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Why Personal Injury Accidents Occur: A Brief Overview

Last Updated: Thursday, July 9, 2015

The first reported car fatality occurred in London in 1896. Since then, a reported 25 million people have died in car accidents according to the World Health Organization (WHO). According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the leading cause of death among people between the ages 3 and 33 is traffic accidents.

In order to help protect themselves, it can be very instructive for drivers to understand some leading causes of car accidents and how they can be avoided.

Distracted Drivers

The Director of Traffic Safety at the American Automobile Association stated that research shows somewhere between 25 and 50 percent of all vehicle accidents are caused by driver distraction. In fact, distraction relating to looking at other accidents is also a cause of nearly 20 percent of accidents. In addition to that type of distraction, adjusting the music in the car, reading the newspaper, a map or another document, other passengers and looking at scenery are all frequent causes of driver distraction.

Cell phone use is causing more and more distracted drivers. Many states have enacted anti texting and calling while driving laws. California has both. While Police can ticket drivers for cell phone violations, it is more difficult to catch other kinds of driver distraction. Other forms are also more difficult to punish. It is therefore very important that drivers police themselves to keep the roads safe.


Speeding can be deadly for a few key reasons. First, it shortens the amount of time a driver has to react and avoid an accident. It also makes any accident that does occur more serious. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has reported that, between 40 and 60 miles per hour, the energy released in a crash more than doubles. Drivers should learn that impact increases exponentially with speed and should remember that when driving.

Road Rage

Drivers who engage in aggressive driving make the streets more treacherous for everyone. Behaviors consistent with road rage include: flashing lights at other drivers in irritation, deliberately preventing other drivers from merging or changing lanes, yelling at other drivers, and aggressively tailgating other drivers, using inappropriate hand gestures or physical assaults and failing to change lanes appropriately. If you are feeling aggressive and irritable while driving, you should remain calm, take a deep breath and pull over if you are unable to safely operate your vehicle. If you are in an altercation with another driver and you feel threatened, contact authorities before the situation escalates.

Drunk Driving

According to the NHTSA, an average of one death occurs every half hour as a result of drunken driving. In 2008, an estimated 11,773 people died in drunk driving crashes involving a driver with an illegal blood alcohol level. These deaths constitute 31.6 percent of the 37,261 total traffic fatalities in 2008 according to the NHTSA. Clearly, the only way to prevent this kind of tragic accident is not to get behind the wheel after drinking.


Heavy rain, snowstorms, ice, fog, wind, and hail can all make careful and safe driving more difficult. Depending on the kind of weather conditions that exist, you may have less visibility or less time to stop. Inclement weather could cause many fewer accidents if drivers would simply drive appropriately for conditions or pull over when the weather gets too extreme to safely navigate.

These are just some of the many common causes of traffic accidents. If you have been the victim of an accident caused by a reckless or negligent driver, San Diego personal injury lawyer Allan S. Field can ensure your legal rights are protected.

Premises Liability/Slip-And-Fall Accidents

Premises liability accidents usually occur when a condition exists, either in a private residence or commercial establishment (grocery store, restaurant. hospital, etc.) which causes injury to the person on the property. It may be a liquid on the floor causing you to slip, an electrical cord draped across a pathway, poor lighting which prevents you from seeing a hazard, defective stairs, an uneven surface on a path or walkway, or any number of other hazards. Often, the property owner is liable for causing or failing to correct these injuries

Product Liability Accidents

This refers to any commercial product which, due to some defect in manufacture, design or distribution, has lead to injuries with the individual using the product. A well known recent example would be the problem Toyota Automobiles have been experiencing and the resulting injuries caused to the drivers and occupants of the vehicles

Dog/Animal Bite Accidents

An owner of a dog or other wild or domestic animal has certain responsibilities to ensure the safety of others who the pet encounters.. If, due to the negligent ownership , handling or care of their animal, harm comes to another individual, they may be found legally at fault for those damages and injuries.

Bus, Trolley, Train, Airplane & Common Carrier Accidents

Common carriers, sometimes known as "mass transit" operators owe a high degree of duty to the passengers they serve. If, due to the negligent operation of the vehcile and or lack of concern for the safety and well being of the passengers, injury is caused, they may be held liable for the damages.