You can seek compensation from a driver who hurts you in a California high-speed traffic crash.
Speeding is a factor in almost one-third of all traffic accidents and is the #1 cause of fatal crashes. When someone drives too fast for the road conditions, a catastrophic accident can happen in the blink of an eye.
What would you do if someone hurt you in a California high-speed car accident? Now you have medical bills, months of recovery time, car damages, lost wages, and more. Everyone in your family is shaken up from the trauma of the crash and its enormous impact on your daily lives.
Under the law, you’re entitled to pursue full and fair compensation for your damages. High-speed crashes create huge costs and represent some of California’s costliest accident claims.
You shouldn’t have to bear the burden alone. Put the responsibility where it belongs – on the high-speed driver who hurt you. The car accident team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers can help you acquire the compensation you deserve.
We help injured Californians recover from high-speed accidents by pursuing valuable accident claims. This is the route to covering your medical bills and other costs with the maximum possible settlement. Most cases never need to go to court.
Receive more information about your specific situation by requesting a free case evaluation from our team. In the meantime, please take a look at the information below about high-speed accidents in California.
Facts About High-Speed Accidents
You might be surprised to learn that high-speed accidents are considered to be accidents that happen at speeds of anything over 30 miles per hour. While that may seem low, the complex physical forces of a car accident can easily multiply the destructive force.
Very high speed crashes of 50 or more miles per hour are even likelier than other crashes to involve fatalities. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, exceeding the speed limit/racing accounts for about 8,700 driver deaths per year, which is much higher than top causes like alcohol (5,100) and failure to yield (3,700).
Even exceeding the speed limit by 5 miles per hour is driving dangerously enough to kill someone. One study found that pedestrians hit at 30 mph were twice as likely to die as those hit at 25 mph, which led to a New York City-wide speed limit of 25 mph.
What California Law Says About Speeding
Under Section 22350 of the California Code, a driver should never exceed the speed that’s “reasonable and prudent” for the current driving conditions. This means even if the posted speed limit is 55 mph, a reasonable and prudent driver wouldn’t blast through standing floodwaters at a full 55 mph. You’re expected to exercise caution according to the conditions.
Although you might not always see a speed limit sign, no road completely lacks a speed limit here in California. We also have a basic speed law that sets speed limits in the name of public safety. Under this law, there are two types of California speed limits:
Absolute Speed Limit
An absolute speed limit is set on any road posted with a maximum speed limit. Anyone who exceeds the speed limit on this marked stretch of road is clearly breaking the law.
Prima Facie Speed Limit
The prima facie speed limit is the maximum speed allowed on a road that’s not clearly marked with a posted speed limit. In California, this speed limit might be 55, 65, or 75 mph on a freeway, depending on the area.
In a residential zone, business district, or school zone, the prima facie speed limit is 25 mph. It’s even lower at 15 mph in certain areas like railroad crossings, in alleys, and within intersections that have less than 100 feet of clear visibility.
As you can imagine, there’s plenty of confusion among drivers about the difference between the absolute speed limit and the prima facie speed limit. If you passed a speed limit sign a few miles back, does it still apply? What if you’re not sure whether you’re in a business district? Car accident lawyers help answer questions like these.
Generally speaking, it’s wise to slow down and drive cautiously in areas like:
- School zones, playgrounds, and daycare facilities
- Business districts
- Police and fire stations
- Train crossings
- Construction zones
- Highway entrance ramps
- Heavily congested areas with slowed and stopped traffic
- Accident scenes
- In narrow canyons and mountain roads with winding curves
- Anywhere with a loose or rocky road surface
Steps to Take After a High-Speed Accident
After a high-speed crash, having a car accident lawyer helps you protect your rights and prevent making mistakes that could harm your case. They also help you get to the bottom of what happened in the accident and who was speeding.
Your next steps have a huge impact on how successful your claim might be. Here are some important things you can do to preserve the integrity of your claim.
Seek Proper Medical Care
After your high-speed accident, make it your top priority to acquire medical care even if you’re not sure about the full extent of your injuries. Don’t turn down help from emergency responders. Follow your doctor’s instructions about healing from your injuries.
If you don’t seek medical care now, you could regret it later because your injuries could worsen and impact your life even more strongly. Plus, medical bills usually form the basis of a car accident compensation case. Your bills are establishing exactly when your accident happened and showing the speeding driver contributed directly to causing your injuries.
Gathering Evidence of a High-Speed Crash
Whenever you’re able after the high-speed crash, start gathering car accident evidence that shows what happened. Focus on anything that involves speeding.
Take accident scene videos and photos that show things like car damage, debris lying in the road, and relevant road signs and speed limit signs that help clarify the location and posted speed limit. If you’re in a school zone or residential area, make sure this is shown in the photos.
Your injuries should be documented in photos and videos too. As soon as you can after the accident, capture your injuries and continue documenting them until you’re fully recovered.
Plus, your photos should show wrappings, crutches, medications, or scarring you have from your crash, because this connects to your medical bills and emotional suffering. Start a daily journal that documents your emotional state, your daily struggles, and the huge impact the accident is having on your life.
You’ll also need to reach out to the police department for a copy of the police report. In a high-speed accident case, this is a key piece of evidence, but don’t worry if the speeding isn’t clear in the report. Your lawyer can help much-needed context and clarify issues like local speed limits and laws that apply to your case.
Watch What You Say and Where You Say It
It’s tempting to discuss what happened in your accident and share information with your friends and family. Unfortunately, this could come back to bite you in an accident claim. The other side could twist your words and use them against you.
Avoid making statements about your accident to anyone but your car accident lawyer. Don’t allow a recording of your conversation without your permission and keep your social security number private, which is within your rights in California.
Also, don’t talk about your crash on social media. Insurance companies go through social media accounts to find details they can use to make decisions about what they’re willing to offer people after car accidents. Lawyers also use online searches to find revealing information.
Contributors to High-Speed Crashes in California
While speeding is often the direct cause of a high-speed crash, other factors could be at play too. To learn more about your case’s contributing factors, request a free case evaluation with a qualified car accident lawyer from the Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers team. Below are common contributors to high-speed accidents
Poorly-Marked Roads Lead to High-Speed Driving
Was the road missing its speed limit sign due to vandalism or construction? Was it confusing to figure out the legal speed due to other factors? Talk to your lawyer about your concerns.
Drunk and Drugged High-Speed Drivers
Fully 50% of all drivers who die in California road collisions test positive for intoxicating substances after the fact. These drivers add danger to the roads and because they’re too intoxicated to safely regulate their own driving, they cause thousands of high-speed crashes.
Distracted Driving Contributes High-Speed Crashes
More than 2,800 deaths and 400,000 injuries can be attributed to distracted driving, according to the CDC. When someone is distracted, they’re more likely to engage in dangerous behaviors like exceeding the speed limit.
Other Causes of High-Speed Crashes
Was someone speeding for another reason and caused your crash? Talk to your lawyer about a high-speed accident that involves issues like:
- A health problem that led them to speed, like a mobility issue
- Street racing or joyriding
- Driving under extreme emotional stress
- Driving while drowsy for falling asleep at the wheel
- Having passengers in the car who interfered with the driver
Common Injuries in High-Speed Accidents
High-speed accidents have high rates of severe injuries. Here are some of the most common injuries from high-speed collisions.
- High-impact head injuries like traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Broken bones
- Torn muscles and ligaments
- Spinal cord injuries with or without paralysis
- Crushing injuries including internal organ damage
- Chronic pain
- Numbness or tingling in the extremities from nerve damage
- Skin and organ damage from fires, explosions, and chemical burns
- Emotional damage
- Severe damage to the face and eyes
- Dental injuries including lost teeth
- Hand, arm, foot, and ankle injuries
How Insurance Works After a High-Speed Crash
When someone injures you in a high-speed crash, it might seem obvious that they should shoulder the blame. But your case could rest on what you’re able to prove about the circumstances of the crash.
A successful insurance claim could cover some or all of your costs, but it’s also possible that the insurance company will dig in their heels and refuse to pay what you deserve. Contact us for a free online evaluation of your case and learn more about what you can expect from insurance.
The police aren’t the only ones who do investigations into high-speed crashes. Lawyers and insurance companies investigate too. Get ready for the insurance company to interview you, ask probing questions about the accident, and put you on the defensive about what happened.
Eventually, with your lawyer’s help, you’ll reach the offer consideration stage of the process where you decide whether to accept what the insurance is offering. In most cases, the first offer is too low to adequately compensate you, so try to have patience as the negotiations continue. Your lawyer’s priority is to maximize the value of your case.
Assigning Fault in California High-Speed Accidents
Determining fault is important in California because your monetary award depends on your share of the blame. Our state uses the comparative fault rule for car accidents. After your accident, your goal will be to work with your lawyer to show you hold minimal blame and the speeding driver holds most of the blame.
The monetary award you receive will be reduced proportionally by your percentage of fault in the accident. If you were found to be 20% at fault while the speeding driver was 80% at fault, you can still collect 80% of the monetary award.
Keep in mind that there could be multiple parties to your case. Did the other driver work for a commercial trucking company? Were they a delivery driver for a food company? Did they have Uber passengers on board? These could be positives or negatives for your case, so discuss the possibilities with your lawyer.
Factors in Determining Liability for High-Speed Crashes
Numerous factors come together to paint the full picture of your case. It’s probably not as simple as it seems. In high-speed crashes, California judges, juries, insurance companies, lawyers, and other parties typically look at factors like:
- Nearby road signs that show speed limits
- Whether the applicable speed limit was absolute or prima facie, as described above
- The damage to each vehicle from the high-speed crash
- Whether the high-speed crash involved drunk, drugged, or distracted driving
- Any available video footage from vehicles, homes, businesses, or traffic cameras
- Police report details and officer testimony
- The federal, state, and local laws and ordinances that apply to your accident
- Eyewitness testimony
- Road construction that involves temporary speed limit signs
- Location conditions like the weather and time of day
The Deadline for Claims in High-Speed Accidents
Don’t wait too long to start your claim! Every state including California has a deadline, or statute of limitations, that impacts how long you have to make an accident claim. Here in California, you must file a lawsuit within two years of the date of the rollover accident. If your crash involves a city, county, or state government, you have just six months from the date of the accident.
Choosing a Lawyer for Your High-Speed Accident Claim
It’s important to emphasize that your lawyer’s experience matters in complex cases like these. Proving that someone else was speeding before an accident isn’t an easy proposition. You’ll need plenty of evidence, plus a bold lawyer who knows how to advocate for you.
The team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers is here to listen to your whole story and assess the full value of your high-speed accident claim. We’ll make sure you can pursue all of the value you’re due, including emotional damages, medical bills, lost wages, and the value of the devastating impact on your family.
We’re on your side and we’re ready to help. Please contact us as soon as possible for more information about starting a legal claim after a high-speed accident in California.
We Handle Your High-Speed Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
After a traffic accident, please contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including high-speed crashes. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.
We truly care about helping California’s injured people. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation or call 877-380-8852.