Speeding is a serious issue that affects all drivers throughout the country. Even with speed traps, high fines, and points on a driver’s license that lead to increased insurance premiums, drivers still choose to speed. Some drivers go so high over the posted speed limit that they blow by you in a second and before you can see them. If you suffered an injury in a car accident with a speeding driver, you need to consult with a car accident lawyer about your case.
Speeding Is a Choice
Speeding is a choice made by millions of drivers every single day across the country that we can easily avoid. Speed limits are there for a reason on every single road.
Some of those reasons include:
- Poor visibility
- Road hazards
- Limited stopping distances between traffic lights
This is not an exhaustive list of reasons why speed limits are what they are, but are some of the biggest reasons why we have such limits. When drivers speed, they put themselves, their passengers, and everyone around them in imminent danger.
Speeding is a Leading Factor in 25 percent of Fatal Crashes.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding is the leading factor in 25 percent of fatal car crashes. This statistic might not seem high to you, but it is completely preventable and can be reduced by thousands of fatalities every year if drivers simply drive slower. Below, we discuss the reasons why people speed, why speed causes more traffic fatalities than other factors, injuries caused by speeding, and much more.
Why Do People Speed?
People speed for various “reasons,” including:
- No regard for the safety of others
- Running late for work
- Trying to get to the hospital for an emergency
- Not willing to sit in traffic
Why Speeding Leads to More Fatalities Than Other Causes of Accidents
So, why is speeding the leading cause of traffic fatalities compared to other causes of accidents? The first factor is that tractor-trailers are often more than 80,000 pounds heavier than passenger vehicles. When these vehicles travel at high rates of speed, they take longer to come to a complete stop safely and can do a ton of damage when colliding with smaller vehicles.
Speeding causes more severe crashes and also plays a role in the following:
- A reduction in the effectiveness of the vehicle’s safety equipment
- Loss of control of the vehicle
- An increase in the stopping distance needed for a safe stop
- Higher fuel costs
- Accidents that take a heavy toll on everyone involved, including emotionally and financially
Types of Accidents Resulting from Speeding Drivers
Speeding can lead to many different types of accidents, including:
All of these accidents can lead to serious injuries and even death. Speak to an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible after being involved in a speed-related car accident.
Common Injuries in Speed-Related Accidents
Victims of accidents involving high rates of speed can suffer traumatic, life-altering injuries. Bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians can die when a speeding vehicle hits them.
The most common fatal injuries caused by speed-related accidents include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Injuries to organs and internal bleeding
- Traumatic amputations
Where Do Drivers Have to Slow Down?
Even if driving the speed limit, the law expects to slow down to a safer speed when conditions warrant.
Here are some examples of such conditions:
- When approaching and entering a railroad crossing
- When approaching and entering an intersection
- When driving on a narrow or winding road
- When the traffic volume is heavy
- When fog diminishes visibility, trees, mist, rain, or any other factor
- When you see pedestrians
- When you are going up to the top of a hill
- When there is inclement weather (rain, ice, sleet, snow, heavy wind, etc.)
- When there is debris on the road
Obtaining Compensation After a Speed-Related Car Accident
As a victim of a speed-related car accident, you deserve compensation for your injuries. The best way to do this is with the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney.
You can seek damages for:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Ambulance fees
- Legal fees
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of income and future earning potential
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral and burial expenses
Should you suffer the loss of a loved one in a fatal speed-related accident, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver. A wrongful death lawsuit can help you pay for the funeral and burial of your loved one. It can also help pay for the loss of your loved one’s future earning potential.
How Can You Avoid a Speed-Related Accident?
Speeders are all around you on the roads. No matter how safe you drive, there are others out there who do not operate their vehicles as safely as you do. Because of the sheer volume of speeding drivers on the roads, it can be downright impossible to avoid an accident related to speed.
However, you can increase your chances of avoiding a speed-related crash if you:
- Pass on the left, drive on the right
- Move to the furthest right lane as possible if you notice a driver speeding up behind you.
- Always use your turn signal when switching lanes.
- Be sure you are traveling at the posted speed limit unless there is inclement weather, heavy traffic congestion, or roadway hazards present.
- Do not try to catch a vehicle that speeds past you to report them (continue to travel at the posted speed limit)
- If you believe a driver is tailgating or harassing you while on the road, be sure to call 911 to report the driver to the police but do not follow them
Steps to Take Following a Speeding Accident
Just like any other type of car accident, you need to protect yourself and your right to compensation following a speeding accident.
Immediately after an accident that involves speeding:
- Always seek medical attention. Getting a swift diagnosis can help improve your prognosis and minimize the future effects of your injuries. Having medical records detailing all of your injuries can help your lawyer prove the extent of your injuries to the insurance companies.
- Avoid speaking with insurance companies. Adjusters will likely call and assure you they are there to help. This is not the case. Instead, insurance adjusters want you to say or do something that allows them to minimize your claim or convince you to accept a low offer without legal advice.
- Consult a car accident lawyer. A lawyer will tell you whether you have a case and what type of financial recovery you might expect. They will gather evidence and handle all insurance negotiations, among many other things.
The sooner you take these steps, the better the chances are that your case will succeed. An attorney can launch a thorough investigation into the accident so you can focus on recovering from your injuries and not the legalities of filing a claim.
Proving Fault in a Speeding Accident
It can be a challenge to prove fault in an accident involving speed, especially if there was no police officer present with a radar gun. However, it is not impossible to prove fault in a speeding accident. You will need to rely on many factors to prove fault.
These factors include:
- Video from vehicle dashcams, store security cameras, or witnesses who lucked out and recorded the crash
- Statements from anyone who witnessed the crash
- Pictures from the crash scene taken by you, the police, an attorney, or a witness
- Reviewing the results from an accident reconstructionist
We can pool all of these items together to determine who might be at fault in a speed-related crash. Determining fault is an important part of these cases because the at-fault party will be responsible for paying for property damage, medical bills, and other expenses related to the crash.
Do I Need an Attorney for a Speed-Related Accident?
You do not technically need an attorney to represent you when filing a personal injury claim for a speed-related car accident. However, you are highly more likely to receive a higher amount of compensation in a settlement if you have an attorney representing you throughout the process. Insurance companies take advantage of unrepresented injury claimants.
An attorney understands the law, including recent legal changes, and what is at stake when you suffer an injury in an accident. They can answer all of your questions promptly so you know where the case stands.
What Is My Case Worth?
The amount of compensation you receive from a speed-related car accident case will vary based on the severity of your injuries, the amount of negligence of the at-fault driver, and other circumstances surrounding the crash.
Every car accident case is different from the top to the bottom, which means no two settlements are ever the same. However, your compensation can significantly increase if the judge awards you punitive damages. These are damages that the law intends to punish the at-fault driver for their actions or inaction in the crash.
The Deadline to File a Claim
Colorado has a short statute of limitations when filing a personal injury claim. That statute of limitations is just three years. That is three years from the accident or three years from when you discovered your injury.
The only way you can file a claim after the statute of limitations has expired is if you have an extenuating circumstance that the court approves, which is rare. You must protect your right to file a claim for compensation by speaking to an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible after the crash.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help Your Case
Working with a personal injury lawyer can significantly increase the chances of success when filing a car accident claim or lawsuit.
An attorney can help you by:
- Collecting evidence from the scene
- Speaking to witnesses
- Obtaining the police report and your medical records
- Talking to expert witnesses and securing their testimony
- Writing and sending demand letters to the at-fault driver of the crash
- Conducting their own investigation into the accident
Questions to Ask a Car Accident Attorney
When you schedule an initial consultation with a car accident attorney, you need to prepare yourself with a list of questions that will help you determine whether or not the attorney is right for your case.
The questions you should ask an attorney at an initial consultation include:
- Do you charge any upfront fees?
- Do you work on contingency?
- How many successful car accident cases have you handled?
- Do you have testimonials to share from your clients?
- What experience do you have with investigating car accidents caused by speed?
- How do you handle communication with your clients?
- Will you be the attorney working on my case, or will it be someone else from your office?
- Will you prepare to go to trial if both parties cannot settle?
- What documents do you need from me to begin the relationship?
- Will I be responsible for court fees, photocopying fees, fees to obtain reports, or any other fees?
Injured by a Speeding Driver? Call a Personal Injury Attorney Today
Injuries caused by speeding drivers can be catastrophic and deadly. Whether you were the one who suffered the injury or it was your loved one, you need to secure legal representation immediately. You only have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit for compensation. Call an experienced car accident attorney today for your initial consultation about your case.