Bagen Law Firm | October 30, 2022 | Car Accidents
Does Speeding Cause Auto Accidents?
One of the most common accidents are collisions resulting from driving over the speed limit or at an exceedingly fast rate for road or weather conditions. Based on highway safety crash statistics, nearly one-third (29 percent to be exact) of all collision fatalities happen in speed-related crashes.
In one year alone, there were over 11,000 deaths related to speeding. These incidents are not only common but highly avoidable, as they happen because of the driver’s careless actions behind the wheel. The worst part is how catastrophic the outcome can be for anyone caught near such a reckless driver.
If you or a loved one have been in an accident caused by the negligence of a speeding driver, you may not know what steps to take next. If you have suffered any injury from the incident, it is critical to know your legal options and how to have the right support from a skilled car accident lawyer.
Can Speeding Impact Your Car Accident Claim?
Yes, but determining whether the other driver was unlawfully speeding depends on the state and locale where the collision occurred – specifically, the state’s traffic and vehicle laws. For example, what is the maximum speed limit where the accident occurred? If the driver exceeded that limit and their speeding was unexcused, it will likely violate the state’s traffic and vehicle laws. Seek out the advice of a car accident attorney who will be familiar with such state laws and can determine whether the speed limit was unlawful.
Can I Be Speeding If I Was Under the Speed Limit?
A driver does not have to violate the posted speed limit to be speeding. Sometimes, drivers will travel too fast for particular conditions, including heavy traffic, poor visibility, dangerous weather, road construction, and more. When a driver travels faster than is safe given the conditions, they can cause crashes and should be liable for any resulting harm.
Another consideration is pedestrian accidents due to speeding drivers. These are common at intersections, road work zones, or school zones. These areas have lower speed limits for a reason, and drivers who ignore such speed limits can hit and severely injure pedestrians of all ages.
Speeding Accident Injuries
As discussed above, speeding is a common type of accident and can cause a lot of damage to those driving near the reckless driver’s vehicle.
Speeding accidents generally occur due to the driver’s:
- Trying to beat traffic by speeding in and out of traffic.
- Rushing to get somewhere
- And in the worst of cases, a complete lack of care for the safety of others, otherwise known as wanton disregard, including driving under the influence and excessively speeding, among other things.
When a driver is running late, a speeding-related crash slows everyone down and can cause catastrophic injury to people and their property. Additionally, despite safety measures you may take on the road, such as wearing a seatbelt and having airbags, the speed at which the reckless driver travels is critical to the injuries it can cause to you and others. In other words, the faster the vehicle, the worse the injury.
Common injuries in a high-speed crash include:
- Neck injuries, such as whiplash from suddenly being jerked to the front
- Head injury both at the crash scene and injuries that appear in the long term, such as traumatic brain injury
- Cuts that require stitches, for example, if someone’s face hits the steering wheel
- Arm, shoulder, and leg injuries that can be relatively minor or severe enough to require a surgical procedure
Concerning a physical injury, you likely already sought medical attention at the accident scene or soon after. If not, you must get a full assessment as soon as possible if you feel anything out of the ordinary.
For legal reasons, you will need to document any injuries if you may want to take steps to hold the reckless driver accountable for damages they caused you or your loved ones. Furthermore, because not all injuries appear at the onset and can develop over time, it is important to get both initial and follow-up care to monitor and document your symptoms.
Medical expenses can pile up quickly and be very costly. For example, you may have gone in an ambulance from the scene, been admitted to the hospital, possibly obtained medical equipment such as crutches, and need ongoing care such as physical therapy or a surgical procedure. Additionally, you will need to keep track of your expenses, paperwork, and bills to seek reimbursement from the responsible party.
Other Common Expenses:
In addition to medical expenses, a speeding-related accident can cause you:
- Pain and suffering in your daily life so you can no longer enjoy things you once did, such as hobbies, driving, and caring for your family and household
- Mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder
- Loss of consortium if you have lost a loved one in a wrongful death case
- Loss of income because you cannot return to work after the accident
Often, it can be overwhelming to deal with some of the challenges mentioned above, and it can be even more daunting to think about ways to hold someone accountable for intangible things such as loss of joy in your life. However, a skilled personal injury attorney will have the skills and know-how to identify all your actual and potential damages, such as loss of income in the future, even those you may not have thought can be proven easily or at all.
Your speeding accident attorney will calculate how much you should be owed in damages to be made whole as though the accident never occurred. Most importantly, the speeding accident lawyer will prepare the evidence to best support your damages claim.
Another means of holding speeding drivers accountable is through punitive damages. Depending on the case’s specific facts, a court may find sufficient evidence to establish a wanton disregard for safety on the part of the other driver. The punitive damages award aims to deter the other driver from repeating the same reckless behavior that led to catastrophic consequences. Street racing or driving excessively fast while highly intoxicated might warrant punitive damages.
Legal Options for a Speeding Accident
Should you sue the other driver? Always seek the advice of an attorney that focuses on car accidents resulting from speeding. Such a lawyer should have significant knowledge of the state’s speed limit laws and how to effectively build a strong case against the driver on a theory of negligence.
The statute of limitations of your state provides the deadline for filing a lawsuit against the negligent driver. For example, a personal injury lawsuit might be two or three years from the time of the accident. If you have missed the deadline, your case is always not doomed. A personal injury attorney can assess whether you qualify for any exceptions that will grant you an extension. To avoid risking missing the deadline, always seek legal help immediately.
Many cases do not require litigation. You might file an insurance claim and end up settling for an amount that will fairly compensate you for your losses directly with the insurance company.
If you are interested in settling the case, the attorney will still prepare strong arguments so that the other side will settle in your favor. For example, the attorney will build a strong case that shows the other party that it will be beneficial to settle now rather than lose in a long and drawn-out court process.
While the negotiation process is different from litigation, it still requires a lot of legal work on your behalf to overcome challenges from the other driver’s insurance company. For example, insurance adjusters that represent the other driver may attempt to question the claim to avoid payment.
A skilled personal injury attorney expects such a response and comes into these conversations prepared and ready to respond accurately and vigorously to get a favorable outcome for you. While you focus on your recovery, an attorney will handle the communications, document drafting, and back-and-forth negotiations involved in a settlement agreement.
Benefits of a Car Accident Attorney for your Speeding Accident
An attorney experienced with the ins and outs of speeding-related crash cases can help you in many ways.
Importantly, the attorney should invest their time and commit their legal skills to develop a strong case for litigation or settlement purposes on your behalf. In doing so, your attorney will conduct an in-depth examination of the specific facts of your case in various ways, such as thoroughly asking you questions, meticulously reviewing your documents, and thinking outside of the box when seeking out evidence, including identifying witnesses who can provide testimony.
Evidence in a Speeding Accident
Specifically, to prove that the driver was, in fact, speeding, your auto accident attorney will brainstorm and strategize, seeking the necessary evidence to present that will support your case. Such an experienced speeding car accident attorney will know the ways to prove the other driver was traveling at a speed that violated the speed limit at the time of the accident. This involves gathering evidence to successfully prove the other driver was unlawfully speeding and caused you injury due to their negligent conduct.
For example, your car accident lawyer may seek the following evidence to build your case and prove that the driver unlawfully broke the speed limit:
- Surveillance of the accident scene, which can provide a real-time and accurate portrayal of the events that took place, including the rate at which the driver was traveling right before and when the accident occurred
- Proof of the reckless driver’s activity right before injuring you, such as a pattern of running a series of stop signs, red lights, and even causing other accidents
- Radar evidence of the vehicle’s precise speed
- Witness testimonies of the incident, which can provide a description based on their personal knowledge of seeing the event
- Details of the specific time that the accident occurred and the conditions of the road at that time of the accident. For example, a car going at an excessive speed at night versus in the day and the road conditions are important details.
Alternatively, if you decide to pursue a settlement negotiation, the above-listed evidence will still help argue that the other driver was responsible and should be accountable for the injuries they caused you or your loved ones.
Other ways your auto injury attorney can support your settlement are by:
- Handling the timely filing of insurance company claims against other drivers
- Assessing the relevant insurance policies to ensure they know the process and timeframe for submitting a claim
- Anticipating the insurance company’s defenses
- Utilizing negotiation skills to settle on an amount that will position you back to where you were before the accident occurred
A car accident attorney can advocate for you, and you want to hire a lawyer sooner rather than later. Always take prompt steps so that the attorney can get started on your case, and you do not risk missing important deadlines.
You can act fast by researching attorneys with a background in speeding-related accidents and personal injury. Next, you can schedule a consultation for one-on-one time to discuss the important details of your claim.
How to Prepare for your Speeding Accident Claim?
Once you have a scheduled consultation, it is a good idea to gather critical documents you may have, such as medical records, diary entries that describe pain and suffering, and proof of a decline in work and income.
Additionally, if you collected any important information at the scene of the accident, it will help facilitate the next steps your attorney will take to investigate the matter closely.
For example, if you have a copy of the police report, the contact information of witness(es), and the driver, then providing this information early on will help fill in the gaps of information that your attorney needs.
Importantly, bring questions with you. Your attorney is there to address your concerns and ensure you are on board with any decision, as they represent you, not the insurance company.