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Common Causes of Car Accidents & Who's At Fault

Broken mirror of a car.

Car accidents are an unfortunate reality of modern life, and understanding their common causes can help prevent and determine liability. Identifying who's at fault is crucial for insurance claims and legal proceedings, whether it's a minor fender bender or a serious collision.

Here’s a look at the common causes of car accidents and who is typically held responsible.

1. Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents. It includes any activity that diverts attention from driving, such as talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, or fiddling with the stereo, entertainment, or navigation system. The fault in these cases usually lies with the distracted driver who ignored the road.

2. Speeding

Exceeding the speed limit is a major contributor to car accidents. High speeds reduce the driver's ability to react to sudden changes, such as a car stopping abruptly or an obstacle appearing on the road. When an accident occurs due to speeding, the speeding driver is typically held responsible, especially if they were driving significantly above the legal limit.

3. Drunk Driving

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not only illegal but also extremely dangerous. Drunk drivers have impaired judgment, slower reaction times, and diminished motor skills, making them a hazard on the road. In accidents caused by drunk driving, the impaired driver is almost always at fault.

4. Reckless Driving

Reckless driving includes aggressive behaviors such as tailgating, weaving through traffic, or excessive speeding. Such behavior is dangerous and increases the likelihood of accidents. The reckless driver is typically held responsible for accidents resulting from such actions.

5. Weather Conditions

Adverse weather conditions, like rain, snow, ice, fog, or strong winds, can lead to accidents. While no one can control the weather, drivers must adjust their driving to suit the conditions. If a driver fails to slow down or take necessary precautions in bad weather and causes an accident, they may be found at fault.

6. Running Red Lights and Stop Signs

Ignoring traffic signals and signs is a common cause of accidents. Running a red light or stop sign can lead to severe collisions, often at intersections. The driver who disregards the traffic signal is typically held responsible for any resulting accidents.

7. Fatigue

Driving while fatigued can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence. Tired drivers have slower reaction times and may even fall asleep at the wheel. If an accident occurs because a driver is too tired to drive safely, they may be held liable for the crash.

8. Vehicle Defects

Sometimes, accidents are caused by mechanical failures or defects in the vehicle, such as brake failures, tire blowouts, or steering problems. In these cases, liability may fall on the vehicle manufacturer or its parts, provided it can be proven that the defect caused the accident.

9. Poor Road Conditions

Accidents can also result from poorly maintained roads, such as those with potholes, missing signs, or inadequate lighting. In such cases, the entity responsible for maintaining the road, often a government agency, could be held liable if it’s proven that they neglected their duty to keep the roads safe.

Identifying Fault and Seeking Compensation After a Car Accident

Understanding the common causes of car accidents and determining fault are essential steps in handling the aftermath of a collision. Whether it’s due to distracted driving, speeding, or adverse weather conditions, identifying who is at fault helps seek compensation for damages and injuries.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, consulting with a legal professional can help clarify liability and guide you through the process of making a claim. Reach out to Piering Law Firm today at (916) 476-2399 to learn more.

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