Vehicle Crashes: How They Happen and Who is Responsible

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Terry Bryant

Houston, TX

Practice Areas

Personal Injury, Auto Accident, Wrongful Death
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  • Find out the most common causes of crashes and how victims of a negligent driver can take legal action to win compensation.

    Most of us have either been involved in a vehicle crash or will be involved in one at some point in our lives. In fact, car insurance industry estimates that the average person will be in a wreck every 17.9 years. We see crashes every day and we can easily identify with what the occupants might be going through. The stress and anxiety caused by a vehicle crash is incredibly intense, and it is an experience that no one can forget.

    But the consequences of a vehicle crash go well beyond mental and emotional trauma. Over 2 million people in the U.S. are seriously injured in vehicle crashes every year and more than 35,000 people lose their lives. In recent years, the number of crashes has increased, which means that more Americans are struggling with the fallout of a serious crash-related injury or coping with the loss of a loved one after a car accident.

    How do these crashes happen, and who can be held responsible? These are two of the most common questions people ask relating to vehicle crashes. Every crash is different, but there are some common themes and clear legal guidelines regarding liability of drivers.

    Causes of Crashes

    Over 90% of crashes are caused by human error. Driver fallibility takes many forms. In some cases, a driver takes their mind off the road to look at a text. In others, a driver aggressively weaves in between vehicles and recklessly collides with another vehicle. However innocent or reckless someone's intentions are when behind the wheel, a driver is still ultimately responsible for the harm their mistakes cause.

    Crashes are most commonly caused by:

    � Speeding

    � Improper changing of lanes

    � Failure to use turn signals

    � Failure to yield to stop signs or rights of way

    � Following another vehicle too closely

    � Distraction

    � Impairment

    � Fatigue

    � Failure to adjust driving according to weather conditions.

    While most crashes are caused by a driver's mistakes, sometimes it is the vehicle or parts of the vehicle that cause an accident. A defective vehicle part, such as defective tires or headlights, might also be to blame for a vehicle crash.

    Driver Negligence and Accountability

    When a driver is negligent and causes someone else serious harm, they can be held legally responsible for the damages, or costs, associated with the victim's injury. Personal injury claims are tools used by injured victims to recover the costs of their injuries, including medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. A personal injury claim can also include damages relating to pain, emotional suffering, and other non-economic damages.

    After a fatal crash, surviving family members also have legal options. Wrongful death claims give surviving family members the chance to pursue compensation for costs associated with the loss of their loved one. These claims often seek payment for medical bills and end-of-life costs, in addition to loss of income for a family.

    When crashes are caused by defective vehicles or defective vehicle parts, similar claims can be filed. Product liability claims typically involve a consumer who files a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the product that caused the injuries. Though the specifics of these case types vary, the idea behind them is the same -- to ensure that victims of negligence get payment for the injuries they've suffered.

    What You Need to Know Before Filing a Claim

    If you are considering filing a claim involving an injury, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, it is best to hire a lawyer to handle your claim. These claims can be complex and time-consuming. Some attorneys offer free consultations, which you should use to make sure you feel comfortable with the lawyer or firm you hire.

    Second, there are many types of attorneys, and you will need to find a personal injury attorney to handle your claim. Before hiring a lawyer, ask them about their experience and their track record with these types of cases. The more experience an attorney has with a specific type of case, the better equipped they'll be to help you get results.

    Last, you'll need to find someone that represents clients in your state. State laws vary greatly, and attorneys must be licensed to handle cases in the state in which you are filing a claim. For example, if you were involved in a vehicle crash in Texas, you'll typically need to find a Texas personal injury attorney.

    No one wants to be involved in a vehicle crash. They are traumatic, painful experiences. They are also a fact of life for too many of us. If you've had the unfortunate experience of being involved in a crash and you've suffered serious injuries, you should realize that there are legal options to getting compensation. Remember to look for an attorney who handles vehicle accident cases in the state where your accident occurred.

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