If you were in a car accident, seeking the help of an accident attorney in San Bernardino can help you navigate the situation. Both San Bernardino County and California state have unique characteristics to be aware of when handling a car accident, and a San Bernardino auto accident lawyer can work to protect your rights.
Understanding your case and how to approach San Bernardino accident compensation after a car crash is essential. We’ll review the statistics, steps you should take, and their details below.
San Bernardino Auto Accident Statistics
Starting on the eastern side of the Los Angeles metropolitan region and extending through the Mojave Desert to the Nevada and Arizona borders, San Bernardino County is the largest county in the nation.
Its area of over 20,000 square miles is nearly the size of the entire state of West Virginia. Because of the county's rugged and unforgiving terrain, most of the county’s 2.2 million residents occupy just 2.4% of the total area. The spaces with the highest population density are centered in the 92405 and 92410 zip codes.
San Bernardino County has been growing at a fast pace. It’s emerging as a popular destination among Millennials and Gen Zers, and the county’s population could increase by more than 20% before 2048. This rapid increase in population combined with high commuting rates results in busy roads that make traffic crashes more likely to happen.
Local law enforcement recorded 362 fatalities in San Bernardino County in 2022, including 48 in San Bernardino. This number is down from the 390 fatalities recorded in 2021, representing a significant increase compared to 289 deaths in 2018. Out of the more than 10,000 crashes that involved injuries and fatalities in 2022, 1,800 involved alcohol.
Speeding was a factor in 5,300 accidents, and distracted driving contributed to 660 collisions. Alcohol and speeding, respectively, contributed to 77 and 111 fatalities. Roads are also dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists. In 2022, 93 pedestrians were killed in San Bernardino County, and 18 cyclists died.
Interstate Highway Accident Statistics in California
Major interstates, state highways, and over 2,500 miles of urban, suburban, and rural roads connect this diverse county. Some of these thoroughfares are statistically some of the most dangerous in the nation.
Interstate 15 (I-15) Accident
With 223,000 drivers daily, I-15 is one of the busiest north-south axes running through San Bernardino, Riverside, and San Diego counties. It’s also one of the deadliest.
The Cajon Pass, a stretch that runs through Hesperia, is the most dangerous road in the entire state. Several factors make this spot difficult, including reduced visibility and high winds. Getting fast medical help is also a challenge since the area is isolated.
Interstate 215 (I-215)
I-215 is a north-south highway that runs through the Inland Empire. The stretch that connects Colton to San Bernardino is hazardous, with an average of 2.7 crashes per mile.
Interstate 10 (I-10)
This road is one of the longest highways in the country. Known as Redland Freeway, the stretch that goes through San Bernardino can be dangerous between busy exits and speeding drivers.
Bear Valley Road
Bear Valley Road is a busy east-west road that runs through Apple Valley. In the past, red light cameras acted as a deterrent and helped keep drivers safe, especially when navigating intersections. However, the cameras are no longer used, and fatalities are increasing.
California Route 138
Also known as Pearblossom Highway or Blood Alley, California Route 138 has a reputation for being one of the deadliest roads in California. It’s also a beautiful scenic drive along the San Bernardino Mountains and the Mojave Desert. There have been improvements to create a safer road design, but drivers should still exercise caution.
Consult a San Bernardino Car Accident Attorney for Help With Impaired Driver Cases
Car accident lawyers in San Bernardino County have noted a significant problem with uninsured, underinsured, and impaired drivers. These drivers can cause accidents, leaving innocent victims with crippling bills and injuries.
In May 2023, an accident shook the Hesperia community when a drunk driver speeding down Highway 395 crossed the other lane and hit a car transporting a mother and her two children.
In June 2023, an intoxicated driver on Santa Ana Avenue lost control of his vehicle. He hit and killed another driver in the opposite lane and now faces gross vehicular manslaughter charges.
These news stories show how people who obey traffic laws can still suffer traumatic accidents, lose their lives, or face lifelong consequences. There are thousands of other accidents each year with varying levels of damage and injuries to people who have done nothing wrong.
An accident attorney in San Bernardino can help if you are in an auto accident. However, you can still do several tasks at the scene to protect your rights and prevent further injury.
What To Do if You Get Into a Car Accident in San Bernardino
A car crash is a traumatic experience. Most drivers experience confusion and find themselves in a state of shock. These steps will ensure you stay safe, gather the necessary information, and follow all the rules for car accidents in San Bernardino.
Call 911 or Report the Accident
Your first responsibility is to check others for injuries and contact 911 if anyone needs medical help. Your second duty is to get the vehicles out of the way and turn the engines off.
If there are no injuries, you should still contact law enforcement to have an officer come to the accident scene and fill out a police report. You can use the San Bernardino County Police Department’s non-emergency line (909-383-5311) or contact a municipal law enforcement agency.
You’ll also have to report the crash to the DMV by filling out an SR-1 report within ten days if there was an injury or property damage over $1,000. Failing to stop after an accident or not calling 911 if someone sustained a severe injury are criminal offenses.
Move to a Safe Location
If you can, move away from the immediate accident scene to a safer location to keep traffic flowing and prevent further accidents. However, this doesn't mean you should place yourself in harm's way to move a vehicle. Remember that the car is already damaged. You want to keep yourself safe at all costs.
Do Not Admit Fault
You may want to apologize to other people involved in an accident. Your statement can be interpreted as an admission of guilt, robbing you of your rights. Legally, you don't have to admit fault, but it doesn't mean you can refuse to cooperate.
California is an at-fault state, which means admitting fault can make it difficult to obtain compensation later on if an investigation finds that you didn’t cause the crash or share responsibility with another driver.
If you're worried you may be at fault, an auto accident attorney in San Bernardino County can help you determine your options and how to proceed.
Seek Medical Attention
You may have suffered an injury and not feel any discomfort due to the adrenaline of the event. It’s common not to feel pain until days later, so it's best to see a doctor immediately after the accident. They can ensure you get the medical treatment you need to heal, even if you don't think anything is wrong.
In the long term, if you suffer injuries and declare that you're okay at the scene, insurance may try to use that as a reason not to cover the cost of treatment, especially if the accident report mentions your self-declared physical condition.
Taking photos of the accident scene and its minor details gives concrete evidence of what happened. Images cannot be tainted by fading memories or uncertainty, and your attorney can use these photos to help your case with insurance companies and in court.
Get Witness Statements
People who saw what happened can help your case. Getting statements from witnesses gives you different perspectives on the event. These witnesses can corroborate your story about the accident, providing your San Bernardino, CA, motor vehicle accident lawyer with more data to defend your rights.
Exchange information with the other drivers and passengers. Get their name, phone number, and policy number. Make sure they have a driver's license as well. If you have the correct contact information, your accident attorney in San Bernardino can contact the other driver's insurance company quickly.
Cooperate With Law Enforcement
As mentioned above, you shouldn't admit fault, not even to law enforcement. Refrain from offering your ideas about what happened during the accident. You can answer straightforward questions about the accident and the conditions leading up to it. You can also give them your personal contact information. Try to avoid anything beyond these actions to help preserve your case.
An Auto Accident Attorney in San Bernardino Works for You
Insurance and the legal system are complicated. Fortunately, a San Bernardino auto accident lawyer can give you peace of mind. Car accident lawyers in San Bernardino County deal with the California legal system daily. They are ready to help you.
Many people worry about the cost of an auto attorney and may hesitate to seek counsel.
Accidents are confusing; if you've been in one, you've been through enough. However, an informed and prepared driver is a protected driver. Get started today by visiting Accident.com for help finding a San Bernardino car accident lawyer. The website connects you with a local accident attorney in San Bernardino who will contact you for a complimentary consultation about your options and rights. Based on your unique situation, they'll advise you of the case’s worth and the best course of action.