Common Causes of Car Accidents in California (2024)

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Car accidents are one of the most commonly cited causes of accidental injuries and deaths in the state, and if you experience an accident, it is crucial to know your options for legal recourse against the driver who injured you. A California car accident lawyer is your most valuable asset if you intend to navigate the car accident settlement process and want to ensure the greatest chance of maximizing your recovery.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in California

Most Common Causes of Car Accidents

Most of the car accidents reported throughout the state are the result of negligence, which is legal terminology that defines an individual’s lack of reasonable care in a specific situation. Proving negligence is often required before a victim can pursue compensation through an auto insurance claim and/or personal injury suit following a car accident. The most frequently cited forms of negligence responsible for accidents throughout the state are:

  • Inattentive driving. Every driver has a duty of care to operate their vehicle attentively, but distracted driving remains one of the most commonly cited causes of vehicle crashes throughout the United States each year. Cell phone use, eating, smoking, and anything else that distracts a driver’s hands, eyes, and focus away from the road can potentially result in a serious accident.
  • Speeding. It’s relatively common for drivers to see others slightly exceeding posted speed limits to maintain a flow of traffic. However, any measure of speeding is potentially dangerous. Speeding reduces the time a driver will have to react to unexpected changes in traffic patterns or hazards on the road. Accidents that happen at higher speeds are more likely to result in catastrophic or fatal injuries.
  • Traffic violations. All drivers are expected to follow posted traffic signs and signals and to yield the right-of-way when appropriate. When drivers mistakenly or intentionally violate traffic signals, they can easily cause serious accidents, especially when moving violations occur in busy intersections.
  • Vehicle maintenance issues. Drivers are expected to keep their vehicles in good working condition, and this means addressing any mechanical malfunctions or performance issues as soon as they notice them.

While most of the vehicle crashes reported throughout the state each year are the result of negligence, it is also possible for accidents to happen because of illegal misconduct. The most common form of this is driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. Another common illegal cause of accidents is reckless driving.

Recovering From a Car Accident

When a driver has caused an accident by breaking the law, they not only face liability for the victim’s damages but also criminal prosecution from the state. Penalties for breaking the law can increase dramatically when a defendant has injured or killed someone with their actions. If your recent car accident happened because of illegal misconduct, a California car accident lawyer can explain what implications this may have for your recovery efforts and final case award.

The recovery process from a car accident typically begins with a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance. Every driver must have auto insurance that includes minimum coverage for bodily injury and property damage. However, insurance alone may not cover your losses, or an at-fault driver may not have insurance at all. In either case, a personal injury claim will be necessary to recover your losses.


Q: How Do You Prove the Cause of a Car Accident?

A: Proving fault for a recent accident is likely to require several types of evidence. A car accident lawyer in Sacramento can help their client secure evidence such as traffic camera videos, testimony from witnesses who saw the accident happen firsthand, cell phone data, physical evidence from the scene of the crash, and even expert witness testimony to prove fault in very complex cases.

Q: What Are the Penalties for Drunk Driving?

A: Intoxicated driving is the most common form of illegal misconduct responsible for accidents throughout the state. The penalties for DUI typically include fines, jail time, and driver’s license suspension, and these penalties can increase significantly if a driver has prior DUI convictions on their record and/or they cause an accident resulting in great bodily harm or death.

Q: What Happens if Drivers Share Fault for a Car Accident?

A: California enforces a pure comparative fault rule for civil cases in which multiple parties share fault for the damages. If an investigation shows that more than one driver is at fault for an accident, each liable party will have a fault percentage assigned, indicating each party’s share of liability for the resulting damages. If a plaintiff in a civil suit is found partially at fault, they lose a percentage of their final case award equal to their fault percentage.

Q: How Much Is a Car Accident Claim Worth?

A:The total potential value of a car accident depends on the extent and severity of the resulting damages. If you can prove another driver is liable for causing your recent accident, you have the right to seek full compensation for any economic losses like property damage, medical expenses, and lost income that you cannot recover through their auto insurance. You may also claim pain and suffering compensation.

Q: How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer?

A: The majority of attorneys representing personal injury cases do so on a contingency basis. This means a client will not pay the attorney any upfront or ongoing legal fees for representation and will instead pay the attorney a percentage of their final case award. However, they pay this fee only if they win their case and owe nothing if their attorney cannot obtain a case award on their behalf.

Kreeger Law Firm has years of experience representing car accident victims and a strong record of successful cases to prove our capabilities in handling your impending case. If you need help recovering from your recent accident, contact us today and schedule a consultation with a California car accident lawyer you can trust with your case.