According to a report from ABC 10, a woman was killed in a motor vehicle collision on Interstate 5 (I-5) in Stockton. An initial investigation cited excessive speed as a factor in the crash. In this article, our Stockton car accident lawyer explains what we know about this crash and highlights the serious safety risk that speeding poses.
High-Speed Causal Factor in Deadly Stockton Motor Vehicle Crash
A 63-year-old woman from Stockton died after a high-speed crash on northbound I-5 near Country Club Road. She veered across traffic lanes, colliding with a Toyota Tundra and a bridge railing. She was hospitalized but later succumbed to her injuries. The Toyota driver was unharmed in the collision. Law enforcement officers cited speed as a factor in the crash. Though, the fatal accident is still under a more comprehensive investigation by the California Highway Patrol (CHP).
Know the Risk: Speed Makes Accidents More Likely (and More Dangerous)
Speeding is a prevalent factor in many traffic accidents. For reference, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that excess speed is a factor in nearly one-third of fatal collisions in the United States. NHTSA reports that 12,330 were killed in speed-related crashes nationwide in 2021 alone. Hundreds of thousands more people are hurt in speeding crashes.
Why is speeding so dangerous? When drivers exceed the speed limit or drive too fast for conditions, they reduce their reaction time and limit their ability to judge distances and anticipate dangers. The faster a vehicle is moving, the less time a driver has to respond to unexpected situations. Beyond that, the faster a vehicle is traveling, the more likely a collision will cause serious injuries.
Speeding is Negligence: A Speeder May Bear Full or Partial Liability for Crash
Speeding is more than just a violation of the law: It is a form of negligence. In California, as in many states, negligence is defined as failing to act with the level of care that a reasonable person would exercise in similar circumstances. When a driver speeds, they are disregarding this standard of care, placing not only themselves but other road users at risk. A speeding driver’s reckless behavior can lead directly to accidents and they can be held legally responsible for the resulting damages.
California operates under a system of comparative negligence. Even if a victim is partially at fault for an accident, they can still recover damages. However, their compensation will be reduced by the percentage of their fault. For instance, imagine that you were found 25 percent at fault for your own crash in Stockton because you were speeding. As a consequence, you would be legally liable for 25 percent of your own damages.
How Do You Prove the Other Driver Was Speeding
As California is a fault-based motor vehicle accident state, every crash in Stockton should be thoroughly investigated by an experienced attorney. You will need to prove the motorist who caused your crash was speeding—or was otherwise negligent—in order to hold them legally responsible for the collision. Gathering and organizing reliable evidence is essential for a successful claim. Here are some examples of evidence that can be used to prove speeding in California:
- Police Reports: The first step after an accident is usually calling the police. Officers will come to the scene, investigate, and file a report. This report may indicate if they believe speeding was a factor or if the other driver was ticketed for speeding.
- Witness Statements: Eyewitnesses can provide testimony about what they saw or heard before the crash. A witness might recall hearing the sound of an engine revving or seeing a car overtaking others at a high rate of speed.
- Physical Evidence: Certain types of damage or skid marks can suggest speeding. For instance, long skid marks can indicate that a driver was going fast and tried to brake suddenly. Additionally, the severity of the damage to the vehicles can sometimes be indicative of high speeds.
- Accident Reconstruction: There are specialists who can analyze the specifics of the crash, such as the length of skid marks, the angle of collision, and the damage to the vehicles. They can then provide an estimated speed of the vehicles at the time of the collision.
- Traffic and Surveillance Cameras: In many urban areas, traffic cameras are present at intersections. They might capture footage of the accident or the speeding vehicle moments before the crash. Nearby businesses or homes might also have security cameras that recorded relevant footage.
- Vehicle Data: Many modern vehicles are equipped with data recorders, sometimes referred to as “black boxes.” These devices can provide data on the vehicle’s speed, throttle position, brake application, and more in the seconds leading up to a crash. Notably, this is especially true with large trucks or other types of commercial vehicles.
Recovering Compensation in a Speeding Accident in California
In California, victims of speeding accidents have the right to seek compensation for their losses. You may be entitled to recover for both economic losses and intangible damages. Even when liability is clear, insurance companies still fight to settle claims for less. At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockton auto accident lawyers fight tirelessly to help victims and families secure every dollar of financial compensation that they deserve under the law. Along with other types of damages, you may be entitled to recover financial compensation for:
- Property damage, such as vehicle repairs;
- Emergency medical treatment;
- Hospital bills and other medical costs;
- Lost wages and loss of earning power;
- Pain and suffering & mental distress;
- Disability/disfigurement; and
- Wrongful death damages.
Set Up a Free Consultation With a Top Stockton Car Accident Attorney Today
At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockton car accident lawyer fights aggressively for justice. If you or your loved one was hurt in a speed-related collision, please do not hesitate to contact us today for a free case review. From our Stockton law office, we are well-positioned to handle motor vehicle accident claims in San Joaquin County and all around the surrounding area.