Importance of Defensive Driving

Los Angeles Lawyers Assisting Car Accident Victims

Defensive driving involves anticipating dangerous situations and adjusting your behavior to compensate. The importance of defensive driving cannot be overstated in Southern California. As a driver, you should be able to foresee potential road hazards, such as construction work, stopped traffic, sudden swerves by other drivers, distracted drivers, and blind spots near other drivers. Failing to drive defensively can contribute to an accident. At Sharifi Firm, PLC, our Los Angeles car accident attorneys may be able to help if you have been seriously injured in an accident.

Understanding the Importance of Defensive Driving

A major contributor to accidents in California and elsewhere is an inability to detect the magnitude of risk in a particular situation and an inability to recognize a dangerous situation. All drivers should use safe passing maneuvers, check their blind spots, be aware of pedestrians, maintain and repair their vehicles, use good turning techniques, and avoid distractions, such as using the cell phone or adjusting music while they drive. Drivers should not drive drunk because it reduces the ability to apprehend risks. Even talking can inhibit a person's ability to drive properly.

While you cannot control what other people on the road are going to do, the one thing that you can do is protect yourself by being aware of possible issues and taking action to avoid accidents before they occur. In high-traffic areas, road rage and aggressive driving are especially common. Aggressive drivers have a tendency to overreact on the road and push forward without regard to the risks posed to themselves and others. A defensive driver takes the opposite approach, looking out for the possibility of things going wrong.

Even when you drive defensively, you can still get injured in an accident based on another driver's actions. You may be able to recover compensation for your injuries if you can establish that another driver owed you a duty to drive with reasonable care, breached this duty, and caused your injuries. All drivers in California owe a duty to others on the road to use reasonable care. Often, insurers for an at-fault party will investigate your actions to try to find some way to show that you were comparatively negligent.

Comparative negligence is a doctrine that says that a plaintiff's damages can be reduced by their percentage of fault for an accident. The jury will review all of the evidence and arguments presented and determine whether you failed to use reasonable care while driving.

As long as you were driving defensively, you should be able to avoid an attribution of fault by the jury. If the jury decides that you were partially to blame, it will assign a percentage of fault and reduce your damages by that amount. For example, if your total damages in an accident are $200,000, but you were 25% at fault because you were not paying close enough attention, while the other driver was 75% at fault, you can still recover $150,000 from the at-fault driver.

Sometimes more than one person is to blame for an accident. When multiple drivers fail to drive defensively, the consequences can be harmful to everyone on the road. The old rule in California was one of joint and several liability: that each party could be responsible for all of the damages, even if they were only a little bit at fault. Today, the jury will assign percentages of fault to each of the people alleged to be at fault. The liability of each defendant for noneconomic damages is only for the amount that is allocated to that defendant in proportion to their degree of fault. Defendants can still be held jointly and severally liable for economic damages.

Retain a Car Accident Attorney in the Los Angeles Region

The importance of defensive driving is that it can dramatically reduce the risk or severity of an accident. At Sharifi Firm, PLC, our experienced Los Angeles attorneys may be able to help you recover compensation from the parties responsible for your injuries. Contact us online or at 1-866-422-7222 for a free consultation with a motor vehicle collision lawyer. We also represent victims in cities such as San Bernardino, Temecula, Rancho Cucamonga, Glendale, Covina, and Riverside.

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