Injury Compensation for Street Racing Accidents in California
Street racing has become a big issue in California. Fueled by films such as the Fast & Furious franchise, incentives for social media infamy, and increased access to sophisticated cars, the prevalence of drag racing has significantly spiked. Street racers take over freeways and run red lights, increasing the cases of catastrophic and fatal accidents.
According to the Los Angeles Daily News, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that calls related to illegal street racing crashes increased from 860 in 2020 to 1,380 in 2021 – a 60% increase. As of 1 October 2022, drag-racing-related calls had already reached 838.
If you or your loved one has been injured or killed in a street racing accident, you have the right to file a lawsuit and recover your damages. You can partner with the accident attorneys at LA Century Law for legal help. We are experienced in complex car crash injury cases and will leverage our legal knowledge to help you obtain fair compensation for a street racing collision.
Injuries Related to Street Racing Accidents
Because racers drive at illegal speeds, they can’t stop in time to prevent accidents, causing catastrophic crashes with other vehicles.
Some of the common injuries that victims suffer in street racing accidents include:
- Traumatic head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Nerve damage
- Head and neck injuries
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Criminal Liability in Street Racing Crashes
Laws against street racing in California impose serious legal consequences on racers because they act with no regard for the safety of other law-abiding drivers on the roadways. Innocent motorists find themselves caught up in the middle of street races.
Sometimes a street racing accident can involve multiple injuries and fatalities. If a California Highway Patrol (CHP) charges the street racer with manslaughter, the defendant has criminal liability in the incident.
The criminal prosecution of a racer who engaged in reckless conduct only works to offer the families of the injured and fatality victims a sense of justice. A court ruling will impose a sentence that may include a jail term, fines, probation, or other forms of punishment.
Determining Liability in Street Racing Accidents
Claimants filing a street racing accident lawsuit are required to establish that the race was a substantial factor that contributed to the injury. Resulting accidents demonstrate the racers’ breach of duty of care because the law requires any driver to operate their vehicle appropriately and safely to ensure the well-being of other road users.
Following a drag racing crash, an investigation will determine which street racer(s) was grossly negligent or reckless in causing the accident. In some racing accidents, more than one driver will be liable for the victim’s injuries and/or death.
Can I Receive Injury Compensation for a Street Racing Accident?
While the state of California will file criminal charges against a reckless street racer, you can still obtain the full settlement for your losses by filing a civil lawsuit according to California’s statute of limitations.
That allows you to receive a compensatory amount for losses due to property damages and bodily injuries, including:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses
- Past and future income losses
- Pain and suffering
- Vehicle repairs/replacement
- Transportation costs to and from the doctor’s office
If your loved one died in a street racing car crash, you can pursue compensation by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. That entitles you to recover both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic (special) damages
Economic damages refer to the quantifiable losses suffered due to a loved one’s death and can be calculated in monetary terms. They include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses
- Loss of household support
- Loss of gifts or benefits
- Loss of financial support
Non-economic (general) damages
Unlike economic damages, general damages are the intangible you suffer due to the wrongful death of a loved one. They aren’t as easy to quantify as special damages since they relate to the psychological and social impact that the victim’s death caused you. They include:
- Loss of love and companionship
- Loss of moral support
- Loss of marital relationship with a spouse
- Loss of training and guidance
- Emotional distress of witnessing the incident that took your loved one’s life
A civil court awards punitive damages to punish specific egregious conduct and discourage such gross recklessness in the future. These damages can exceed all the other forms of compensation included in a civil lawsuit.
Street racing is one of those accidents that warrant punitive action because the racers knew their actions could cause catastrophic or fatal accidents. Other actions that may compel the court to award punitive damages include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs
- Engaging in a series of unsafe driving practices, such as speeding, tailgating, running red lights, passing on the shoulder of the road, etc.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
If you’re injured, or your loved one has died in a street racing accident, it’s critical to partner with an experienced street racing attorney. Lawsuits involving such incidents are complex and usually involve different parties and areas of law. A professional car accident injury lawyer can:
- Review your case
- Conduct an in-depth investigation to determine the racers’ civil liability
- Represent you during court proceedings, if necessary
Partner with LA Century Law and Get Personalized Legal Help for Your Street Racing Accident Lawsuit
LA Century Law is a trusted accident law firm dedicated to helping injured victims in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Tarzana, and the surrounding areas. We have a team of award-winning accident lawyers who’ve successfully litigated numerous accident and wrongful death lawsuits. We will use every resource at our disposal to pursue maximum compensation for your losses. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our car accident lawyers.
FAQs About Street Racing Accidents
Who pays for my medical bills after a car accident?
The at-fault driver’s insurance company is responsible for paying for your medical bills following an accident, although it can only pay after the settlement of your case. Meanwhile, you can pay the medical bills using your private medical insurance, government insurance programs (Medicare or Medicaid), employee benefits, or through a doctor’s lien. Therefore, it’s critical to safely store the medical bills and reports to make it easy for your lawyer to establish your economic damages.
Where do illegal street races take place in California?
There are spontaneous street races, usually between two drivers speeding against each other at a stoplight or stretch of highway, and organized street races, where sections of the road are taken over and usually involve dozens, if not hundreds, of individuals.