Accident Victims of Illegal Street Racing Have Rights
Southern California has a well-established culture of illegal street racing. Many consider it the place where drag racing in North America started. Southern California is also a place where illegal street racing often occurs with tragic results. Car accidents from these races often involves driving at excessive speed in unfamiliar places. These illegal races may occur spontaneously, and other times, they are loosely organized. It is considered a very dangerous activity. It has resulted in spectators and drivers experiencing serious physical injuries. The numbers of pedestrians injured from street racing are significant and many times; illegal street racing has caused death.
Street Racing History
The modern-day illegal street racing in southern California began in Michigan during the 1960s. This is when the American auto manufacturers began offering high-powered vehicles that were also designed to perform well at high speeds. Owners of these vehicles wanted to test themselves and their vehicles against one another. A private racing area was usually not available. This is when these drivers began to illegally have such races on public roads. These races have become more common and the vehicles much more powerful.
Street Racing Accident Statistics
The ages of most individuals who participate in illegal street racing are usually males between 15 and 23. Approximately half of illegal street racing takes places on highways, and 50 percent of it takes place on commercial streets. Over 69 percent of illegal speed races take place at night. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of fatal accidents caused by street racing increased over 85 percent during a three year period. The California Office of Traffic Safety (COTS) issues over 790 citations for participation in illegal speed racing each year.
If a person is cited for illegal speed racing they could be arrested and have their vehicle impounded for a period of 30 days. They may also have the insurance on their vehicle canceled by the insurance company. If the insurance is not canceled, the premiums could increase significantly. Should someone be convicted of illegal street racing, as well as aiding or abetting an illegal street race; they could be incarcerated for up to three months. If a street racer loses control of his or her vehicle, and cause major damage or death to another person, they could be sued by numerous people for the damages, injuries, and death.
Street Racing Dangers
Illegal street racing competitions lack the proper safety equipment that is standard for professional racing. This includes such safety features as racing fuel cells as well as roll cages and more. The drivers in these types of competitions may never wear a fire suit. Almost all the drivers do not have any type of training concerning handling high-performance vehicles during a race. Other drivers on the road who are not involved with the race could be at risk for a serious accident. There are also pedestrians injured from street racing. This is because illegal street races can take place on well-traveled public roads not designed for vehicle racing. It can result in traffic signals as well as street signs being torn up, fences and gates on private property being damaged and more.
Vehicles racing will have excessive force during a collision impact. A driver in a street race has a significantly decreased reaction time to avoid pedestrians, objects or other vehicles. It is almost impossible for them to maintain control of a vehicle when driving on a curve. They also have an increased chance of rolling over, as well as skidding off the road, and more.
Types Of Street Racing Injuries
During street racing, a driver can easily lose control of their vehicle. Severe injuries and even death can result. Injuries experienced from California street racing accidents could be anything from burn injuries to traumatic brain injuries as well as internal bleeding, amputations, spinal cord injuries and more. It is possible for an injury to appear minor but result in long-term physical ailments.
Street Racing Deaths
During the period between 2000 and 2017, over 59 people were killed in the city of Los Angeles in car crashes associated with illegal street racing. The cities of Commerce and Long Beach each experienced ten deaths from illegal street racing during this same time period. In the county of Los Angeles, it is estimated that over 178 people died due to illegal street racing. Most of the people who lost their lives in California street racing accidents were young and male. Over fifty percent were under the age of 21. Approximately 47 percent of those who died were the drivers. The rest of the people killed were passengers in the speeding cars as well as spectators and pedestrians.
Who’s At Fault
When innocent bystanders and others are harmed as a result of illegal street racing, liability for the accident must be established. A Los Angeles street racing attorney will know how to assess negligence based on determining the person or persons who failed to behave the same as a reasonable person would under the same set of circumstances.
Duty Of Care
When a person drives a vehicle on any road, they owe a duty of care to their passengers as well as other drivers and pedestrians. There is an expectation of following established laws. These are intended to keep a driver and others around them safe. When an accident victim files a claim, they must show speed racing breached the accident victim’s duty of care. It must be shown the race was illegal, dangerous and more.
Street Racing Damages
A Beverly Hills street racing law firm will know how to maximize the settlement by showing negligence on the part of the driver. This will require showing a driver engaged in illegal street racing and this resulted in injuries and damage.
When a person is the victim of car accidents from racing, they could be entitled to various types of compensation. They could get compensatory damages. This is payment to compensate an accident victim for their physical injuries and property damages. This is easy to calculate as it will cover medical bills, lost wage, property damage and more. These are known as economic damages. An accident victim could also be awarded compensation for the discomfort and pain they experienced as a result of the accident. This could involve short term as well as long-term discomfort. It’s also possible for an accident victim to be compensated for the loss of consortium. This could cover the loss of an individual’s ability to participants in a close and intimate relationship and more. These are not easy to calculate and are considered non-economic damages.
It’s possible that a judge or jury decides to financially punish a defendant by awarding the accident victim punitive damages. A catastrophic street racing attorney knows these damages are usually awarded after compensatory damages have been determined. These damages are often awarded when the defendant’s actions have shown a total disregard for common traffic laws. In the state of California, there is no cap on the amount of punitive damages an accident victim can be awarded. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that punitive damages must be based on a reasonable relationship to the compensatory damage award.
Illegal street racing is dangerous and deadly. The injuries and deaths associated with this activity can be easily avoided. Should someone be the victim of an accident caused by illegal street racing, they should speak with an experienced catastrophic street racing attorney. These legal professionals will know how to gather the important facts of a case and get a victim all the compensation they deserve.
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