Accidents involving impaired or distracted driving continue to be in the news, as demonstrated once again recently in San Bernardino. A tragic accident due to wrong-way driving has resulted in one fatality. The collision occurred early Sunday morning, September 19, on Highway 259, north of 27th Street.
According to California Highway Patrol, the crash occurred at approximately 2:17 a.m. when a wrong-way driver struck a Subaru driven by a Moreno Valley woman as she was heading northbound on Highway 259. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. The CHP suspect that the wrong-way driver, who sustained critical injuries, was intoxicated.
The tragic increase in traffic fatalities
Early estimates by the National Safety Council (NSC) show a marked increase in motor-vehicle deaths in the first six months of 2021 over 2020, with 21,450 fatalities, 16% higher than last year. And although there were fewer cars on the road in 2020, the rate of fatalities when factoring in total vehicle miles travelled had already gone up significantly compared to 2019.
But that’s not all. The NSC estimates that the number of reported nonfatal injuries from motor vehicle accidents stands at 2,445,000 so far this year, with a combined total cost of deaths, injuries and property damage at $241.9 billion. There has been a 21% rise in the traffic fatalities in California alone since 2020.
When negligence is the cause
Without a doubt, accidents happen, and unforeseeable events may take matters out of the control of the individuals involved. But distracted or impaired driving is preventable and causes needless harm. Dealing with the aftermath of a tragic and preventable accident is painful for the victims. It can be difficult to get insurance to pay claims, and when they do, the initial settlement offer may be far below the cost of medical or rehabilitative expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering.
California recognizes comparative negligence in a personal injury suit. What this means is that even if the injured party was partially responsible for causing the accident, they may still sue, and the amount they may claim is a percentage of the damages that a jury will decide the defendant is liable for causing.
When building a case, the investigative work necessary to establish negligence can be quite complex, so it is important to know where to go to start a process that will pursue the maximum compensation for your claim.