What Are Your Chances of Dying in a Car Crash in California? 2024

Every day, car accidents occur throughout the country. While some car accident victims emerge only suffering injuries, others are less fortunate and suffer fatal injuries. When a fatal car accident occurs, the victim’s family is likely to have many important legal questions about how they can recover from the financial impact of the death and how to hold the at-fault party accountable for their actions.

It’s natural for any driver to wonder what their risk of dying in a car accident might be. The reality is that while you can review all types of statistics and accident reports for fatal accidents in the state, there is simply no way to anticipate how other drivers will behave near you. It’s essential to know the biggest risks you face while driving, but it is equally if not more important to know what you can do to reduce your risk of experiencing an accident.

Common Causes of Fatal Accidents

According to the California Highway Patrol, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and various other state and federal agencies and organizations, the most commonly reported causes of fatal vehicle crashes include:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. Despite harsh laws meant to deter intoxicated driving, many drivers continue to take the risk of operating their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. Impairment from alcohol or drugs can include loss of spatial awareness, diminished reaction time, blurred vision, and other effects. When a driver causes a fatal accident because of DUI, their charge is likely to escalate to felony status, and they face a host of penalties for conviction, including fines, jail time, and loss of their driver’s license. They will also face liability for a wrongful death and a civil suit from the victim’s family.
  • Speeding. Posted speed limits on roads are not suggestions. Speed limits exist to maintain a safe flow of traffic and limit the risk of accidents occurring. Whenever a driver exceeds the speed limit, they inherently increase their risk of causing a serious accident. Speeding also increases the risk of catastrophic or fatal injuries when an accident happens, and it increases the risk of an accident involving multiple vehicles.
  • Distracted driving. Whenever a driver is not paying attention to their surroundings and the safe operation of their vehicle, they can easily cause a devastating collision. Throughout the United States, distracted driving is the top reported cause of all vehicle accidents, including fatal accidents. Distracted driving is also a leading contributing factor to pedestrian deaths. If a driver is not paying attention while driving, they can easily hit and kill a pedestrian they failed to notice in time.

When a fatal accident occurs, the at-fault driver is likely to face criminal charges from the state. If they caused the death through any illegal and intentional misconduct, they will likely face felony-level charges, but a felony charge is also possible in response to egregious negligence resulting in the death of another person.

If a loved one was killed in a fatal vehicle accident, you need experienced and compassionate legal counsel on your side to ensure accountability for the untimely death. The attorneys at Belgum, Fry & Van Allen can provide the legal representation you need in this difficult time and help you make more informed decisions about the challenging legal proceedings ahead of you.

FAQs About Dying In A Car Crash, California

What Is the Probability of Dying in a Car Crash?

California’s fatal accident rate mirrors the national average at about nine fatalities per 100,000 people each year. While this may seem like a relatively low chance of dying in a car accident, it is vital to remember that car accidents happen in many different ways. It’s advisable to drive defensively and limit your risk of causing an accident, but ultimately you cannot predict how other drivers will behave at any given time.

What Happens if a Car Accident Is Fatal?

If a loved one was killed in a car accident, you can file a wrongful death claim against the driver who caused the fatal collision. This type of civil suit is reminiscent of a personal injury claim in some respects; however, a personal injury claim seeks compensation for the victim’s losses, and a wrongful death claim aims to compensate the victim’s family for the losses resulting from the death.

Can I File a Personal Injury Claim Against the Driver Who Hit Me?

If you recently experienced a car accident due to another driver’s negligence or misconduct, you have the right to seek accountability for your losses. Your first option for recovery is filing a claim against their auto insurance policy. If they do not have insurance or if they don’t have enough coverage to fully repay your losses, you can proceed with filing a personal injury claim against them.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Attorney for a Car Accident Claim?

If you hire Belgum, Fry & Van Allen to represent you in your recovery after a car accident, we will only take a fee once we win your case. Our contingency fee will be a portion of the total amount recovered for you, and if we cannot obtain compensation for your damages, you will pay nothing.

How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?

If a loved one died in a car accident, state law dictates that you have two years from the date of the death to file a wrongful death claim against the party responsible for causing the accident. While this might seem like more than enough time to file your claim, it is always advisable to work quickly and start the claim filing process as soon as possible for the greatest chance of success.

Belgum, Fry & Van Allen could assist you in navigating the aftermath of a fatal accident if another driver’s negligence or misconduct caused the death of your loved one. We know how emotionally stressful these situations are for surviving family members and the various legal challenges you are likely to encounter as you seek accountability for the untimely death. Contact us today and find out more about the ways we can help your family recover.