Maybe not “most” accidents, but speed is a factor in about a third of the fatal car wrecks in Georgia. The proportion of speeding-related collisions had been dropping slightly until the 2020 coronavirus lockdowns. When roads emptied, many drivers acquired some bad habits, including excessive speeding. Like many bad habits, this one is easy to form and hard to break. As outlined below, speed impacts the risk of a wreck and the force in a collision.
Also, as outlined below, excessive speed is usually negligence, or a lack of care. If that is the case, a Marietta personal injury attorney can obtain the compensation the victim needs and deserves. Victims need this compensation to pay accident-related expenses, like medical bills and damaged property replacement. They deserve this compensation because their injuries were not their fault, and no one should bear the responsibility for someone else’s mistake.
How Speed Affects Car Crash Injuries
Excessive velocity multiplies the risk of a wreck because speed multiplies vehicle stopping distance.
In only a fraction of a second, especially if the vehicle has advanced anti-lock brakes, an alert driver sees a hazard, like a stopped-short vehicle, moves their foot to the brake pedal, applies the brakes, and safely stops the vehicle.
At 30 mph, this process, which is called stopping distance, takes about six car lengths. At 60 mph, the stopping distance triples to 18 car lengths.
Several factors increase stopping distance. We mentioned one of them above. Things like fatigue, distraction, and drug/alcohol use all decrease driver alertness. Other factors include environmental conditions and vehicle weight.
Furthermore, according to Newton’s Second Law of Motion, speed multiplies the force in a collision between two objects. In practical terms, speed transforms a non-injury “fender bender” into a serious injury collision. On a related note, speed transforms objects in the passenger area, like cell phones, into high-speed missiles, which, in many cases, are aimed directly at a victim’s head.
Head injuries are the most common car wreck injuries, followed closely by broken bones, serious lacerations, and internal injuries like punctured lungs.
Usually, but not always, excessive speed is negligence, or a lack of care. A Marietta personal injury attorney must establish negligence by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not.
If Tim was traveling 5 mph over the limit on a straight road and in a straight line when he hit Lisa, Tim’s excessive speed probably did not substantially cause the wreck. If Tim was traveling 10 mph over the limit, especially if he was changing lanes or negotiating a curve, that’s different.
Rain, ice, and other inclement weather may contribute to wrecks, but the weather almost never causes them. The duty of care requires drivers to slow down and be extra careful in such situations.
Comparative fault may be the most common insurance company defense in car crash claims. Basically, this legal doctrine shifts blame for an accident from the tortfeasor (negligent driver) to the victim. Let’s go back to Tim and Lisa. If Tim was speeding and Lisa was sleepy, the contributory negligence doctrine may apply.
After they hear the evidence, jurors must divide fault on a percentage basis, such as 50-50 or 80-20. Georgia is a modified comparative fault state with a 50 percent threshold. If the victim is no more than 50 percent responsible for the wreck, the tortfeasor is responsible for a proportionate share of damages.