Types of Car AccidentsAuto Accidents
With motorists traveling across the world’s roadways in different directions, at different speeds, on different road types, and in different vehicles, there are many different accident types. The type of car accident you’re involved in can affect the extent of property damage, the sort of injuries you suffer, and the severity of those injuries.
Common Types of Car Accidents
The majority of car accidents fall within a few different categories. These kinds of collisions happen every day, and each has the potential to cause serious injuries. Some of the most common car accident types include:
Single-vehicle accidents can include:
- A motor vehicle striking a stationary object such as a sign, barrier, or traffic light post
- A motor vehicle rolling over
- A vehicle running off the roadway
Some may consider pedestrian accidents to be single-vehicle accidents, too.
There are many possible causes of single-vehicle accidents, including:
- A motorist having to swerve to avoid colliding with another motorist
- An intoxicated motorist
- A motorist being under the influence of prescription or illicit drugs
- A motorist being distracted, which can lead to them losing control of their vehicle, striking a stationary object that they do not see, or veering off of the road
- Speeding, which can cause a motorist to lose control of their vehicle
In some cases, the motorist involved in the single-car accident is liable. In other instances, someone else may be liable. For example, if a motorist strikes a barrier because they have to swerve and avoid another motorist who ran a red light, the motorist who ran the red light should be liable for the resulting accident. Always discuss your legal options with a car accident lawyer following a single-vehicle crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that rear-end collisions are the most common type of motor vehicle accident. This type of accident happens when one motor vehicle strikes the back of another.
Tailgating, speeding, and distracted driving are common causes of rear-end collisions. If a motorist fails to leave plenty of space for the vehicle in front, is driving too fast for traffic or road conditions, or takes their eyes off the road, they are liable to hit the vehicle in front of them.
Side impact collisions are also referred to as T-bone accidents. One vehicle strikes another, though the collision does not always happen in a T-formation.
Side-impact collisions can happen when two vehicles are traveling in different directions, which may occur:
- At intersections
- When a motorist crosses in front of oncoming traffic
- When a motorist begins turning into oncoming traffic but gets struck before they completely enter the roadway
- In a parking lot, when one vehicle backs out into oncoming traffic
Angle collisions, including side-impact collisions, cause the greatest number of deaths than any other accident type. This might be surprising to most people until they feel the effects of a side-impact collision on their own lives.
The most statistically dangerous of any collision type, head-on accidents occur when the fronts of two motor vehicles collide.
These accidents can happen when:
- A motorist drives the wrong direction on a one-way street, including a highway or interstate
- A motorist attempts to pass another vehicle by entering oncoming traffic
- A motorist is distracted, intoxicated, tired, or otherwise impaired and allows their vehicle to veer into oncoming traffic
- A motorist improperly enters a turning lane shared by vehicles traveling in opposite directions
- A motorist attempts to turn at an intersection when they do not have the right of way
The greater the speed at which vehicles collide head-on, the more danger the vehicle occupants generally face.
Sideswipe collisions happen when one vehicle scrapes against another in an almost parallel fashion. Though these accidents do not generally involve the type of violent collision that occurs when vehicles strike head-on or at an angle, a sideswipe collision can still cause property damage and injuries.
Rollover accidents can result from single-car accidents or multi-car collisions. Whenever a vehicle leaves its wheels and either rolls on its side or onto its roof, a rollover accident takes place.
These accident types can be very dangerous, especially when a vehicle rolls multiple times. Motorists and passengers can be ejected from a rolling vehicle, exposing them to potential spinal cord injuries, head injuries, and being run over by other vehicles.
A pedestrian accident involves a motor vehicle striking a pedestrian. Accidents involving bicyclists, scooter riders, and motorcyclists may not technically be pedestrian accidents but can have similar outcomes.
The weight of a motor vehicle can have a devastating effect when it strikes a pedestrian, motorcyclist, bicyclist, or scooter rider. The risk of serious injury and death is unusually high when these kinds of accidents occur.
I’ Was in a Car Accident. What Do I Do?
If you have been in a car accident of any kind, your two priorities may be getting thorough medical treatment and hiring a trusted attorney.
A list of priorities for car accident victims may include:
Be Cautious About What You Say
Other parties and insurance companies can use your words against you after a car accident. You do not want to admit fault, extend apologies to others involved in your accident, or make any statements to insurance companies that can harm your case for compensation.
If you hire an attorney after your accident, they can handle the insurance and legal processes as much as possible. This way, you may reduce your risk of making any statements that can be damaging to your case.
Receive Treatment for All Potential Accident-Related Injuries (and Keeping Your Medical Records)
Identifying and treating injuries is among the greatest priorities after a car accident. It is always wise to get a medical evaluation if you feel any stiffness, pain, or anything out of the ordinary, as you might have invisible injuries.
You must seek medical attention because:
- Those responsible for your car accident may dispute your injuries, and getting immediate treatment will provide clear evidence that your car accident caused your injuries.
- You may have injuries that you have yet to receive a diagnosis for
- Injuries can evolve and worsen even after you receive initial treatment, and a doctor must monitor your health until you fully recover.
Fear of medical bills sometimes discourages car accident victims from seeking all necessary medical care. Do not let financial concerns stop you from getting treatment, as a lawyer will work hard to recover money for all of your accident-related medical expenses.
Hiring a Car Accident Attorney
An attorney can handle your insurance claim or lawsuit while you recover.
From the moment that you retain their services, your attorney will:
- Provide general advice related to your claim or lawsuit
- Deal with insurance companies and other parties involved in your case
- Begin the process of filing your insurance claim or lawsuit, if you have not done so already
A lawyer can provide valuable legal services, but their greatest benefit may be providing you peace of mind. Knowing that an experienced attorney is handling your lawsuit or claim may allow you to focus on recovery without facing the stress of your case.
What Criteria Should I Use to Choose a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
Hiring the right lawyer requires a combination of objective criteria and using your instincts.
First, here are some criteria you may use to evaluate prospective car accident attorneys:
- Their case results: Does the lawyer or firm you’re considering have case results published on its website? Are these case results substantial, and do they include car accident cases? You might also consider whether a law firm has won verdicts (rather than settlements), as this indicates that a law firm will take your case to trial if necessary.
- Their client testimonials: Do clients speak favorably of the law firm in reviews? Do positive reviews far outweigh the negative, or not? Make sure you consider not only testimonials that a law firm publishes on its own site, as these reviews may be hand-picked to reflect positively upon the firm.
- Their practice areas: Does a lawyer regularly handle car accident cases? This is an important consideration, as an attorney with relevant experience may be a prime candidate to handle your case.
You can also gauge a law firm’s fitness for your case based on your interactions with their representatives. Car accident lawyers generally offer free consultations or free phone calls during which you can ask questions and interact with a firm’s representative.
There are several questions you can ask during a free consultation to evaluate a law firm.
You might ask:
- Which attorney will handle my case?
- Is your firm willing to go to trial if it is in my best interests?
- What relevant experience does your firm have handling cases like mine?
- What is your fee structure? Will I have to pay any upfront costs to hire your firm?
- Why should I choose your law firm to represent me?
Choosing a lawyer is a decision you should consider thoughtfully, as your attorney’s skill and dedication will determine the outcome of your case.
How an Attorney Can Help Following Your Car Accident
In addition to protecting your case and dealing with insurance companies, a lawyer can fulfill several roles for you. A car accident lawyer’s responsibilities in a car accident case generally include:
Securing Evidence of Negligence
Your attorney may collect video footage, witness accounts, photographs of the accident scene, the police report documenting your collision, and any other evidence of the liable party’s negligence. This evidence may help your lawyer get compensation from insurance companies or directly from those who caused your accident.
Documenting and Calculating the Victim’s Damages
Your lawyer will calculate the cost of your damages and may prove the nature of your losses with:
- Medical images of your injuries
- Doctors’ diagnoses
- Bills for medical care, vehicle repairs, temporary transportation, and other accident-related expenses
- Diagnoses of your trauma from mental health professionals
An attorney will use their discretion on which documentation will be useful to your case.
Negotiating for a Fair Settlement
Attorneys generally prefer to settle cases, and clients often want to settle, as well. A settlement can provide a car accident victim the money they deserve, and settling typically takes less time than going to trial. However, a settlement is only preferable if it covers all a victim’s losses.
Determining Whether to Take the Case to Trial
Even if your lawyer takes your case to trial, they can reach a settlement with liable parties. However, your lawyer may complete the trial process and seek a judgment from a jury.
Protecting the Client’s Rights
Throughout your insurance claim or lawsuit, your lawyer will ensure that nobody violates your rights. From insurance companies trying to get you to accept an unfair settlement offer to liable parties claiming you are responsible for the accident, threats to your case may be numerous. With a lawyer on your side, you should not have to worry about these potential hazards.
What Damages May a Car Accident Victim Receive Compensation For?
A lawyer will seek compensation for all of your accident-related damages, which may include:
- Medical expenses
- Repairs for your vehicle
- Temporary transportation expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income
- Lost earning power
Each car accident causes different injuries, degrees of property damage, and losses for the victim. A competent attorney will make sure to identify all of your damages, determine what damages you will suffer in the future, and fight for the entire financial recovery you are entitled to.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today to Complete Free Consultations
You should not wait to locate and hire a car accident lawyer near you. An attorney may face a deadline for filing your case, as each state has a statute of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits. Even if you do not ultimately pursue a lawsuit, the potential of filing a suit is a key form of leverage when negotiating with an insurance company.
Remember to take advantage of free consultations. These calls come at no cost, and consultation does not require you to hire a Charleston personal injury law firm.