There are many common causes of car accidents in the United States. Over 40,000 people die in vehicle crashes every year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides that an individual is involved in an automobile accident every ten seconds. One individual will die in a car accident every twelve minutes. Vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for individuals 35 years of age and younger.
It is important to remember that not all injuries from a car accident appear immediately. In other words, an individual can develop symptoms at a later date that are related to the accident.
Even though the symptoms are delayed, the injury may still be severe. Studies have provided that individuals may still suffer effects and symptoms of an accident for months or even years after its occurrence.
Most car accidents are caused by irresponsible driving behaviors. Statistics provide that 98% of car accidents involve one distracted driver. Common causes of car accidents include:
- Rubbernecking, or slowing down the vehicle to watch what is happening on the side of the road or other area of the roadway;
- Cell phones, or a driver using their commute time to make phone calls, send text messages, or read other information;
- Driver fatigue;
- Passenger distractions;
- Looking at scenery; or
- Adjusting the radio.
Rubbernecking is the leading cause of traffic accidents and also causes many delays. It causes the driver to take their eyes off the road for an extended period of time.
Currently, many states have enacted laws eliminating or limiting the use of cell phones while driving. Texting while driving causes a driver to operate their vehicle in a way that is similar to driving while intoxicated and is very dangerous to themselves and other drivers. There is no text message that is worth losing an individual’s life to read.
Other common causes of car accidents include:
- Drunk driving. It is estimated that every 30 minutes, an individual dies in an alcohol-related car crash;
- Reckless driving. Individuals who drive recklessly or unsafely cause accidents with their aggressive driving. This may come as a result of improper or excessive lane changing, speeding, or improper passing on the road;
- Automobile defects. A car accident may occur because of a defect in a vehicle;
- A tire blow out caused by defective tires or poor roads;
- Poorly maintained roads;
- Malfunctioning traffic signals; or
- Other roadway defects, such as a defective guardrail.
What are Guardrail Accident Lawsuits?
A guardrail accident involves a vehicle collision with the guardrail portion of a roadway. Guardrail accidents can cause serious injury to passengers and serious damage to a vehicle.
A guardrail accident may involve a single car collision, such as when a car veers off the roadway into a guardrail. They can also involve two or more vehicles.
There are multiple types of guardrail lawsuits. These may involve accidents that occur when:
- A vehicle crashes into a guardrail;
- The roadway lacks a guardrail, allowing a vehicle to fall off a cliff or a high ledge;
- There is a defective or faulty guardrail that causes additional injury or damage.
In recent years, there have been multiple claims involving a specific type of guardrail, the X-Lite guardrail. These guardrails are designed to have the front portion of the rail crumple or break away. This is intended to reduce the risk of injury or damage to the automobile.
However, these rails do not always function as intended. Often, the front rail mechanism may be faulty, leading to increased occurrences of the rail spearing the vehicle, which causes additional injury and property damage.
Who Can be Held Liable for Guardrail Accident Injuries?
Different parties may be held liable for guardrail accidents, depending on the circumstances. In some accidents, another driver on the roadway may be held liable for causing the guardrail-related accident.
These cases would be handled in a similar manner to most car accidents, where the court examines evidence showing the driver’s negligence or recklessness. For example, if the driver was speeding and caused another vehicle to hit a guardrail to evade their driving, they may be held liable for the accident.
In other cases, the manufacturer of a guardrail may be held liable for damages or injuries caused by the defect in the guardrail. For example, if the X-Lite guardrails discussed above were defective and caused injuries, a driver may be able to sue the manufacturer.
A city government or municipal agency may be sued in some cases if they fail to maintain safe guardrail conditions. An example of this is when they fail to repair a guardrail that they knew or should have known was in a state of disrepair.
What are the Legal Remedies in a Guardrail Accident Lawsuit?
Guardrail accidents may involve serious injuries and major property damage. They may require legal action to resolve disputes related to the accident.
In these cases, the legal remedy typically involves a form of monetary damages that are awarded to the injured party. The damages award usually covers losses such as:
- Medical expenses;
- Hospital expenses;
- Treatment and rehabilitation costs;
- Lost wages; or
- Lost future earning capacity.
In some cases there may be additional outcomes to the case. This may include a recall of a defective guardrail or similar actions.
What is a Single-Car Accident?
A single-car accident is a car accident that involves only one vehicle. This type of accident can result in serious injuries and property damage, just as in a multi-vehicle accident.
It is common for guardrail accidents to be single-car accidents. A guardrail manufacturer or entity responsible for maintaining roadways may be held liable in these cases, even though it would appear the accident is the fault of the driver.
A guardrail manufacturer may be held liable for damages in a single car accident if their guardrail was defective and caused more serious injury. These types of cases are extremely complex and difficult to prove. They are unlikely to be successful without the help of an attorney.
The public entity responsible for maintaining the roadway may be a city, county, or state, depending on the location of the accident. If they were negligent in designing or maintaining the roadway, they may be found liable. These claims are difficult to prove and require the assistance of an attorney.
Can Anything be Done to Reduce the Likelihood of an Automobile Accident?
Yes, there are many things drivers can do to reduce their likelihood of being involved in an automobile accident. First, put the cell phone down. Encourage other individuals to do the same.
Most automobile accidents occur when a driver is distracted, tired, or intoxicated. The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration reports the following figures for how often drivers are distracted by varying activities:
- 81% – talking to passengers;
- 66% – playing with the radio or CD player;
- 49% – eating or drinking; and
- 25% – on a cellular phone.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Guardrail Accident Lawsuit?
Yes, it is essential to have the assistance of an experienced car accident lawyer for help with any guardrail accident issues. These types of accidents can involve complex issues and legal disputes. Your best chance at recovery is with the help of an attorney.
An attorney can review your case, help you file a lawsuit against the responsible parties, and represent you during any court proceedings, if necessary. Your attorney will fight to ensure you are compensated for your injuries.