Types of Car Accidents

car accident can be a traumatic event for those involved. Even a minor fender bender can inflict injuries, like whiplash, that result in chronic pain and other long-term conditions. A serious car accident can leave victims with devastating injuries that have life-altering consequences, both physical and psychological.

Injuries from a car accident may make it impossible for someone to return to work, creating dire financial problems during a time when they also have massive medical bills. After a car accident, it is crucial to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer who will work to hold the responsible party accountable and recover compensation for injuries and property damage.

Most car accidents are the result of driver error. Responsible drivers are familiar with the different types of car accidents and are able to drive defensively to protect themselves and their families. The following are the most common types of car accidents.

Sideswipe Accidents

This type of accident usually occurs when one car is in the process of changing lanes and does not see or misjudges the location of another vehicle. Often, the driver does not check their blind spot before moving into the adjacent lane and swipes the side of the vehicle next to them. This can force the driver of the impacted vehicle into another car, into the next lane, or push them off the road entirely if they are already in the right-most lane and there is no shoulder.

Trucks have large blind spots, and drivers should take care to avoid staying in a truck’s blind spot for very long. Increase or decrease speed to adjust lane position to a place where the truck driver has a good view of the vehicle.

Head-On Collisions

Two vehicles colliding head-on is extremely dangerous and usually results in serious injuries or fatalities. Head-on collisions happen when one driver crosses the center line of a road either to pass slower cars or because they are distracted and do not have their eyes on the road. Occasionally, a confused motorist causes a head-on collision by driving down an exit ramp and getting on the highway going the wrong direction.

The extent of damage in a head-on collision depends on the speeds the vehicles are traveling at the time of impact and whether contact is made directly or at an angle. The size of the vehicle is also a factor if one is much higher and weighs more than the other vehicle in the collision.

Rear-End Collisions

One driver can hit the vehicle in front of them if they are distracted, speeding, or tailgating. Rear-end collisions often happen in bumper-to-bumper traffic situations, four way stops, and in emergency situations when a driver must suddenly brake and is not able to stop in time. To avoid this type of accident, it is important to always leave enough following distance to the next car.

T-Bone Collisions

A crash where the side of the vehicle is impacted is commonly known as a T-bone collision. This collision typically occurs in one of two ways:

  • When a driver runs a red light or stop sign and hits a car crossing the intersection.
  • When a driver is turning left and fails to yield to oncoming traffic.

Despite federal regulations for side-impact safety standards, T-bone accidents can be deadly because only the door and windows separate the occupants of the impacted car from the other vehicle. Every year in the United States, many people die in side-impact collisions.

Drivers must obey traffic signals and posted signage and wait for all traffic to clear before attempting to turn left. Never attempt to rush through a turn in front of oncoming traffic. A misjudgment of speed could prove fatal.

Rollover Accidents

Sometimes in a crash, the impact causes the vehicle to rollover. Certain types of vehicles run a higher risk of rolling over, including SUVs, pickup trucks, and other large trucks. Taller vehicles are more prone to rollover accidents because their center of gravity is higher.

A rollover accident can also occur with only one vehicle. For example, if the driver takes a sharp curve too fast, the vehicle may start to tip over. This often happens on uneven rural roads where the speed limits are higher and no barriers have been built to break the speed of a car that leaves its lane. Drunk driving is a large factor in many rollover car accidents.

Multi-Vehicle Accidents

An accident involving multiple vehicles could be the result of a chain reaction or a pileup of cars sliding into one another. Any accident of multiple vehicles is extremely dangerous because any vehicle involved can be damaged from all sides, causing devastating injuries.

Often, vehicle occupants are injured or killed when they exit to examine damage to their car and another vehicle hits them. Common causes of multi-vehicle accidents include tailgating, black ice, construction zones, low-visibility conditions, such as fog, hazards at the top of a hill or around a curve, and distracted driving.

What are Common Causes of Car Accidents?

There are many factors that cause car accidents. Some common causes of car accidents include:

  • Drunk Driving: Drinking and driving is common around major holidays, like Christmas, New Years, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day.
  • Drugged Driving: Driving under the influence of illegal substances can cause accidents, and interactions of legally prescribed medications can impair driving as well.
  • Distracted Driving: Anything that takes the driver’s attention from the road qualifies as a distraction. Some common causes of distracted driving include texting, using social media, eating and drinking, putting on makeup/grooming, or programming a navigation system or music.
  • Drowsy Driving: Driving while fatigued is just as dangerous as driving drunk. Many studies show that sleep deprivation causes the same deficiencies as driving under the influence of alcohol, such as slower reaction times and impaired decision-making abilities.
  • Excessive Speeding: Exceeding the posted speed limit can cause a driver to crash on their own if the road or weather conditions are unfavorable. Speeding can also cause a driver to be unable to control the vehicle, which can cause a rollover car accident.
  • Weather Conditions: Inexperienced drivers may not be aware of how to drive in conditions involving snow, ice, heavy downpours, or excessive heat and get into an accident.
  • Faulty Road Design or Poor Signage: A driver may have an accident if a road is designed poorly or signage causes confusion.

Liability in a Car Accident Case

For anyone injured in a car accident, a main concern is who is liable for the collision. The answer may not always be clear, especially in a multi-vehicle accident, a collision involving a rental car or rideshare vehicle, or if the vehicle that caused the accident is defective.

Many people who are suffering from injuries that were caused by an accident are left with financial worries and long-term medical problems, as well as emotional trauma. Every car accident case is unique, and only an experienced lawyer will know how to handle the issue of liability.

Under Delaware’s modified comparative negligence law, those partially responsible for a car accident will have their total damage award reduced by their percentage of fault. For this reason, it is important to hire a lawyer right away after a serious collision.

The Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Those Injured by Negligent Drivers

The Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow investigate each one of their car accident cases thoroughly. There are many different types and causes of car accidents, and all motorists should know them so that they can become safer drivers. If you need help after a collision, call us at (302) 427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

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