Each year, there are more than 3,000 traffic fatalities in the State of California alone. A significant number of these crashes happen at night. According to Forbes, slightly less than half of all accidents occur at night. Given that there are fewer vehicles on the road at night, that’s a startling statistic.
Why do crashes happen at night?
There are some factors that are more likely to be present at night that tend to cause traffic crashes. One big factor is an increase in drunk driving. An accident at night is much more likely to be alcohol-related than an accident that occurs during the day. Rates of seat belt use also go down at night, and that makes a crash more likely to result in severe injuries. Speeding is another driving problem that tends to happen more at night.
Experts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say that as many as ninety percents of crashes are the result of human error. With decreased visibility at night, this poses a problem for nighttime motorists. When a crash happens, motorists often wonder about their rights under California law.
Civil and criminal law
When you’re in a California traffic crash, both civil and criminal law might apply. If the other driver is under the influence of alcohol, they can be charged with a crime. This is in addition to any remedies that you might have under civil law. Reckless driving is also a criminal offense in California. If someone’s charged with a crime, it doesn’t necessarily answer the question of who bears civil responsibility, but it’s strong evidence of fault.
What to do if you’re hurt
If you’re in a nighttime traffic crash, you have a limited amount of time to pursue a case. Even if you’re partially to blame for the accident, California still allows recovery under what’s called comparative negligence. Your California personal injury attorney can help you determine if you can recover.
When you’re hurt, your attorney can help you file your lawsuit in a way that maximizes your chances for recovery. Most personal injury lawyers have experience helping crash victims document their injuries in a way that a jury can understand. They also have training and experience in negotiating a settlement. You might find that with help from your attorney, you’re able to reach a fair resolution of your claim before your case even goes to trial.