Common Types of Car Accidents

June 24, 2024

Car accidents involve millions of people in collisions every year. After an accident, you may not know what to do next.

Understanding the different types of car accidents and their potential consequences can help you navigate this challenging situation more effectively.

Continue reading below to learn about some common types of car accidents, their causes, the steps you should take if you find yourself in one, and how a car accident attorney can help you.

By arming yourself with knowledge and understanding your options, you can begin to move forward with confidence and peace of mind.

1. Rear-End Collisions

rear-end car collisionRear-end collisions are one of the most common types of car accidents. They occur when one vehicle crashes into the back of another.

These accidents often happen due to:

  • Distracted driving, such as texting and adjusting the radio
  • Following too closely, also known as tailgating
  • Sudden stops or decreased speed of the leading vehicle
  • Poor weather or road conditions
  • Mechanical issues

Injuries from rear-end collisions can range from mild to severe, depending on the speed of the vehicles involved and whether the occupants were wearing seatbelts.

Common injuries include:

Determining fault in a rear-end collision typically falls on the driver of the rear vehicle, as they are usually responsible for maintaining a safe following distance and paying attention to the road.

However, the leading vehicle bears some responsibility, such as if it suddenly reversed or had malfunctioning brake lights.

2. Side-Impact Collisions

Side-impact collisions, also known as broadside or T-bone collisions, occur when the front or rear of another car strikes the side of one vehicle.

These accidents often happen at intersections due to:

  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way
  • Distracted driving
  • Misjudging the speed or distance of an oncoming vehicle

Side-impact collisions can also occur in the form of sideswipe accidents, where the sides of two vehicles collide while traveling in the same direction. These accidents often result from improper lane changes, merging errors, or drifting out of the lane due to distraction or impairment.

Injuries from side-impact collisions can be severe, as the side of a vehicle offers less protection than the front or rear.

Common injuries include:

Determining fault in a side-impact collision depends on which driver had the right-of-way, whether anyone disobeyed traffic signals, and if either party drove distracted or impaired. In some cases, both drivers may share some responsibility for the accident.

3. Head-On Collisions

Head-on collisions are one of the most dangerous types of car accidents, occurring when the front ends of two vehicles collide.

These accidents often happen due to:

  • Traveling the wrong way on a one-way street or highway ramp
  • Crossing the center line on a two-lane road
  • Swerving to avoid an obstacle or another vehicle
  • Distracted or impaired driving
  • Falling asleep at the wheel

The severity of injuries in head-on collisions is often high due to the combined speed and force of both vehicles.

Common injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Internal organ damage
  • Facial injuries and disfigurement

Determining fault in a head-on collision depends on factors such as which driver left their lane, whether either driver was distracted or impaired, and if road conditions or mechanical issues contributed to the accident.

Due to the severity of head-on collisions, seek thorough medical evaluations and follow all treatment recommendations. Keep detailed records of your injuries, treatment, and expenses, as you need them to pursue an insurance claim or legal action.

4. Single-Vehicle Accidents

Single-vehicle accidents involve only one vehicle and can occur due to:

  • Loss of control due to excessive speed or poor road conditions
  • Swerving to avoid an obstacle or animal
  • Mechanical failures
  • Distracted or impaired driving
  • Falling asleep at the wheel

These accidents can result in collisions with stationary objects (e.g., trees, poles, guardrails), rollovers, or running off the road. Injuries can range from minor to severe, depending on factors such as speed, seatbelt use, and the type of collision.

Common injuries include:

  • Whiplash and neck injuries
  • Head and brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Soft tissue injuries

Determining fault in a single-vehicle accident can be complex, as factors like road conditions, mechanical issues, and the actions of other drivers (even if they weren’t directly involved in the collision) may play a role. In some cases, the driver may have caused the crash, while in others, external factors may contribute.

5. Multi-Vehicle Accidents

Multi-vehicle accidents, also known as pile-ups or chain-reaction crashes, involve:

  • Initial collisions causing a chain reaction
  • Poor visibility due to weather conditions
  • Slick road surfaces
  • Distracted or impaired driving
  • Speeding or following too closely

These accidents can be particularly dangerous, as the involvement of multiple vehicles increases the risk of severe injuries and fatalities.

Common injuries in multi-vehicle accidents include:

  • Whiplash and neck injuries
  • Head and brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Crush injuries
  • Internal organ damage

Determining fault in a multi-vehicle accident can be challenging, as multiple drivers may share responsibility for the collision. Factors such as the sequence of events, driver actions, and road conditions must be carefully analyzed to allocate fault properly.

6. Rollover Accidents

rollover car accidentRollover accidents occur when a vehicle tips onto its side or roof, often due to:

  • High-speed turns or swerving
  • Tripping on curbs, soft soil, or uneven surfaces
  • Driver overcorrection or loss of control
  • Collisions with other vehicles or objects

Rollover accidents can be particularly dangerous, as occupants may be thrown from the vehicle or crushed by the collapsing roof.

Common injuries include:

  • Head and brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Internal organ damage

Determining fault in a rollover accident depends on factors such as driver actions, road conditions, and vehicle design. In some cases, the driver may be found at fault for speeding or losing control, while in others, vehicle manufacturers may be held liable for design flaws that increase the risk of rollover.

7. Backing Collisions

Backing collisions occur when a vehicle strikes another vehicle, pedestrian, or object while traveling in reverse.

These accidents often happen in parking lots, driveways, or other low-speed areas due to:

  • Limited visibility or blind spots
  • Driver inattention or distraction
  • Failure to check surroundings before backing up
  • Malfunctioning backup cameras or sensors

Injuries from backing collisions are often less severe than those from other types of accidents due to the lower speeds involved. However, pedestrians and cyclists can still suffer serious injuries if struck by a backing vehicle.

Common injuries include:

  • Bruises and contusions
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries

Determining fault in a backing collision typically falls on the driver of the reversing vehicle, as they are responsible for ensuring it is safe to back up. However, there may be instances where the other party bears some responsibility, such as walking or driving in an unauthorized area or failing to heed warning signals.

Establishing Fault and Liability in a Car Accident Claim

To successfully pursue compensation after a car accident, you must demonstrate that the other driver was at fault and liable for the incident.

This involves gathering:

  • Police reports: An official record of the accident that may include an initial assessment of fault.
  • Witness statements: Accounts from individuals who saw the accident occur, supporting your version of events and establishing the other driver’s negligence.
  • Photographs: Visual evidence of vehicle damage, property damage, and visible injuries.
  • Medical records and bills: Document the extent of your injuries and their financial impact on your life.

By gathering strong evidence and being aware of the impact of state laws, you can build a compelling case to establish fault and liability, increasing your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

What to Do After a Car Accident

After a car accident, to ensure your safety and protect your rights:

  • Follow up on your medical needs: If you didn’t seek medical attention immediately after the accident, monitor your physical condition closely. If you experience pain, discomfort, or any symptoms that concern you, visit a doctor or hospital for a thorough evaluation. Proper documentation of your injuries is essential for insurance claims and potential legal proceedings.
  • Contact your insurance company: If you haven’t already done so, call your insurance provider to report the accident. Provide them with the detailed information you gathered at the scene, including the police report number. Discuss your coverage and the next steps in the claims process. Ask about rental car options if your vehicle is not drivable.
  • Consider hiring a personal injury attorney: If you suffered significant injuries or property damage, consulting with a personal injury attorney can help protect your rights. An experienced attorney can guide you through the legal process, handle negotiations with insurance companies, and ensure you receive fair compensation.
  • Be cautious: When communicating with the other party’s insurance company, they may contact you for a statement or settlement offer. It’s advisable to consult with your attorney before providing any recorded statements or accepting settlement offers.

Here’s How a Lawyer Can Help You After a Car Accident

A car accident attorney can be a strong advocate in your corner, offering several key benefits:

  • Legal Guidance: The legal system can be confusing. An attorney can explain your rights, navigate the process, and ensure you understand your options.
  • Dealing With Insurance: Insurance companies prioritize their bottom line. A lawyer can handle all communication with them, fighting for the compensation you need.
  • Maximizing Compensation: You might be entitled to more than you realize. An attorney can identify all potential sources of compensation and build a strong case to get you the most money possible. They can also advise you on settlement offers and whether you should go to court.
  • Courtroom Representation: If negotiations fail, a lawyer will represent you in court, presenting evidence, questioning witnesses, and arguing your case effectively.

With a lawyer by your side, you can focus on healing while they fight for the compensation you deserve.

Speak to a Car Accident Attorney Today

At Grife Law Firm, we understand the toll car accidents can take on victims and their families. Our personal injury attorneys provide compassionate support and aggressive representation to help you through this difficult time.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. We’re here to listen to your story, answer your questions, and fight for the justice you deserve.