In our fast-paced society, people seem to want to get to their destination a few minutes ahead of schedule. But in doing so, they risk their own lives and the lives of others on the road. Speeding drivers can create dangerous situations for others who share that road, but the law does allow those who've been injured by their carelessness to seek compensation.
Why Is Speeding Dangerous?
Speeding, whether defined as driving over the posted speed limit or driving too fast for adverse weather conditions, is dangerous for the following reasons:
- Speeding slows your reaction time. It sometimes feels like we drive instinctively, but it takes time to process the presence of objects and move your car to avoid a collision. The faster you're going, the slower your reaction time will be. Diminished reaction times are particularly crucial when you're navigating curves or roads with various obstructions. For example, fallen debris in the road is a common cause of rollover accidents involving drivers who were speeding. Reaction times are also crucial in construction zones and school zones, which is why Louisiana increases the fine for speeding in these areas.
- Speeding increases your stopping distance. Even after you've slammed on the brakes, it takes time for your car to stop. Speed limits are created with this fact in mind. A vehicle’s stopping distance is affected by the driver's perception time and reaction time, as well as the vehicle's reaction time and braking capability. Vehicle reaction time and braking capability depend on a number of factors, including brake pad material, tire tread, suspension system quality, and brake alignment. However, as a general guideline, braking distance quadruples when speed doubles. This means a car going 80 miles per hour takes four times as far to stop as one traveling 40 miles per hour.
- Speeding increases your momentum. The faster you're driving, the more likely it is that you'll be involved in a serious accident. Vehicles traveling at high speeds collide with greater impact than those driving below the posted speed limit. This is why an accident in a parking lot or residential side street is unlikely to be as serious as one that occurs on a highway.
It's estimated that speeding kills over 32,000 people per year and has an annual economic cost of $242 billion dollars. Statistics show drivers who are intoxicated are often the culprit in fatal crashes. Additionally, men are significantly more likely to be killed in speeding-related accidents than women, with people ages 25-29 and 85 and up being the most likely to lose their lives due to speeding.
Your Right to Compensation
If you've been injured by a speeding driver, you're eligible for compensation for your past and future medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. If you've lost a loved one due to a speeding driver's negligence, you can seek compensation for medical expenses incurred before death, funeral costs, loss of that person’s income to support your family, and the emotional trauma associated with the loss of companionship.
Drivers who are found to be particularly at fault for an accident are still entitled to compensation, but it will be reduced by their assigned percentage of fault. However, Louisiana law does not consider failure to wear a seatbelt as an indication of fault.
Seeking Help From a Personal Injury Attorney
Seeking the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney is the best way to protect your rights because the laws regarding compensation for auto accident claims can be quite complex. Since personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, there is no up-front expense involved. Your attorney will accept a percentage of the settlement you receive as the fee for his services.
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to helping Louisiana residents receive the compensation they need to move forward with their lives after speed-related vehicle accidents. Complete our online contact form to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.