In the early days of the global pandemic, fewer cars were on the roads. However, alarming statistics started to emerge, most of which demonstrated an uptick in serious and even fatal car crashes. Transportation experts posited that the emptier roads encouraged speeding and other unsafe driving practices, leading to more crashes and severe injuries. Now, almost three years later, this increase in traffic accidents shows no sign of falling. Across the country, the rate of auto accident injuries and fatalities continues to climb, reaching a 20-year high in early 2022. If you have suffered an auto accident injury in Southern California, you are far from alone. As you cope with your physical recovery and worry about the medical bills, lost wages, and other unanticipated expenses stemming from the car accident, it’s in your best interest to enlist the help of a skilled and experienced Temecula auto accident attorney to ensure you secure the compensation you need to get your life back on track.
The Number of Car Accidents Continues to Rise
According to data from federal transportation officials, more than 9,500 people were killed in traffic accidents within the first three months of 2022—the highest number in two decades. Steven Cliff, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), stated, “The overall numbers are still moving in the wrong direction. Now is the time for all states to double down on traffic safety.” The NHTSA also reported that the death rate on U.S. roads during the first three months of 2022 was 1.27 per 100 million miles driven, a figure that is significantly higher than in previous years.
Factors Contributing to a High Auto Accident Rate
Although the NHTSA has not broken down the specific reasons driving this upward trend in the number of auto accident fatalities, traffic safety experts have identified a few contributing factors that may be influencing this concerning trend. Emptier roads during the pandemic saw a rise in the number of vehicles traveling at unsafe speeds—sometimes as high as 20 miles over the posted speed limit. Other reckless driving behaviors, such as failing to use seatbelts, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and texting while driving, were also noted by highway patrol and law enforcement officers in major cities and rural areas. California’s Highway Patrol noted an increase in the number of speeding vehicles from the onset of the pandemic, a trend that has continued into the last few months of 2022.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Riverside County
Even the most cautious drivers may find themselves suffering an auto accident injury. The moments after a collision can be overwhelming, especially if you are hurt. First, assess yourself and others for injuries requiring immediate medical attention and call for an ambulance if necessary. While you wait, you should exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties at the scene. It’s also in your best interest to notify local law enforcement of the accident; the responding officer will compile a police report detailing the circumstances of the incident and providing an objective account of what happened. These details will likely be useful when you put together your auto accident claim, as they can show the insurance adjuster that you were practicing safe driving habits when a distracted or negligent driver collided with your vehicle. Even if you do not think your injuries are severe enough to warrant immediate medical attention, you should schedule a doctor’s appointment within the next few days to have a medical professional assess and document the nature of your injuries. Medical records will show that you took your injuries seriously, and the physician can look for any harder-to-detect injuries, such as internal bleeding or concussions.
Pursuing an Auto Accident Claim in Southern California
California auto accident victims have the right to pursue compensation to help cover the medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses stemming from the incident. While some people decide to complete this task on their own, many benefit from enlisting the guidance of an experienced Murrieta auto accident attorney. It can be frustrating to communicate with insurance adjusters who may attempt to undermine your claim and save the insurance company as much as possible. Rather than spending your valuable time and energy on these tense conversations, your attorney can step in to negotiate on your behalf. Auto accident lawyers are familiar with the underhanded tactics of insurance adjusters, so they will work hard to maximize your settlement offer and secure you the compensation you deserve. Your lawyer will answer your questions, address your concerns, and help you obtain the financial award you need to support every aspect of your recovery.
If you need help pursuing compensation following an auto accident injury in Temecula or Murrieta, call Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation, today at (951) 489-3320.