Despite the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic including lockdowns, statistics show that in Los Angeles, traffic accident rates did not drop by much. In fact, as we emerge from the pandemic, the numbers have just gotten worse.
Even though the streets were empty due to the pandemic for several months in 2020, data from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation shows that 238 people died in traffic accidents in 2020 compared to 246 in 2019, just a small decrease of 3%. This may come as breaking news to some.
The trend when it comes to traffic accidents in Los Angeles has been an upward trend. Statistics show that in the five-year period between 2016 and 2020, nearly 250 people were killed in car accidents each year on average, which is more than a 30% increase from the previous five years. The numbers show that this increase has been fueled by a surge in pedestrian accident death despite Mayor Eric Garcetti's Vision Zero in 2015, a bold initiative to eliminate all traffic accident deaths by the year 2025.
Table of Contents
- Traffic Accidents in Los Angeles: By the Numbers
- Causes of Traffic Accidents in Los Angeles
- California Car Accident Laws
- Statute of Limitations
- Common Types of Car Accidents
- Average Settlement Amount for a Los Angeles Car Accident Claim
- Can I Afford the Services of a Car Accident Lawyer?
- Getting Help After An Accident
Traffic Accidents in Los Angeles: By the Numbers
The number of casualties was particularly high for pedestrians. In 2021, 486 pedestrians were severely injured in collisions, which reflects a 35% increase over 2020. Pedestrian fatalities increased by 6% to 128.
Los Angeles Department of Transportation data show that crashes involving bicyclists that resulted in severe injuries were increasing even before the pandemic began. Those numbers rose again in 2021, up 24% through Dec. 25, 2021, compared to the same period in 2020. In 2021,18 bicyclists were killed in Los Angeles, which amounts to an increase of 20%.
According to data from the Los Angeles Police Department, through Dec. 25, 2021, 289 people have been killed in traffic accidents in 2021, which is 21% more than the same period in 2020 and 19% over the same period in 2019. LAPD also reports that 1,465 people were severely injured in car accidents, a 30% increase over the same period in 2020. LAPD defines "severe injury" as situations where victims needed to be transported to a hospital for treatment after a car accident.
A recent UCLA study shows that people of color, particularly Black people, are disproportionately injured and killed in Los Angeles car accidents. According to the study that analyzed traffic accident statistics in Los Angeles over a five-year period (2013-2017), Black people are 14% of accident victims even though they are only 9% of the city's population.
The study also showed that one in four people killed in a traffic accident in that period was either a Black or Latino pedestrian. Car accident leg injuries were especially common.
Causes of Traffic Accidents in Los Angeles
According to the Los Angeles Times, Mayor Eric Garcetti has cited drivers getting distracted by cellphones as one of the main causes of car accidents in Los Angeles. According to the LAPD, here are the top five traffic violations that cause car accidents in Los Angeles:
Following too closely:
When vehicles tailgate or follow other vehicles too closely, there is a heightened risk of a major or minor accident crash because drivers may not have the time or space to slow down or stop in time to avoid a collision.
Failing to stop for red lights:
When drivers don't stop for a red light, there is the danger of a horrific street intersection collision. These types of collisions often result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities.
Driving under the influence:
California law prohibits drivers from operating their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. An impaired driver poses a grave danger to other drivers and vehicle occupants as well as pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicycles.
Driving over posted speed limits or driving at a speed that is dangerous for traffic, weather or roadway conditions, is risky and often results in a crash. We have seen significant increases in speeding during the pandemic in Los Angeles.
Unsafe left turns:
California law prohibits drivers from making a left turn when another vehicle is approaching. Drivers making the left turn are required to yield the right of way to oncoming vehicles. Southern California drivers who fail to do so could cause a serious car crash.
California Car Accident Laws
Under California law, liability insurance is required for all individuals who drive an automobile. Here are some of the acceptable types of insurance:
- Motor vehicle liability insurance policy
- Cash deposit of $35,000 with the Department of Motor Vehicles
- DMV-issued self-insurance certificate
- Surety bond for $35,000 from a company that is licensed to do business in California
Bodily injury: There are two minimum coverage requirements: $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident.
Property damage: The minimum amount of coverage required for damage to other people's property is $5,000.
Statute of Limitations
This refers to the time within which a car accident lawsuit must be filed. In California, car accident victims have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit for their damages. There are some exceptions. For example, if you are filing a lawsuit against a governmental entity, a claim must be filed within 180 days of the accident. Failing to adhere to these deadlines may mean that you may not be able to receive compensation for your losses stemming from a car accident.
California is a "no-fault state," which means pure comparative negligence rules apply. This essentially means that a crash victim can file a lawsuit against a driver responsible for causing the accident and collect compensation for the portion of damages attributed to the other driver. So, you can collect compensation even if you are partially responsible for the crash.
Common Types of Car Accidents
Here are some of the most common types of car accidents:
Rear-end collisions: These car accidents occur when the front of a vehicle collides with the rear of another. These types of accidents occur when drivers are impaired, distracted, fatigued or driving at an unsafe rate of speed. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that nearly one-third of all accidents are rear-end collisions.
Head-on collisions: These crashes happen when two vehicles traveling in opposite directions collide head on. These are some of the most devastating collisions, which often lead to catastrophic injuries and fatalities. Common causes of head-on collisions are drunk driving, distracted driving and fatigued vehicle operation.
T-bone accidents: These are common at street intersections when one driver fails to adhere to right of way or other traffic laws such as stopping for a red light or a stop sign.
Sideswipe accidents: These crashes occur when one motorist swipes the side of another vehicle. Sideswipe accidents often occur when negligent drivers make unsafe lane changes, fail to use a turn signal or drive at an unsafe speed.
Rollover collisions: A rollover is when a vehicle flips on to its roof or side. These are crashes where there is the possibility of vehicle occupants being partially or fully ejected. Needless to say, they could result in devastating injuries or fatalities.
An experienced car accident lawyer can help you evaluate the circumstances of your crash and help determine who can be held liable for your injuries, damages and losses.
Average Settlement Amount for a Los Angeles Car Accident Claim
The value or worth of a car accident claim often depends on the nature and extent of your injuries and damages, and the level of negligence on the part of the defendant. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident and had to take time off work and seek medical treatment, your claim could be worth more than someone who suffered a relatively minor injury that did not require medical treatment.
Settlement amounts could run into millions of dollars in cases where the crash resulted in catastrophic injuries that result in permanent disabilities. Those who would like to know how car accident compensation works in California are encouraged to contact a legal professional.
Can I Afford the Services of a Car Accident Lawyer?
If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be worried about how much it might cost you to retain the services of a car accident lawyer. You may also be wondering how to pay attorney's fees when you are already struggling to pay medical expenses and are dealing with loss of income.
It is important to remember that our personal injury attorneys offer free initial consultations and case evaluations. You do not pay any upfront fees or costs when you retain the Vaziri Law Group, APC to represent you.
We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not pay us any fees unless we secure compensation for you. Our fees are a percentage of what we recover for you. This also means that you can get an experienced, knowledgeable and skilled car accident lawyer on your side without worrying about paying to hire an attorney.
On the other hand, there is a lot at stake when you file a car accident claim. Your case could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or even more depending on the nature and severity of your injuries.
Insurance companies have teams of adjusters and attorneys who work to protect their best interest. Retaining the services of a reputed car accident lawyer will help you meet the insurance company on an even playing field because you will now have our expertise and resources working for you.
Getting Help After An Accident
Injured Los Angeles car accident victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering and emotional distress. The experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyers at the Vaziri Law Group, APC can help guide you through what can be a complex legal process and help you secure fair and full compensation for your losses.
Fill out our contact form on this page, or call us at 877-812-1085, to schedule a no-cost consultation and case evaluation.