When pursuing an injury claim after a car accident, you need to know the cause of the collision. If you do not know the cause, you will not know who (or what) was at fault, and this means you don’t know whose insurance company is responsible for your losses. In some situations, the cause of an accident will be relatively clear. For example, if you were rear-ended by a speeding driver while you were driving within the limits of the law, it is a safe bet that the other driver’s excessive speed was a major factor in causing the accident. Nevertheless, in many cases, it is not clear what happened, and a thorough investigation is needed to uncover a “hidden” cause for the collision.
Investigating Unknown Causes of Car Crashes
The following are all common causes of car accidents that may not be apparent without an investigation:
1. Distracted driving
Distracted driving is among the leading causes of car accidents in the United States. Each year, distracted drivers cause hundreds of thousands of accidents and thousands of careful drivers and passengers lose their lives as a result of the decisions of others who talk, text, and use social media while behind the wheel. Along with phone use (both handheld and hands-free), common driving distractions include:
- Eating and drinking
- Personal cleanliness
- Reading books, maps, and e-readers
- Configuration and reading of GPS addresses
- Fixing Music Playlist Settings
- Changing the channel on the radio
- Putting in a CD or DVD Player
2. Drowsy driving
The National Traffic and Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 48 percent of all drivers fall asleep while driving between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. However, even when drowsy drivers stay awake, the effects of fatigue can cause driving deficits similar to alcohol consumption. When you are traveling on a long journey, it is best to stop at a rest stop before continuing because this one action could save lives, yours, and others.
3. Alcohol consumption
While we all know the dangers of drinking and driving, many people – far too many – continue to put the lives of others at risk by driving while drinking. Although some drunk drivers will be visibly intoxicated, it takes far less alcohol to damage someone’s driving skills than it does to be outright drunk and acting irrationally.
4. Drug use
Illegal substances, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter drugs can interfere with drivers’ cognitive and manual skills. Drivers who use illegal drugs ignore warning labels and abuse sleeping pills or other medications will often have a significantly higher risk of causing a collision.
5. Vehicle defects
Cars, trucks, and SUVs are extraordinarily complex pieces of machinery, and vehicle defects are far more common than most people would like to believe. Engineering, design, mechanical and electrical problems can cause sudden malfunctions and emergencies, and it will often not be clear what happened until the vehicle is examined after the accident.
Contact a Lawyer
If you are in a collision and you are not sure how to handle it, then you should consider contacting a car accident lawyer so you know your rights and get help in filing a claim to be fairly compensated.