There is no question that speeding is dangerous. Saving time on your daily commute is never worth someone else’s life. Yet, so many drivers continue to exceed the speed limit. According to the NHTSA 2013 Traffic Safety Data, there were 32,719 traffic fatalities in 2013, among them 9,613 (29%) were the result of high speed auto accidents. When drivers speed, they place themselves, their passengers and everyone else on the road, in danger.
The Dangers of High Speed Collisions
It should be no surprise that auto accidents, occurring at high speeds, have the potential to cause catastrophic injuries. The force of the impact of a high speed collision is substantially increased, so the damage that results has an increased potential to cause more serious injuries to drivers and passengers. If a speeding car crashes into a pedestrian, motorcyclist or bicyclist, the resulting injuries are that much worse.
Another factor that makes speeding more dangerous is the fact that it is more difficult to maintain control of a vehicle traveling at high speeds. Potholes or sharp curves can cause a speeding vehicle to spin out of control, run off the road, or flip over. It also takes longer for a speeding car to stop, which means a driver who is speeding may not have sufficient time to avoid obstacles or stop at traffic signals.
How is “speeding” defined?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) considers a crash to be speeding-related:
if the driver was charged with a speeding-related offense or if a police officer indicated that racing, driving too fast for conditions, or exceeding the posted speed limit was a contributing factor in the crash.
This is according to its 2013 Traffic Safety Data Report. Speeding is widely considered one of the most common contributing factors to car accidents in the U.S.
Common catastrophic injuries caused by speeding
Catastrophic injuries, in general, result in serious, long-term or permanent injuries and disabilities. These types of injuries usually have a lifelong impact on both the victims and their families. Some of the common types of catastrophic injuries resulting from speed-related auto accidents, include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injuries, including complete or partial paralysis
- Damage to internal organs, including collapsed lungs or punctured organs
- Loss of internal organs
- Permanent disability, either physical or cognitive
These injuries have a substantial impact on the victim, and often lead to the need for long-term, or even lifelong, medical care, extensive medical expenses, lost wages and enjoyment of life, and other significant problems.
Recovering from a speed-related auto accident
If you or a loved one has suffered catastrophic injuries, as the result of a high speed auto accident, there are several ways you may seek compensation for those injuries. First, you can file a claim with the speeding driver’s auto insurance carrier. If your injuries exceed the policy limits, which if very possible in catastrophic injury cases, you may also file a lawsuit to recover the excess damages.
If the at-fault driver did not have auto insurance, you may be able to file a claim against your own insurance policy, as long as you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. If your damages exceed those policy limits as well, you may file a lawsuit against the other driver to recover the difference.
If you have questions regarding high speed auto accidents, catastrophic injuries, or any other personal injury issues, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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