you or a loved one was involved in a fatal car accident in the Temecula 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 your situation and help secure the best possible outcome for you so you can get your life back on track starting today.