Speeding kills. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speed is a factor in 26 percent of vehicle fatalities. That statistic doesn’t include the number of non-fatal injuries, which can be severe and have lifelong consequences for victims. A serious injury can also leave victims with overwhelming medical bills that feel insurmountable. Even with health insurance, a victim can still be left swamped with medical debt due to copays, deductibles, and coinsurance requirements. When an injured person doesn’t have insurance the results can be financially catastrophic.
California law provides hope to those injured by a driver who causes an accident by driving too fast. A victim can generally file a personal injury lawsuit within two years after the accident and recover damages in the form of monetary compensation for any related injuries. But don’t delay in contacting a California high-speed car accident attorney. Known as the statute of limitations, failing to file your case before the two-year deadline can leave you with no legal remedy against the person who hurt you.
Types of High-Speed Car Accident Injuries
Although every road in America has a speed limit, drivers often fail to follow the law. While drivers can drive faster on highways and freeways, speeding happens in towns and cities, too. Busy motorists often fail to obey speed limits in their rush to get from place to place. Most of us feel time pressure, and exceeding the speed limit seems necessary to get us from place to place in our schedule-driven lifestyles, but it’s never a good idea.
Speeding makes it much more difficult to navigate dangers in the road, to adjust to changes in road conditions, to negotiate sharp curves, and, of course, to stop in time to avoid collisions. The results of this type of negligence can be devastating. Although a high-speed car accident can result in virtually any type of injury, some are more common than others. Consider the following injuries:
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
TBIs occur as a result of the brain sustaining a jolt or blow or being deprived of oxygen for a sustained period of time. TBIs range in severity from mild (a concussion) to severe (comas), and everywhere in between. More mild TBI’s can be difficult to diagnose and treat because symptoms may not appear for days or even weeks after the incident. Diagnosing a TBI can require extensive testing and the use of sophisticated procedures, such as an MRI. TBIs can have lasting effects on cognition and a victim’s mental health. TBIs have no “cure” and generally require long-term medication and mental health therapy.
Spinal Cord Injuries
These injuries can be severe and lead to loss of motor function, speech or even total paralysis. Often, spinal cord injuries require victims to make major changes in their lifestyles. They may be unable to engage in activities of daily living, such as cooking, household chores, and even such things as personal hygiene. They also may be required to make modifications to their homes or vehicles.
Neck and Back Injuries
Neck injuries can be caused by whiplash. Whiplash occurs when the neck experiences a forceful back-and-forth motion. Although seat belt use is high in the U.S., and the majority of vehicles have airbags, whiplash is still a common injury. Neck injuries are most often caused by rear-end collisions, and when this type of crash happens at a high speed, the resulting injuries can be severe.
Symptoms can include numbness or tingling in the arms, an inability to fully move one’s neck, dizziness, extreme fatigue, or pain and stiffness in the neck. These symptoms may actually worsen over time. While most symptoms of whiplash improve with therapy, medication, and exercise, they may lead to lifelong complications and chronic pain in some patients.
Neck and back injuries can also involve compressed or herniated disks, which may lead to pain, nerve damage, muscle spasms around the spine, bruising and swelling, and pain that runs down the legs or arms. Serious disc injuries often require the victim to undergo surgery.
When limbs or digits are compressed during a high-speed car accident, the damage can be so severe that the injured body part requires amputation. This, of course, means that the victim must make significant changes in his or her life, and those changes are lifelong. Prosthetic limbs are expensive and sustain wear and tear, often requiring replacement every few years.
If the victim is still growing, then it may be necessary to replace an old prosthetic device even more frequently. Many insurance companies limit how long they will continue paying for new devices, leaving victims in the untenable position of having to pay for devices themselves or make do with a prosthetic device that no longer meets their needs.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney if You Need Help
A car accident is scary and can have lifelong negative results. Take the first step by retaining a competent car accident attorney to help you recover every dollar of damages California law allows. Each case is unique and requires its own legal analysis, but if you were injured in a high-speed car accident, you may recover your medical costs, lost wages (both present and future), vehicle repair costs, pain and suffering, emotional distress and even services that you no longer can perform and must hire someone else to do, among other things.
You should reach out right away, so you don’t miss the statute of limitations and lose your legal opportunity to recover anything.