The Most Common Types of Car Accidents (and What to Do in One)

rear-end-collision-confrontation Rear-End Collisions Likely the single most common type of accident, rear-end collisions are an all-too-familiar side effect of rush-hour traffic. Usually caused when one vehicle fails to brake or slides forward due to poor road conditions, a rear-end crash damage can be as minimal as a dented fender or as serious as a fatality. When not the result of poor tire traction, rear-end crashes are often caused by distracted driving, sudden stops, tailgating or a combination of factors. In some crashes, the question of who is at fault can be especially difficult to answer. In these cases, it’s important for the drivers involved to get a police report and enlist the help of an experienced auto accident lawyer. Rear End Collision “T-Bone” Collisions A “T-Bone” collision—also known as a broad impact collision or right-angle collision—is a type of side-impact collision in which one vehicle hits the side of another vehicle at a roughly perpendicular angle (creating a “T” shape, hence the nickname). Because the impact occurs in the side of the car, there is not much material between the impacting vehicle and the individual(s) inside. If the vehicle strikes an area where the driver or a passenger is sitting, a “T-bone” collision can have long-lasting and even fatal consequences. “Side-swipe” Collisions Another common type of side-impact collision is what some refer to as a “side-swipe” or “glancing blow” in which the arrangement of the vehicles involved is more parallel than perpendicular. As a result, the sides of both cars can sustain major damage, and the drivers may even lose control of their vehicles. A side-swipe accident can often also be classified as a lane departure accident, as merging into another lane without looking is a common cause of side-swipes. side-swiped-collision Collisions with Animals Most common at night, collisions involving animals crossing or standing in the road happen on an unfortunately regular basis. Often involving creatures like deer, many such animal-related crashes tend to occur when the animal appears suddenly on the road as it attempts to cross the stream of traffic. Because the reaction time of the driver is very limited in these situations, the resulting crash can be disastrous for all involved (not to mention the vehicle). car-collision-with-animals One thing to be aware of when you’ve hit a deer is that you may not want to skip a police report. Because these kinds of collisions occur somewhat regularly, there is a chance you might hit a deer again and need to prove to your insurance company that you’re not making any fraudulent claims (and if you find yourself fighting with them, it’s time to contact a car accident lawyer). Other animals commonly involved in collisions include birds, raccoons, dogs and cats, all of which pose their own unique problems. In the case of domestic dogs and cats, an animal collision can be an emotional battle when dealing with both insurance companies and grieving pet owners. Lane Departure Crashes Whether it occurs due to a vehicle malfunction, an intoxicated driver or a medical emergency, a lane departure crash can be particularly dangerous. “Lane departure” is just what it sounds like—an incident in which a vehicle leaves its lane of traffic. This could include a person drifting from one lane into another or drifting to the outside and leaving the road entirely. In the case of two-way roads on which traffic travels in both directions, a lane departure can very quickly turn into a head-on collision. Head-On Collisions One of the most deadly types of crashes, a head-on collision can be terrifying for the drivers, the drivers’ friends and family and even the first responders on the scene. Head-on crashes are often caused when a person unknowingly drives on the wrong side of the road due to intoxication, distraction or a medical emergency, and can be especially lethal when they occur at highway speeds. Collisions with Pedestrians or Cyclists This type of crash is different than the others due to the involvement of especially vulnerable human beings. Obviously, pedestrians and cyclists aren’t as well protected from the impact of a car crash as the driver of another vehicle. For this reason, it’s likely that the person who’s been hit will hire a personal injury lawyer to help him or her cover any resulting medical bills that aren’t covered by insurance. If you find yourself in the role of the driver in a pedestrian or cyclist crash, you should consider hiring your own accident lawyer to represent you, regardless of who was at fault. car-collision-with-cyclist Single-Vehicle Collisions A single-vehicle collision is one in which the crash does not involve any other vehicles. When a car is traveling significantly beyond the posted speed limit, especially in rough road conditions, it’s possible for the driver to quickly lose control and for the vehicle to spin out, collide with a barrier or roll over. Because there is only one driver involved, the legal consequences of a single-vehicle crash differ somewhat from other types. If the driver loses control of the vehicle and hits a piece of property, for example, he or she may be asked to pay damages to the owner of that property. If nothing but the vehicle is damaged, the policyholder for the vehicle may find themselves battling with his or her insurance company regarding coverage. If the driver is injured in a crash caused by a vehicle malfunction, he or she may hire an injury lawyer to assist with the coverage of medical bills. How to Avoid Car Accidents Although a car crash isn’t something a person expects to happen, you can prepare yourself for the possibility of a crash. The following are a few tips you can employ while on the road to avoid an accident altogether:
  • Avoid driving when you’re extremely tired or otherwise distracted. Even if you’re completely sober, you shouldn’t get behind the wheel unless you are fully aware and capable of reacting to your surroundings at a fairly normal speed.
  • Make sure all side- and rear-view mirrors are properly adjusted and cleaned. It’s vitally important to have a clear view of the road and vehicles around you on all sides so that you can change lanes safely and be aware of other cars’ movements.
  • Keep your vehicle in good working condition (brakes, tires, alignment, etc.) so that you have optimal control of it on the road and can stop or maneuver as necessary.
  • Obey all traffic laws. Signal all turns and lane changes, avoid excessive speed, check over your shoulder when merging, etc. By staying within the law, you’ll ensure that even if you are involved in an accident, it won’t be due to your negligence.
And, though this should go without saying:
  • Don’t drive drunk or impaired by other substances. This greatly reduces your reaction time and ability to control your vehicle, and is, of course, highly illegal. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can have fatal consequences for you and other drivers.
car-accident-phone-call The Importance of a Car Accident Attorney If you do find yourself involved in a serious accident, hiring an experienced lawyer can make all the difference. Regardless of who may be at fault for your accident, it’s important that you have expert advice at hand for the legal and insurance dealings to follow—especially if you’ve been injured. An experienced lawyer will be well-versed in traffic law and can save you the time and stress of having to deal with police reports, insurance companies and court proceedings on your own. Before you make any legal decisions regarding your traffic accident, reach out to an attorney to discuss the details of your case and learn what expert legal counsel can do for you. If you or someone you know has been involved in a personal injury accident, contact us at (800) 722-9744 now to speak to an experienced injury attorney for free.

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