Speeding Is a Factor in 25 Percent of Fatal Accidents
December 21, 2021 | Car Accidents
The saddest part about many motor vehicle accidents is that they are fully preventable. Speeding is a common cause of car accidents in Missouri. In fact, according to statistics that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides, speeding is the number one contributing factor for more than 25 percent of fatal car accidents that occur nationwide every year.
If a driver had simply driven at a reasonable speed, many of these accidents may not have happened, and the people who died might still be alive today. Motor vehicle accidents can lead to serious injuries, especially when one or more vehicles are speeding.
If you or a person you care about has suffered injuries in an accident that resulted from speeding, you have legal options that are open to you. The same is true if a traffic accident killed a loved one. A knowledgeable St. Louis car accident lawyer can explore your legal options with you and help you decide on the best course of action for your car accident case.
Your attorney can assist with filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and if necessary, litigating it in the court system. Your attorney will do everything possible to maximize the compensation you recover from your claim and work to get you all of the damages that you deserve.
Why Speeding Leads to Traffic Accidents and Fatalities
According to Newton’s Second Law of Motion, there is a relationship between an object’s mass, acceleration, and force. According to the formula, the force of an object equals acceleration times mass. Therefore, when a motor vehicle collision involves a significant amount of force, that accident is likely to result in more serious injuries (or fatalities) than if the accident occurred at a slower speed.
The force of a strong impact can cause a car accident victim’s body to move around and about the vehicle. The driver’s body might move from side to side or backward and forward in an abrupt manner. In addition, the force of a hard vehicular impact might cause the driver or passenger’s body to strike something in the vehicle. Specifically, the accident victim can strike the headrest, steering wheel, dashboard, window, or door, depending upon the collision force.
Accidents involving fast-moving trucks, tractor-trailers, and big rigs, often involve a high degree of force. Not only is the at-fault vehicle moving fast, but it is carrying a heavy load often up to 80,000 pounds.
According to the NHTSA, there are several ways in which speeding can lead to a serious traffic accident that can result in a fatality. First of all, the driver can lose control of their vehicle. When that happens, the driver might not stop in time to avoid an impact.
In addition, drivers who speed excessively have difficulty negotiating sharp turns, and their vehicles may hydroplane in the event of wet weather.
Speeding can also lead to safety equipment in the vehicle, such as airbags, being less effective. The same is true for seatbelts.
Speeding can also lead to a reduced stopping distance. When a motor vehicle driver speeds and tailgates other vehicles, the chances are good that a serious crash will occur. Finally, when a speeding vehicle collides with a stopped or slowed vehicle in the rear, it is usually the occupants of the front vehicle who will suffer the more serious damages. Accidents occurring at high speeds can also lead to larger medical expenses and long periods of missed work time. In addition, they increase the property damage for all involved vehicles.
If you have suffered injuries in one of these types of accidents that occurred because of a speeding driver, you have legal rights that are available to you. A car accident attorney in St. Louis can determine if you can recover monetary compensation. If you are eligible, your attorney can file a claim or a lawsuit in the court system on your behalf. Your attorney will also work to pursue the damages that you deserve for your accident-related injuries.
Speeding Can Lead to Traffic Violations
Motor vehicle operators must reasonably drive their vehicles at all times. This means obeying all traffic laws and following all posted speed limit signs on the road.
There are essentially two different types of speeding violations. The first violation occurs when a driver violates the speed limit. Another speed violation occurs when a motor vehicle operator drives a vehicle too fast for the circumstances (the roadway conditions at that time). Adverse circumstances may include a traffic back-up (such as during rush hour) or unfavorable weather conditions, such as rain.
Motor vehicle operators must also slow their vehicles down in heavy traffic, near pedestrians, or when the weather or road conditions (such as in a construction zone) should prevent driving at high speeds. In addition, drivers are responsible for watching their speeds when operating their vehicles on winding or narrow roads. They must also refrain from speeding near railroad crossings, at intersections, or near the top of a tall hill or mountain.
If a law enforcement officer observes a driver speeding, the officer can activate warning lights and pull the vehicle over. In addition to receiving fines and other penalties for speeding, a driver can face civil liability if they cause a traffic accident that leads to injuries. When that occurs, the at-fault driver’s insurance company should be responsible for paying for the accident victim’s injuries and other accident-related consequences.
Serious Injuries that May Result from High-Speed Motor Vehicle Accidents
Even in cases where a speeding vehicle accident does not result in a fatality, accident victims can still suffer very serious injuries in the collision. Since high-speed accidents typically happen with a significant amount of force, the impact can abruptly jar the accident victim’s body in the car, injuring them.
Some of the most common injuries in high-speed motor vehicle collisions include:
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Soft tissue injuries (including muscular contusions, sprains, and strains)
- Broken bones
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Paralysis injuries
If you have suffered any of these injuries in a high-speed car accident, you should first seek emergency medical treatment right away. Even if you are unsure about the severity of your injuries, you should still follow up at a hospital emergency room. The healthcare provider can ascertain your medical condition and recommend future care and follow-up treatments.
If you fail to seek same-day medical treatment after your collision, the insurance company may believe that your injuries were not all that serious. While you treat your injuries, an experienced St. Louis car accident attorney can begin advocating for you and collecting the necessary documents to prove your car accident claim.
Potential Monetary Damages in St. Louis Speeding Vehicle Accident Claims
Victims of car accidents can suffer injuries that leave them debilitated and unable to work. Accident victims may also experience tremendous pain, suffering, and inconvenience because of their injuries.
Missouri is a fault-based state for motor vehicle accidents. Therefore, the accident victim is responsible for demonstrating that another driver acted unreasonably under the circumstances and that they suffered an injury that directly resulted from the accident. A St. Louis car accident lawyer can help you satisfy all of these legal elements in your car accident claim or lawsuit, making you eligible to recover monetary compensation and damages.
Not every car accident claim is the same. Therefore, the damages that one accident victim recovers in a car accident may differ from the damages that another receives. The damages that you recover in your car accident case will depend upon the overall severity of your injuries, the type of injury you suffered, whether any treatment will likely be necessary, and the cost of your past and future medical treatment. A qualified medical provider can estimate the cost of future surgery or medical procedures, should you require it.
If you can satisfy the legal elements of the claim, your attorney can pursue damages for you. Those damages are supposed to adequately compensate you for the injuries you suffered in your accident, along with its aftermath. First, a car accident victim can recover compensation for all medical expenses from treatment relating to the accident. If the accident victim had to miss work to attend medical appointments or just because they were in pain, the accident victim can pursue a claim for lost wages.
In addition to economic damages, victims of car accidents can recover non-economic damages. There is no hard-and-fast formula for calculating the amount of non-economic damages, but insurance companies and juries will usually consider various factors. First of all, if the accident victim suffered inconvenience, pain and suffering, or loss of the ability to use a body part (such as from paralysis), there’s a good chance that the accident victim can recover non-economic damages.
A knowledgeable car accident attorney in St. Louis can help you pursue all of the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. In some instances, accident victims may recover their damages in a settlement. At other times, if the insurance company is unwilling to compensate you fairly for your injuries, you can litigate the case and take it to trial or binding arbitration a type of alternative dispute resolution proceeding.
High-Speed Traffic Accidents May Lead to a Wrongful Death Claim
In the most serious high-speed traffic accidents, one or more fatalities can prompt a wrongful death claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver/entity.
A surviving family member may be eligible to assert a wrongful death claim when a loved one dies because of someone else’s negligence, recklessness, carelessness, or intentional/wrongful act on the road. Therefore, if a high-speed motor vehicle collision results in an accident victim’s death, a surviving family member or personal representative of the decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death claim.
The burden of proof in a wrongful death claim still lies with the claimant. However, it can be difficult to prove these claims since the deceased accident victim is no longer alive to tell their version of events. In some instances, it may become necessary to retain an accident reconstructionist or other expert to piece together how the collision occurred and what the accident victim likely felt immediately after the impact.
Wrongful death claimants are eligible to pursue various types of damages. First of all, they can recover compensation for burial and funeral expenses. Likewise, they may be eligible to receive compensation for the medical expenses that the deceased individual incurred from the time of the accident up until their death. Finally, wrongful claimants can also pursue compensation for the loss of the deceased individual’s care, companionship, and future earnings.
In cases where the at-fault driver behaved in a particularly egregious manner at the time of the accident, such as by speeding or operating a vehicle while intoxicated, the wrongful death claimant can pursue punitive damages. The ultimate purpose of punitive damages is to punish the wrongdoer driver and serve as an example. A knowledgeable St. Louis car accident attorney can determine if you can file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, and if so, can assist you throughout the process.