Motorhomes and other types of recreational vehicles (RVs) are a common sight on California’s roads. And although many of these heavy-vehicle drivers have the experience and caution to navigate roads safely, inexperienced and reckless RV drivers pose a serious threat to others. If you’ve been injured in an RV accident, you may suffer from incredibly serious injuries that can impact you for the rest of your life. Fortunately, you can file a claim against a negligent RV or motorhome driver to recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Here’s what you need to know about these deadly traffic accidents and how to recover compensation.
RV and Motorhome Accident Statistics
Surprisingly, approximately 11% of households in the United States own an RV, and one million Americans even live in RVs full-time. With the increase of RV owners, it’s now more common to become involved in a serious RV accident.
Recreational vehicles weigh on average 10,000 pounds while the average car weighs around 4,100 pounds. That significant weight difference means a standard car is more likely to take more serious damages than an RV in a collision.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 26 people are killed in RV accidents every year. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated there are tens of thousands of RV and motorhome accidents annually in the United States, and around 80,000 people suffer from injuries caused by these wrecks.
The NHTSA also estimated that RVs are three times more likely to be involved in a collision that results in a road fatality than standard passenger vehicles.
Common Causes of Motorhome and RV Accidents
Motorhomes and other types of RVs are significantly wider and taller than standard passenger vehicles. It’s standard practice in the United States for drivers to obtain special licenses to drive larger vehicles, such as semi-trucks, but this is usually not the case when it comes to RVs.
California requires drivers to obtain a Class B license to drive a vehicle that weighs over 26,000 pounds or is over 40 feet in length, but most RVs are smaller and lighter than these requirements, meaning that drivers are not obligated to obtain a special license. It’s no wonder why inexperienced RV drivers are a common source of deadly collisions.
In addition to driver inexperience, there are many other common causes of RV accidents including:
- Distractions: RV drivers are more likely to have a group of passengers, including pets and children. Larger groups are more likely to distract drivers and contribute to serious collisions. Additional common sources for distracted driving include smartphones, food and beverages, music, and navigation devices.
- Blind spots: Because RVs are much larger than standard passenger vehicles, they have more significant blind spots. When making turns or changing lanes, RV drivers may fail to spot pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and standard passenger vehicles.
- Trouble handling: Even experienced RV drivers typically don’t operate their RVs nearly as much as they do other vehicles. They may make an operational error while adjusting to their RV’s size and handling.
- Driving while fatigued: Those operating RVs typically drive for longer periods than others on the road because they are more likely to be on vacation, leading to them becoming tired behind the wheel. Driving while tired is incredibly dangerous and can impair both your judgment and reaction time.
- Rollovers: RVs have a higher center of gravity and often have a relatively narrow wheelbase considering their size, increasing the likelihood of a dangerous rollover accident.
- Reckless driving: Some RV drivers operate their vehicles without regarding the safety of others on the road. They may make dangerous driving maneuvers, speed, or even ignore traffic signals.
What to Do After a Motorhome or RV Accident
If you become involved in a traffic accident with a motorhome or another type of RV, you need to take immediate action to ensure your safety and increase your likelihood of recovering compensation.
Firstly, you need to prioritize your safety. Contact 911 if anyone involved in the accident suffers injuries. Even if no one is injured, you need to call the police and report the accident. You should then wait for them to arrive.
As you wait for the police or medical professionals to arrive, do not admit fault for the accident. In fact, you should even avoid apologizing because this can be taken as an admission of liability.
After calling 911 or the police, you should gather evidence at the scene if you’re physically able. You can take many photos and videos of the wreck’s aftermath, and you can talk to any eyewitnesses. You can also make notes about what you remember leading up to the wreck.
Once you’ve left the scene, you need to seek immediate medical attention. Even if it seems like you didn’t experience serious injuries, you could be more injured than you realize. Any delay in receiving medical treatment will hurt your chances of recovering compensation if you file a claim.
Finally, perhaps the most important thing you need to do in order to recover compensation is to contact a California RV accident attorney.
California RV Accident Attorneys
A skilled personal injury RV accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. They’ll assist you in gathering evidence that proves your claim, and they’ll present it in the most effective way possible to maximize the compensation you’ll receive. Depending on your case, you may be able to recover damages for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of future earnings, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and more.
For legal experts in RV accidents in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers at 877-380-8852, or you can get started with a free case evaluation here.