Freeway and interstate accidents are devastating, but you can take legal action against the person who hurt you.
California freeway and interstate accidents are among the most severe auto accidents that occur in our state. When vehicles collide at high speeds, the people inside are at high risk of sustaining serious injuries. A total of more than 190,000 fatal and injury-causing crashes happen in California every year. If you’re unlucky enough to be in one of these accidents, you’ll need the California freeway and interstate accident lawyers at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers to help you pursue the level of accident compensation required to support your full recovery.
California’s overall rate of highway fatalities has decreased slightly in the past decade, mostly due to better in-vehicle and on-road safety features. However, severe and disabling car accident injuries are still as common as ever.
A freeway/interstate accident claim can help you cover your medical bills and gain the maximum possible settlement while staying out of court. If going to court becomes necessary, you’ll need a bold and knowledgeable lawyer who will fight for everything you deserve. To learn more, ask for a free case evaluation from our legal team and read the information below about freeway and interstate accidents.
California’s 6 Most Dangerous Freeway and Interstates
California’s most dangerous roads are state highways, freeways, and interstates. Here’s a look at some of the riskiest roads out there for severe accidents.
#1: THE I-5
Also ranked as the #4 most dangerous road in the nation, California’s Interstate 5 is frequently cited in safety studies for its high rate of highway fatalities. It frequently sees more than 100 fatal crashes per year along its 800-mile path.
Highway 2, also known as California State Road 2, has about 50 fatal accidents per year. It’s a heavily traveled stretch of highway between LA County and outlying areas.
Highway 101 has had years where there were more than 2 crashes per mile. This is a frequent site of multi-vehicle crashes with severe injuries.
#4: THE I-8
San Diego County’s dangerous I-8 sees more than 100 fatal crashes per year. Its high speeds and millions of travelers contribute to powerful crashes.
#5: HIGHWAY 99
At times, Highway 99 has been California’s #1 most fatal road. In recent years, safety improvements lowered the number of fatalities somewhat. About 20% of all Highway 99 crashes involve drunk driving.
SR-78 through San Diego County accounts for about 75 deaths every year along its 200+ mile path. Take extra caution when traveling along this highway.
Making Your Freeway/Interstate Accident Claim
You should know that accident compensation isn’t automatic after freeway and interstate accidents in California. Accident victims must fight for their right to have their medical bills, lost wages, and other damages covered.
Below, we’ll explain more about motor vehicle accident claims and how you can protect your rights after a freeway or interstate crash. Your next steps strongly impact whether you can successfully secure accident compensation.
Healthcare Treatment After Your Accident
A severe freeway or interstate accident will typically send you to the emergency room at a hospital in San Francisco, Los Angeles, or another California city. Accept this medical treatment and save your medical expenses.
Your medical bills will largely form the basis of your legal claim. This documentation, along with the police report and other evidence described below, proves that your injuries are tied directly to your freeway accident. Delaying healthcare is a huge mistake that could ruin your accident claim.
Gathering Evidence for Your Case
Begin the process of gathering car accident evidence about your freeway/interstate accident. Take videos and photos showing car damage, nearby debris, road signs, skid marks, construction zones, and anything else that seems relevant to your crash.
In California, drivers in accidents should exchange contact and insurance information and provide basic information to the police at the scene of the accident. Later, contact the police department to obtain a copy of the police report. Your lawyer can help you add context to the police report that illuminates what happened.
Take photos of your injuries as soon as possible and include any bandages or scarring you may have from your crash. Begin keeping a daily journal that documents your emotional injuries and how much the accident has changed your life.
Don’t Talk or Post About the Accident
After your accident, someone from the insurance company will probably be eager to speak to you and get your official statement about what happened. Beware, because they’ll use your own words against you to prevent paying out your claim.
Don’t allow anyone to record your conversation without your permission, which is your right under California law, and don’t give out your social security number or other details until you talk to a lawyer. Avoid social media because even an innocent comment can be twisted to mean something else. Insurance companies and lawyers look through social media photos, posts, comments, likes, and anything else shared online.
Why Do Freeway/Interstate Accidents Happen in California?
When you’re searching for answers about why your accident happened, a free case evaluation helps clear things up. Until then, please review the general info below about California freeway and interstate accidents.
When drivers exceed the safe speed limit for a California freeway or interstate highway, they put everyone around them at risk. Speeding reduces a driver’s available reaction time and sets the stage for a catastrophic crash. Speeding is a factor in one-third of all fatal crashes.
Incorrect/Missing Highway Signs and Markings
Maybe your freeway or interstate accident was triggered by poor road signage that made it confusing to merge or difficult to change lanes on the freeway. Were the road markings too old and worn down to show your path?
Temporary signs and markings in construction zones often lead to driver confusion and distraction. A government agency or private company could hold some responsibility for your crash.
Low Visibility Conditions
Here in California, drivers are expected to adapt to changing road conditions. This means the weather or time of day isn’t necessarily something that will excuse you from liability, but it could be factored into your accident compensation.
Drunk or Drugged Driving
Was someone intoxicated in your freeway crash? About 50% of all California drivers killed in road collisions test positive for intoxicating substances later. Plus, 77% of all drunk driving fatalities involve repeat drunk driving offenders.
Distracted Drivers and High Impacts
Distracted driving on freeways and interstates is a huge problem. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says more than 2,800 deaths and 400,000 injuries are due to distracted driving from smartphones, food, music, navigation apps, passengers, roadside distractions, and more.
Truck Equipment Failures
Any vehicle can have an equipment failure, but commercial truck equipment failures are a big problem on California freeways. When a semi-truck has bad brakes or a steering problem, everyone on the road is at risk.
Many types of state and federal trucking laws require trucking companies to keep detailed maintenance logs that show each vehicle’s full maintenance and driving history. Plus, witness testimony and the police report might strengthen your case substantially.
Freeway/Interstate Accident Injuries
Here are some of the most common injuries from freeway and interstate accidents, which tend to be more severe than accidents that happen on other types of roads.
- Bruises and scratches
- Lacerations and other skin damage
- Broken bones
- Damage to the teeth and mouth
- Eye and eye socket damage
- Hand, wrist, arm, and elbow injuries
- Whiplash and other neck/shoulder damage
- Severe head injuries including traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Torn ligaments
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Nerve damage
- Crushing injuries
- Ribcage damage
- Numbness and tingling
- Burns and scalds
- Chronic pain
- Emotional trauma
How Insurance Works After a Freeway/Interstate Accident
Every case follows its own path in terms of insurance, but there are certain patterns lawyers tend to see the most. Contact us for a free online evaluation of your case and how insurance might impact your results.
First, you should know that the insurance company will want to talk to you as soon as possible and pin down the details. While this seems innocent enough, it isn’t always the best idea for your case. Talk to Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers about how and when to interact with the insurance company.
Whether the police investigate your case or not, there will be another investigation into your accident regarding insurance and your accident compensation claim. Prepare yourself to have very little control over this part of the process, but it’s part of moving your case forward.
Watch out for the first offer! It’s not necessarily a good deal and is probably a lowball offer. Insurance companies do this to minimize their payments, but your lawyer can negotiate a much higher amount to more fully cover the full scope of your accident losses.
Assigning Fault in Freeway and Interstate Accidents
California uses the comparative fault rule for car accidents where liability is divided by percentage and each person in an accident takes a percentage of the blame. Your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault.
There could also be a California legal concept that shields you from blame entirely. For example, California’s emergency doctrine releases people from blame when confronted by a danger they didn’t create, like an accident someone else set off.
It’s common to have multiple parties in freeway/interstate accidents because so many vehicles are nearby. When there are multiple parties, all will be assigned a proportion of liability up to a total amount of 100%. As you can imagine, things get complicated fast in accidents like these!
Picture a California freeway crash where you’re innocently stopped in a construction zone and a semi-trailer slams into you from behind, causing a major multi-vehicle crash. In this instance, the trucker might be given 100% of the blame and you have zero blame, meaning you can claim 100% of the damages.
Alternatively, imagine a scenario where you did something to contribute to the crash in a small way. Maybe you hesitated during merging and set off a sideswipe collision with the trucker. This would reduce the percentage of the award you might receive in an accident case, but it doesn’t prevent you from making a claim entirely.
Your freeway accident case will likely involve many factors, like:
- A variety of applicable federal, state, and local laws
- Precisely where your freeway or interstate accident happened
- Testimony from eyewitnesses and other drivers
- Relevant damage to each vehicle
- Any issues with drunk, drugged, or distracted driving
- Video footage that might be available from vehicles and buildings
- Police report information and the responding officer’s testimony
- Many other details about your crash like the time of year, the time of day, the weather, and the road conditions at the moment of your accident
Your crash might involve a lot more drivers and organizations than you even realize. What if the other driver works for a delivery company or the state government? A big highway freeway or interstate crash could involve a commercial trucking company, a delivery driver, or a rideshare worker for a company like Uber.
The Deadline for Starting a Rollover Crash Claim
Under California’s statute of limitations, there’s a strict deadline for filing these claims. Don’t wait too long or you could miss your chance to claim the compensation you’re due. Start your case well before the maximum limit of two years of the date of the freeway or interstate accident.
Your crash may involve a much shorter deadline if a governmental entity like a city, county, or state agency is involved. This shortens your deadline to six months from the date of the accident. Time starts ticking as soon as the accident happens.
Choose the Right Freeway/Interstate Accident Lawyer
When you have an experienced accident lawyer on your side, it’s a huge relief at a stressful time in your life. This might be the most bewildering thing that’s ever happened to you. The right lawyer is full of helpful knowledge and is always working in your best interests to move your case forward.
The team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers takes a personal interest in each of our clients and shows we truly care. We’ll pursue the full value of your emotional damage, lost earnings, and the impact of the accident on your suffering family members. We’re here to stand up for your rights and help protect your future. Please contact us as soon as possible to start making progress on your freeway/interstate accident case.
We Handle Your Freeway/Interstate Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
After an accident on a California freeway or interstate highway, please contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including freeway and interstate accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.
We care about helping California’s injured people. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation or call 877-380-8852.