If you’ve been hit by a car in Oakland, you’re not alone.
The California Offices of Traffic Safety that in 2014 there were a total of 3,016 fatal and injurious car accidents in Oakland. With a population of just 413,000 people, that means your odds of being hit by a car in Oakland are roughly 1 in 137—about one million times better than your odds of winning the lottery. In fact, if you’re on foot or riding your bicycle, your odds of being hit by a car are even higher! In short, Oakland is—per capita—one of the most dangerous cities in California when it comes to traffic accidents.
Every year thousands of lives are shattered and hundreds of victims are left struggling to put their lives back together after being hit by distracted, reckless, and intoxicated drivers. As a personal injury attorney in Oakland with over 20 years’ experience in auto accident litigation and out-of-court settlements, I’ve seen how personal each and every one of those car accidents can be. You’re not just a statistic. You’re an individual with a family and a life of your own. At fault parties should be held responsible for their actions and if the Oakland police can’t or won’t, you may be able to.
But in order to do that, it’s helpful if you understand the danger you put yourself in every time you hit the streets.
Major Contributing Factors to Car Accidents in Oakland
Sometimes being hit by a car in Oakland can truly be an accident. Life is dangerous and we can’t always control the circumstances around us. Multiple factors come together to put us in the wrong place at the wrong time. But more often than not somebody is responsible for your injuries.
In fact, three of the top contributing factors to fatal and injurious car accidents in Oakland can be considered crimes.
According to OTS data, speed was a factor in 557 of the total car accidents in Oakland recorded in 2014. That’s over 20% of collisions. Speed not only increases the likelihood of a collision by reducing a driver’s response time and increasing the car’s stopping distance but dramatically increases the likelihood of victims suffering evermore traumatic injuries.
Scientists who have collected crash data from all over the world found that as speed increases by just .6 miles per hour the risk of an accident increases by 3%.
In addition, when pedestrians are hit by cars in Oakland travelling 25 miles per hour, they stand a 65% (or better) chance of surviving their injuries. When that speed increases to just 40 miles per hour that survivability rate drops to roughly 10%.
Even when the victim is inside a car speed plays a tremendous role in the severity of their injuries. A victim’s likelihood of dying is roughly 20 times higher when vehicles collide at 50 miles per hour compared to when they crash at just 20 MPH.
Under California Speed Law, drivers have a responsibility to obey all posted speed limits as well as all prima facie speed limits in specified areas like school zones, construction areas, and parking lots. When they fail to do so, they could be held criminally negligent as well as financially responsible for your injuries, property damages, and even your pain and suffering.
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2) Alcohol Consumption
Drunk driving is a serious problem nationwide. It claims the lives of 28 people every day in The United States. Here in Oakland there are roughly 250 accidents involving alcohol consumption every year. In almost 100 of those cases the person who had been drinking was a driver.
Consuming alcohol and getting behind the wheel can be devastating. Alcohol impairs a driver’s judgement, their motor skills, and their reaction times creating a “perfect storm” of symptoms that contribute to fatal and injurious car accidents. Even a blood alcohol content (BAC) of just .02 (well under the legal limit) decreases a driver’s physical ability to see properly, alters their judgement, can affect their mood, and nearly eliminates their ability to perform two task simultaneously. For most people a single drink is enough to elevate their BAC to this level. Stats show that with a BAC of just .02 drivers are 1.38 times more likely to be involved in a car crash than sober drivers.
Drunk driving accidents resulted in 235 arrests in Oakland in 2014. But victims of such accidents don’t have to rely on the criminal justice system to hold at fault parties responsible. Indeed, they can file for compensatory damages (financial reimbursement or compensation) for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. While many of these cases end in out-of-court settlements with the at fault party’s insurance company, some cases do go to court—requiring victims to hire personal injury attorneys in Oakland who have experience with civil litigation.
Regardless of which route your financial recovery takes, the car accident attorneys at Sally Morin Law can help.
3) Hit and Run Collisions
Hit and run collisions are crimes. When the at fault party makes the conscious decision to flee the scene of an accident, they are committing a crime. And, as stats show, Oakland has one of the highest rates of hit and run accidents in all of California.
In 2014 the OTS recorded an astounding 462 hit and run traffic accidents involving cars, pedestrians, bicycles, and motorcycles. That’s over 15% of all the car accidents in Oakland for that year!
Hit and run accident present several problems for victims. They may be forced to wait until police have apprehended the suspect before seeking compensation from the at fault party but that doesn’t mean you have to delay your recovery.
Your personal insurance policy may pay for injuries and damages caused by hit and run drivers.
Under California law all standard auto insurance policies must have uninsured or under insured driver coverage unless you specifically decline those options when you enroll. That means that if you can’t hold the at fault party responsible or they don’t have enough insurance coverage to pay the extent of your medical expenses and other costs associated with your accident, your insurance may pick up the difference.
However, getting that insurance payout can be difficult. You must:
- Be able to determine liability
- Justify the cost of your injuries
- Demonstrate that your livelihood has been significantly impacted by your recovery
Professional Help Makes Your Recovery Process Easier
When you’ve been involved in a car accident in Oakland your recovery becomes a priority. Whether or not there has been a crime involved, you need financial support to maintain a stable lifestyle for you and your family. If you’ve been hit by a car in Oakland, you need professional help. Call Sally Morin Law at (510) 858-2231 today or get a FREE online case evaluation now to see if we can help.