Nationwide, common causes for car accidents and injuries to occur are driver distraction or negligence; alcohol or drug related driving; defective vehicle parts, poor driving conditions or roads; congestion and higher traffic levels, and speeding. In California, traffic safety experts say a proliferation of unlicensed and uninsured California drivers contribute to a greater number of accidents, particularly hit-and-run accidents.
California hit-and-run violations are considered a felony and convictions can mean a sentence to a state prison or county jail for up to one year and fines up to $10,000 or both. If the hit-and-run car accident causes a death or permanent, serious injury, those convicted face up to four years in a state prison, up to a year in a county jail, up to $10,000 in fines, or imprisonment and a fine. If the hit-and-run causes a car accident resulting in a death, a sentence of vehicular manslaughter punishment is extended for five more years.
California motor vehicle law requires all drivers on California roadways to be insured. Uninsured motorists face arrest and/or a hefty citation; they could also lose their driving privileges and jobs and could even face deportation in some instances—especially if driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Some accident analysts and police speculate that California culture and roads account for more California auto accidents: drivers with high performance cars trying to run a red light are frequent causes of accidents.
California Car Accident Statistics
According to the US Transportation Department, hit-and-run California car accidents in 2001 (the latest year those statistics are available) were more than double the national average of 3.8 percent. In 2007, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported:
California Auto Insurance
- 3,974 traffic fatalities in California
- 2,595 passenger vehicle occupant fatalities in California
- 517 motorcyclist fatalities in California
- 1,464 speeding-related fatalities in California
California's Compulsory Financial Responsibility Law regulates coverage requirements for automobile insurance. All drivers must show their ability to pay for damages or injury to others resulting from the ownership or operation of a motor vehicle.
The statutory minimum limits of liability insurance in California are as follows:
- $15,000 for death or bodily injury of any one person, any one accident;
- $30,000 for all persons in any one accident.
- $5,000 for property damage in any one accident.
Comprehensive coverage (other than collision), uninsured motorist, medical payments and collision insurance are not required by law. All California drivers and owners must have at least the statutory limits of minimum liability insurance or an approved alternative way to pay for injury or property damage they may cause.
California Car Accident Lawsuits
If you are injured in a California auto accident, you can generally bring a claim or lawsuit to recover the following:
- Actual Damages (Expenses associated with property damage and medical costs)
- Economic Damages (Lost wages and earning capacity)
- Emotional and physical pain and suffering.
If you bring a claim or lawsuit against another driver for injuries sustained in an automobile accident, you must prove that the other driver was negligent: it must be proven that the other driver failed to use that degree of care in operating his or her vehicle which would be required of a reasonably prudent driver under similar circumstances.
Anyone involved in a California car accident who has suffered losses, damages, and injuries could be entitled to claim compensation if the accident was not their fault. However, proving fault in California can be difficult and it is advisable to seek advice from a California car accident lawyer if you believe that you have the right to make a claim.