People speed for many reasons. They may be running late or feel stressed and hurried. Some are aggravated by slow traffic, zooming ahead to the next gridlocked intersection. Sometimes, folks simply fail to notice a speed limit change, keeping at their country road pace as they cruise through a neighborhood.
Ultimately, though, speeding is an aggressive driving behavior, one that kills thousands of people each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 9,478 people were killed in speed-related crashes in 2019. It affects the driver, his or her passengers, other people on the road, pedestrians, cyclists, first responders and road workers.
So why is speeding so dangerous, and does speed have any bearing on a personal injury lawsuit?
The dangers of speeding
Speeding is particularly dangerous because it both increases the likelihood of an accident occurring and makes the resulting accident more serious.
Speeding often causes drivers to lose control of their vehicle. A slick patch of road or a tight turn can be all it takes to lose a handle on the car, careening into traffic or swerving off the road. At high speeds, rollover crashes are also possible.
Even if the driver doesn’t lose control, speed automatically increases stop time and distance. If a leading car brakes suddenly, the speeding driver in the rear won’t have time to stop or even slow down significantly.
In a high-speed crash, protection equipment like seatbelts and airbags work less effectively. Injuries are also usually more severe as the body goes through intense trauma during impact. Spinal injuries and head injuries may occur, along with whiplash and fractures. Organs can be bruised or even rupture, leading to internal bleeding or death.
Does speeding factor into personal injury cases?
Because speed so often factors into car crashes, it’s an important aspect of many personal injury cases.
After a crash, investigators will work to determine the speeds of the vehicles involved. Sometimes, a personal injury attorney will also call in a specialist in a particularly complex case to reconstruct what happened. This specialist may measure skid marks and examine the damage. Drag factor, braking efficiency and the road grade will also all be taken into account. Witnesses may observe speeding, or cameras may record it.
Because Georgia is a comparative negligence state, speed becomes even more critical in a suit. With comparative negligence, more than one party can be held responsible for a crash. You may have misjudged a left turn, for example, entering the intersection when it wasn’t clear. But if you were struck because the other driver was doing 45 mph in a 25 mph zone, the speeding driver might still be considered largely at fault, reducing your damages by only a fraction.
Conversely, if you were speeding and were struck by a driver running a red light, the other driver could still be held largely responsible. This gives more options for recovery to drivers in Georgia, as opposed to drivers in contributory negligence states like neighboring North Carolina, where you’ll have a hard time securing damages if you’re even the smallest bit responsible for the crash.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney at The King Firm
If you’ve been struck by a speeding driver, we can help you get the compensation you deserve. At The King Firm, our team has the experience and knowledge necessary to pursue the best possible results for your case. Contact us today at 229-515-8585 for a free case consultation.