Speed is one of the main reasons that there are more deadly car accidents in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties than anyplace else in the Golden State.
Between 2012 and 2016, LA County had over three times more fatal crashes than the number two jurisdiction. Many area residents said that drivers sped recklessly through parts of the area. The Northridge area of Los Angeles is especially dangerous. The combination of a number of businesses, speeding motorists, and 35,000 CSUN students is simply overwhelming.
Some drivers say that they worry every time they go out on the roads, especially if they are carrying children.
California Car Crashes and Excessive Velocity
Because it increases both the risk of a collision and the force in a collision, speed is a factor in about a third of the fatal car crashes in Orange County.
First, speed exponentially increases stopping distance. It only takes a few moments for a driver to see a hazard ahead, move his/her foot from the gas pedal to the brake, apply the brake, and safely stop the vehicle. But in those few moments, a car traveling 30mph will go about six car lengths. At 60mph, stopping distance triples to eighteen car lengths.
Other factors, such as vehicle weight and adverse environmental conditions, can raise stopping distance even more dramatically.
Second, speed exponentially increases the force in a collision. There’s an old urban myth that if a person drops a penny from the top of the Empire State Building, the impact is fatal to a pedestrian on the street. That’s not exactly true, but the penny does build enough force to cause serious injury.
What if that penny was a cell phone? Or what if it was travelling 60mph in a straight line instead of fluttering to earth?
Building a Claim for Damages
A solid theory of recovery is an important part of a California car crash claim. But it is only one part. The victim/plaintiff has the burden of proof, which means that the victim/plaintiff needs evidence. Increasingly, this evidence comes in an electronic format.
One example is video surveillance evidence. Almost all intersections contain at least one camera, be it a red-light camera or a security camera. Another example is the Event Data Recorder. All new cars have an EDR, which is a lot like a commercial airplane’s black box flight recorder. Capability varies by make and model. But typically, the EDR captures and records important information like:
● Vehicle speed,
● Brake application,
● Steering angle, and
● Airbag deployment.
In most cases, insurance company lawyers cannot challenge the accuracy of EDR evidence. So, it carries a lot of weight with the jury.
This evidence is very important, but unless an attorney acts fast, it may be unavailable. Most California insurance companies destroy wrecked vehicles after just a few days. In that event, any physical evidence the vehicle contains, including the EDR, will be gone as well.
To preserve the EDR, an attorney usually sends a spoliation letter to the car’s custodian. This letter orders the preservation of the car and any evidence it might possibly contain. Then, an attorney can get a court order to inspect and download the data.
Contact An Assertive Car Accident Lawyer
Speed kills. For a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer, contact RMD Law. We are eager to assist you throughout each step of your case.