Traffic Safety in the Age of COVID-19: Car Accident Fatalities Increase Despite Lockdowns

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Traffic Safety in the Age of COVID-19: Car Accident Fatalities Increase Despite Lockdowns

Traffic Safety in the Age of COVID-19: Car Accident Fatalities Increase Despite Lockdowns

Sep 2, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant changes in daily life for everyone in Los Angeles and throughout California including unprecedented shutdowns and quarantines. The pandemic has also been a great disrupter of statistics and trends, especially related to driving, commuting, and traveling. For many of us, how we get to work or school and whether or not we choose to travel for business or leisure have all been impacted by COVID-19.

At the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, California’s accompanying stay-at-home orders significantly affected driver behaviors. If you were driving to get groceries or to your essential job in the last week of March/first week of April 2020, you may remember being the only one on the road, or at least significantly lighter traffic. In Los Angeles, there were about half as many traffic collisions from March 15-21st than were typically reported in recent years. However, a closer look revealed a jump in speed-related crashes and a higher fatality rate per mile traveled. The National Safety Council (NSC) has closely monitored traffic accident trends during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of their findings include:

  • In May the NSC reported that when the quarantine started, as Americans began driving less and covering fewer miles, the emptier roads became more lethal.” At the height of the quarantine, many people stayed off the road while others drove recklessly at record speeds. Early data indicated a year-over-year 14% jump in fatality rates per miles driven in March 2020, in spite of an 8% drop in the total number of roadway deaths compared to March 2019. In other words, although fewer cars were on the road, the risk of being involved in a fatal crash was actually higher.
  • A follow-up NSC report in July stated that, “May data from all 50 states indicates that, for the third month in a row, road users in the U.S. were at a higher risk of dying from a motor vehicle crash.”

By August 2020, both the number of cars on the road and traffic accidents had largely returned to pre-pandemic levels. As people began returning to work in Southern California, many who previously took public transportation chose to take their own vehicles or an Uber/Lyft, as solo travel offered greater social distancing.

Insurance Companies Continuing to Profit During the Pandemic

While many Americans have suffered financially during the pandemic, insurance companies have actually fared quite well, even after California Insurance Commissioner, Ricardo Lara, ordered auto insurers to return premiums to consumers. Allstate reported a net income of $1.2 billion for Q2 2020, an increase of 49% compared to Q1. Progressive also reported a strong Q2, with a net income of $2.3 billion, up 83%. These earnings reports tell us that insurance companies are thriving, and have no excuse to not pay out fair compensation for car accidents.

Los Angeles Traffic Accident Lawyers Handling Personal Injury Claims During COVID-19

Dordulian Law Group (DLG) is one of Southern California’s most reputable personal injury law firms. During the COVID-19 pandemic, all legal services are available via phone, video, or email. We handle all types of traffic accident, personal injury, and wrongful death claims including:

DLG’s attorneys have a proven track record of extensive courtroom experience and are not afraid to take on big corporations and big insurance companies. Our trial success rate is over 98%, with more than $100 million recovered in verdicts and settlements for our clients (see our case results). We are successful because we hire the best investigators, reconstructionists, and experts to demonstrate how injuries will affect a person’s life going forward. We have a reputation among our peers and within our industry of out-preparing our opposing counsel. When an insurance company sees a demand or claim is from DLG, they know we are serious about a case.

We invite all prospective clients to view our client testimonials section for sense of what to expect when working with our firm.

How COVID-19 May Impact Your Los Angeles Personal Injury Claim

Even though people are spending less time on the road, traffic accidents are still happening. And if you are involved in a collision during COVID-19, it is essential that you take steps to protect your legal rights.

  • Get Medical Treatment: Following a serious injury, prompt treatment almost always means a better outcome. Do NOT avoid going to the hospital, as this will hurt your personal injury claim. Do not skip or reschedule appointments, as this may trigger questions from the insurance company about the seriousness of your injuries.
  • Prepare For Court System Delays: Many car accident claims are settled outside of court, so a trial may not be necessary. However, if a trial is scheduled, delays due to the backlogged court system may push back the date on which it actually occurs. In August 2020, Los Angeles County Superior Court civil jury trials were delayed until January 2021, and civil non-jury trials were delayed until at least November 16, 2020. Delays have been authorized for many legal proceedings, and the period from August 10, 2020 to September 8, 2020 (inclusive) may be deemed a holiday for purposes of computing the time for filing papers with the Court.
  • Expect Aggressive Insurance Company Tactics: Insurance companies will use any opportunity or tactic to pay out as little as possible for a personal injury claim. If you are already under financial strain due to the COVID-19 pandemic (and you tell your insurance adjuster about this), they may try to offer you a quick settlement (essentially an amount just high enough that they think you will likely accept). If you are seriously injured, you must remember that a car accident settlement is for your injuries, not paying your bills during a pandemic. You should not accept a quick settlement due to dire financial need when you are in fact entitled to far more for medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.

DLG is always available to review a personal injury insurance company settlement offer. We always recommend calling us as soon as possible following an accident via 800-880-7777.

News Articles about Traffic Accidents and COVID-19

We closely follow all local media outlets covering the latest news in Southern California, including car accidents and law enforcement reports in the time of COVID-19. Below are some articles from the Los Angeles Times about Los Angeles traffic accidents this year:

In Mid-march, when lockdowns took effect across the country, most people stayed home. But others took advantage of empty roads. A new coast-to-coast speed record was set for three men who drove from New York to Los Angeles, a distance of 2,814 miles, in 26 hours and 38 minutes. That record meant they were traveling at an average of more than 100 MPH.

August 2020 Southern California Car Accidents

In the last few months, Southern California traffic has mostly returned to pre-pandemic levels. According to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the three worst areas for gridlock are:

  • The eastbound 10 Freeway at Los Angeles Street
  • The northbound 5 Freeway at Pasadena Avenue
  • The southbound 405 Freeway at Howard Hughes Parkway

The roads are no longer empty, and accidents are unfortunately occurring daily in Southern California. Below are some of the more significant accidents from August 2020 that have made recent news headlines in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Orange Counties:

  • August 6, 2020: One person was killed, and another person was injured in a crash on West Vanowen Street, just outside the Van Nuys Airport (Source: CBS LA)
  • August 7, 2020: A 77-year-old man was killed when he was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of 17th Street and Irvine Avenue. (Source: LA Times)
  • August 7, 2020: A 22-year-old Long Beach woman was struck by a car on Anaheim Street west of Oregon Avenue. She died of her injuries a week later. (Source: CBS LA)
  • August 8, 2020: One person died in a fatal rollover crash at West Avenue E and 30th Street West in Lancaster. (Source:
  • August 8, 2020: Two people died in a head-on collision on Ramona Expressway west of Warren Road, near San Jacinto. (Source: Press-Enterprise)
  • August 11, 2020: A 35-weeks pregnant woman was struck by a car and killed by a suspected DUI driver while walking on a sidewalk in Anaheim. (Source: LA Times)
  • August 12, 2020: Two adults and five children were injured in a crash on the 110 Freeway near the 10 Freeway in Downtown Los Angeles. (Source: CBS LA).
  • August 9, 2020: A Metro bus fatally struck a 26-year-old in East Los Angeles, and then continued on its route. The bus was pulled over by LA County sheriff’s deputies in South El Monte, who determined it had been involved in the accident. (Source: LA Times)
  • August 14, 2020: A 70-year-old Anaheim man and a 61-year-old Los Alamitos man were killed near Lincoln Avenue and Aladdin Drive in Anaheim. (Source: OC Register)
  • August 19, 2020: A teen driver was suspected of driving under the influence after colliding with a commuter bus in East Los Angeles. Fourteen bus passengers were taken to the hospital, with three people reportedly being listed in critical condition. (Source: LA Times)
  • August 16, 2020: A pedestrian was struck and killed at the intersection of Tao Road and Highway 18. (Source: VVNG)
  • August 23, 2020: A motorcyclist died after being rear-ended on the 60 Freeway in Riverside. The driver that rear-ended the motorcycle was arrested on suspicion of DUI. (Source: Press-Enterprise)
  • August 25, 2020: One person died, another was injured after a vehicle tumbled 100 feet off the road near Stunt Road and Schueren Road. (Source: CBS LA)
  • August 26, 2020: A Desert Hot Springs man was injured after he was hit by a car at Hacienda Avenue and Palm Drive. (Source: Desert Sun)

When Should You Contact a Lawyer Following an Accident?

It is never too soon to contact a lawyer about a personal injury case. Once you hire an experienced DLG personal injury attorney, we can handle communications with your insurance company and medical providers. If you wait too long to contact a lawyer, it is possible that the value of your case may be reduced, or even ineligible to file. Every case is subject to a statute of limitations, or time limit, in which a person has to file a civil claim (typically two years for personal injury accidents). The sooner you contact a DLG lawyer, the sooner we can contact witnesses, preserve evidence, and negotiate the maximum compensation you are entitled to receive. Damages may include compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.

Never a Fee Unless We Win

At DLG, we handle all cases on a contingency basis, or “no win, no fee” agreement. For the plaintiff (injured victim), this means that you do not have to pay if we do not win your case. Our lawyers are paid a percentage of any settlement or verdict. This means that if we accept your case, we believe we can win it. Additionally, if we accept your case, we are willing to invest our energy and resources into recovering you the maximum compensation available. With DLG on your side, you can focus on your recovery and healing.

Schedule a Free Consultation For your Car Accident Case Today

It costs nothing to speak to one of our experienced attorneys about your case. All consultations are confidential, with no obligation. A DLG lawyer will review the facts of your accident, answer your questions, and explain your legal rights and options. If you would like a free consultation for your car accident or personal injury case, call us at 800-880-7777 or request a case evaluation online.

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