While many auto collisions occur during the daytime in Southern California, you are at a much greater risk of being seriously injured or killed in one during nighttime hours. The danger is even greater when Daylight Savings Time ends because it gets darker earlier and for longer.
If you were hurt in a nighttime crash caused by a negligent driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Learn from a battle-tested San Diego car accident attorney what you need to know about why the accident may have occurred and the important steps you should take to receive the maximum recovery in your settlement.
Leading Causes of Nighttime Auto Wrecks
Many of the same types of car crashes that occur during the daytime, like rear-end and head-on collisions, happen at night—often with more deadly consequences. The underlying cause of these tragic accidents is primarily the failure of motorists to drive safely given the unique challenges and dangers of driving at night.
If a family member or you suffered injuries in a crash at night, you will need to prove that a negligent driver caused it. Here are some of the leading reasons these collisions occur:
- Poor visibility. It can be much harder for drivers to see at night, and this can be an even bigger problem for older drivers. However, motorists should reduce their speed and take other actions, such as being sure that their windshield is clean and headlights are aimed correctly, to drive safely and avoid causing a wreck.
- Rush hour traffic. Car accidents are more likely in rush hour traffic if an impatient driver makes unsafe lane changes, speeds, or tailgates another vehicle.
- Drowsy driving. Many drivers drive when they are fatigued and not as alert. The danger of fatigued driving is greater at night when people have already been up for 10, 12, or more hours. Drowsy driving impairs driving in similar ways as drunk driving.
- Driving under the influence. Intoxication can reduce a driver’s vision, reaction time, judgment, and more—increasing the risk of a drunk or drugged driving crash. Unfortunately, people are much more likely to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or drugs at night.
- Construction. Construction workers now often work on road construction at night. When drivers are not attentive enough to road conditions or fail to slow down in a construction zone, they are much more likely to strike one or more nearby vehicles.
Steps to Take After to Protect Your Rights
The steps you take right after your car crash and in the days after it can have a direct impact on the strength of your claim against the negligent driver and the amount of money you receive in your settlement with their insurance company. Here are six crucial first actions you should take:
- Call 911, and seek medical attention. Get immediate medical care if you know you suffered injuries and within 48 hours if you think you did not suffer injuries or they are minor. They could be much more serious than you think. You also avoid potential disputes with the insurance company by taking this important step.
- Call the police at the accident scene. The police report could contain very helpful information that will help you prove the other motorist’s negligence in causing your crash.
- Obtain contact information. Obtain information from the driver, their insurance company, and any eyewitnesses to the collision.
- Collect evidence. Take pictures of the damage to the vehicles, road conditions, the collision scene, your injuries, and anything else you think could help you win your case.
- Preserve other evidence. Preserve evidence like your torn and bloodied clothes, that could be used if your case goes to a jury trial.
- Seek legal counsel. Retain an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you collect the evidence you need, determine how much your claim is worth, and fight with the insurance company for all the compensation you deserve for your injuries.