When traveling in the Bay Area, you may be confronted by many forms of careless or inattentive driving, which is often compounded by heavy rain. When you are involved in a serious San Jose car accident, it can have a major impact on your daily life experiences. Many car accidents in San Jose or throughout the Santa Clara County result in major injuries that can have cause permanent physical and mental injuries. While it is sometimes appealing to presume that you will never have to deal with the disruption caused by a car crash, statistically every licensed driver will be involved in at least one serious car accident at some point in the future.
Most San Jose Car Crashes Result from Carelessness
Despite the vital roles that motor vehicles play in our lives, they claim a high toll in personal injuries, fatalities and property damage when operated by careless, inexperienced or distracted drivers. Car accidents account for over 30,000 fatalities annually, and almost three million more people suffer some form of injury. Data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that almost 25 percent of the population will be involved in a motor vehicle accident during a five year period. What is perhaps more disturbing is the number of fatalities and serious injuries that are caused by completely avoidable conduct including:
- Drunk driving claims the lives of more than 10,000 people annually
- Almost half a million people per year die in car crashes caused by some form of distracted driving
- Over thirty percent of all fatal auto accidents involve a driver who was speeding
- More than half of all traffic related fatalities involve vehicle occupants not using seatbelts
Experienced San Jose car accident lawyers frequently are contacted by injury victims or their families after being involved in a collision that could easily have been prevented by avoiding negligent or reckless driving practices. Although collisions are typically deemed as �accidents,� most San Jose auto car accident attorneys will tell you that most traffic collisions should not be considered accidents. Most negligent drivers make a conscious choice to engage in unsafe driving practices that unnecessarily create a foreseeable risk of injury to other drivers, passengers and pedestrians. While some car accident victims are hesitant about pursuing a car accident injury claim, this course of conduct may be the only way to obtain replacement income and compensation for medical bills or to discourage future unsafe driving by those who put others in harm�s way.
The Concept of Fault in San Jose Car Accidents
There are many types of unreasonably unsafe conduct that contribute to car accidents in San Jose, but most of these practices are the result of carelessness, inattentiveness or indifference to the safety of others. Establishing unreasonably unsafe conduct that may foreseeably cause injury is typically a critical element of establishing a cause of action (legal claim) for injuries suffered in a San Jose auto accident, but it is not the only requirement. It is also necessary to show that the conduct that created an unreasonable risk of harm was the cause of your injuries or loss.
There are certain situations where the other party may be determined to be liable for your injuries on a strict liability basis. When a driver violates a traffic safety law that is intended to protect other drivers, passengers or pedestrians, the legal doctrine of �negligence per se� may impose strict liability on the driver that commits the violation. While it is still necessary for an injury victim to prove that the traffic safety violation caused his or her injuries, the violation is presumed to constitute unreasonably unsafe conduct. Examples might include drivers that collide with other vehicles when failing to stop at a red light or a drunk driver that sideswipes another driver when swerving into the driver�s lane.
There are certain other situations where liability will typically be assigned to the other driver. If you are rear-ended by a driver or a driver makes a left turn into your vehicle while you are proceeding straight through an intersection on a green light, the other driver will typically be at fault though there are exceptions which an experienced San Jose car accident lawyer can explain. Many accidents are more complicated so the issue of liability is not as clear cut. If you are involved in a car accident, you should typically call 9-1-1 to summon police to the scene of your San Jose car accident. The officer can preserve critical evidence and prepare an accident report that may provide critical evidence, including identifying relevant witnesses and other factors that may have contributed to your collision. Some of the factors that the police officer may identify as contributing to a San Jose car accident include:
- Driving at an unsafe speed
- Traveling on the wrong side of the road (e.g. the wrong direction)
- Texting and talking on a mobile phone
- Improper turns
- Driving with a BAC above .08 percent or while impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Failure to comply with the two-second following rule
- Driving too fast when roads are wet
- Driver distractions
- Violation of right of way rules
There also are other risk factors that may contribute to injuries suffered in a collision that a law enforcement officer may overlook, but an experienced San Jose car accident lawyer may identify. These factors include product defects in vehicles, the failure of a municipality to clear foliage obscuring a stop sign or poorly marked construction zones. An experienced San Jose car accident lawyer will carefully investigate your accident with a fresh set of eyes rather than just rely on the conclusions of the police officer that conducted the traffic accident investigation.
Seeking the Financial Means to Rebuild Following a San Jose Auto Accident
If you suffer serious injury in a San Jose car crash, you may experience life-altering changes. Many accident victims that are involved in serious collisions suffer permanent pain, inability to engage in their occupation, severe emotional distress, paralysis and impaired intellectual functioning. Some people involved in car accidents in San Jose suffer catastrophic injuries including spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, amputation of limbs and even wrongful death. These types of injuries do not �get better� nor does their impact on your life disappear. Even if you suffer broken bones, severe whiplash or dislocations, you may suffer symptoms and undergo treatment and physical therapy for months.
When you suffer these types of devastating injuries, it is important to seek the best possible outcome in your San Jose car accident claim. An experienced San Jose car accident lawyer may use alternate dispute resolution (ADR) techniques like mediation and negotiation, or aggressive litigation when ADR fails. While there are a wide array of damages that may be available in your San Jose car accident lawsuit, some examples include income replacement, future disability, medical costs, pain and suffering, diminished quality of life and loss of consortium. In specific cases, your San Jose car accident attorney may also seek punitive damages or wrongful death damages.
If you or someone you love is injured in a San Jose car accident, it is important to seek prompt legal advice to avoid the legal pitfalls that can damage your personal injury claim. One of the most important potential litigation landmines is the time limits within which you must bring a claim against a public entity or the other driver. Failure to comply with these deadlines will typically serve as a permanent barrier to your San Jose car accident legal claim. An experienced San Jose car accident lawyer may be able to help you maximize your recovery by trading on a proven track record and reputation for results so call today!