We all know that accidents happen, but we don’t necessarily know how often they happen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 30.8 million “emergency department” visits a year related to unintentional injuries. Unintentional injuries are also the third-leading cause of death in the United States, with more than 161,000 people dying every year.
But the term “accident” is a broad one that covers several different categories. Some injuries are random and hard to prevent, while others happen because someone else messed up. Let’s take a closer look at some California accidents that might require consulting a lawyer, as well as situations where a lawyer probably won’t be necessary.
Car and motorcycle accidents
Around 40,000 people a year die on America’s roadways. The number of vehicle deaths rose throughout 2014 to 2016 before tapering off a bit in 2017. People tend to spend more time on the road when the economy is doing well and gas is cheap. Unfortunately, driving more makes it more likely that we’ll be involved in some sort of accident. California is the most populated state in the country, which means the Golden State has more than its fair share of accidents.
The accident doesn’t necessarily have to be a major one. We’re all involved in the occasional fender bender while pulling out of our driveway or trying to maneuver our way through a crowded mall parking lot. Cars in general are getting safer, which is good news. In less good news, most light passenger cars on the road were 11.6 years old on average in 2016, according to numbers from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. So while a car that’s two years old should have a backup camera, a car that’s twenty years old definitely won’t.
Older cars are often less safe, but so are lighter vehicles like motorcycles and scooters. In fact, riding a motorcycle is much more dangerous than riding in a typical passenger vehicle. Motorcyclists love the thrill of going out and riding in the open air, especially in states like California where the weather never gets too cold. Unfortunately, motorcyclists are more likely to be maimed or killed than someone who is driving or riding in a standard passenger vehicle.
In general, you’re less likely to walk away from a motorcycle crash. If the California driver who hit your motorcycle failed to yield to you, you might have reason to consult a Sacramento motorcycle accident attorney. Determining liability isn’t always as obvious as it seems on the surface, but an experienced lawyer can go over your case and discuss the range of outcomes.
Slip and fall injuries
The term “slip and fall” can sound a little ridiculous, especially if you’ve watched movies or TV shows where someone falls in a store, sprains their ankle, and then screams, “I’ll sue!” at the top of their lungs. California news reports can also do a bad job of conveying just how serious slip and fall accidents can be.
No one is going home with a six-figure settlement because they sprained their pinkie finger. The legal system has its faults, but that’s not how the system works. In actuality, the CDC says there are almost 35,000 deaths a year that can be attributed to what the governmental agency calls unintentional falls. But an unintentional fall isn’t the same as a slip and fall.
Let’s say you’re climbing out of bed in the morning when you lose your balance for no apparent reason. You fall and bang your head, sustaining a concussion. There’s almost certainly no reason to sue in that case, as you can’t exactly sue gravity.
But let’s say you’re at a California restaurant when an employee spills a drink all over the floor. Rather than putting out a “caution wet floor” sign, they run away to deal with another problem. If you slip and fall on that drink, you may be able to sue the restaurant for being negligent. It’s not a slam dunk, but a personal injury lawyer is a lot more likely to at least hear you out in that situation.