According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 26% of fatal car accidents in 2019 were speeding-related. This statistic is no anomaly, either. For the past 20 years, the agency estimates that speeding has been involved in 33% of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities. Speeding is also frequently a factor in injury accidents, with a prevalence of about 12% nationally.
When it comes to car accident claims, driving over the speed limit (or driving too fast for conditions) is considered negligence. If you have lost a loved one in a car accident caused by speeding, you could be entitled to significant compensation from the driver or their car insurance company. Learn more about high speed car accidents and the law from the personal injury lawyers at Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys.
Why Is Speeding a Major Factor in Fatal Car Accidents?
Speeding is a major factor in fatal car accidents for a variety of reasons. For one, the faster a vehicle is traveling, the more likely it is for the driver to lose control (especially when negotiating a curve), frequently leading to rollover crashes. Secondly, a speeding car or truck has a higher braking and reaction time. This can be especially deadly on freeways, where an unexpected traffic jam can easily result in a serious rear-end collision. Thirdly, speeding can cause surrounding motorists to misjudge a speeding driver’s intentions on the road.
Speeding also has a large impact on the effectiveness of a car’s safety equipment. Although seatbelts, air bags, and crumple zones are extremely effective at reducing injuries and passenger ejections in the event of a crash, there are some speeds at which high impact velocity of a collision can easily result in fatal injuries, even when properly buckled into your seat.
The same is true of road safety structures like guardrails, median dividers, and concrete barriers, which can fail at extremely high speeds. As a result of the decreased effectiveness of safety equipment, life threatening injuries like traumatic brain injuries, internal bleeding, and spinal injuries are all common in high speed car accidents.
Can Speeding Drivers Be Held Liable for Fatal Accidents?
Depending on the circumstances, speeding motorists who cause a serious injury or fatal car accident can be held liable for their actions on either a criminal or civil basis. In some cases, they may be held liable both criminally and civilly.
A person who was speeding or traveling too fast for conditions could be charged with vehicular manslaughter/homicide or reckless driving, both of which can result in potential jail time. If the driver was also under the influence of any drugs or alcohol, they could face additional DUI charges. The same goes for speeding drivers who hit and run.
That being said, not all fatal car accidents that involve speeding will result in criminal charges. If a driver was simply negligent (as opposed to reckless), the only way to hold them responsible may be to file a wrongful death claim against them.
How Are Accident Victims’ Families Compensated?
The death of a loved one in a motor vehicle accident is a devastating loss. In truth, there is no “fair” amount of compensation any insurance company or individual can provide to alleviate the immense suffering brought on by a fatal accident.
Still, many families suffer financially as well as emotionally after a crash, and the funds secured through a wrongful death lawsuit or car accident claim can address some of their economic losses, such as loss of future income, medical bills, and funeral expenses for the deceased. Compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium are also taken into consideration when calculating a wrongful death settlement.
As for where this kind of compensation comes from, the first place to look is the at-fault driver’s car insurance policy. Unfortunately, your ability to recover from the insurance company may be hindered by the driver’s policy limits. The minimum amount of required coverage varies from state to state, but many states require as little as $25,000 per person in bodily injury liability. If a driver only has basic coverage, it is likely to fall short in high speed car accidents that cause fatalities.
The other option is to file a lawsuit directly against the responsible driver. While there are fewer restrictions on how much you can recover from an individual, actually getting paid is a different matter. If the defendant does not have the money or assets to pay a wrongful death claim, victims’ families may never receive the full settlement amount they are owed. With an experienced wrongful death attorney on your side, however, you can ensure that all legal avenues have been explored.
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Losing a loved one in a car crash can send your life into a tailspin. In addition to processing tremendous grief, there are dozens of other obligations vying for your attention. Dealing with the insurance company or the driver who caused the accident shouldn’t be one of them.
If you have been receiving phone calls or even settlement offers from the at-fault driver’s insurance company but aren’t sure what to do next, the car accident lawyers at Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys can help. If your claim has been denied by the insurance company, you’ve been told that the policy limits have been exceeded, or you’re interested in pursuing a wrongful death claim against the driver who caused the accident, we can help with that, too.
To claim your free, no obligation legal consultation, contact us 24/7 at 844-977-1900. Representatives are also standing by via LiveChat, or you can complete this form to be forwarded to the Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys office nearest you. The call is free, the consultation is free, and we charge you no fees until we’ve made a recovery on your behalf.