When many people hear the words “car crash,” they envision two cars colliding. But the reality is that car wrecks can involve one to dozens of cars. And the other vehicles do not have to be cars, they can be motorcycles, or trucks, or emergency vehicles. It might even involve a bicycle or pedestrian.
The number of “types” of car accidents is larger than you might realize, and no two wrecks are the same. But based on the documented accidents with damage or injuries occurring on Pennsylvania roads, there are a handful of crashes that are most prevalent. The most common types of accidents are:
- Single car
- Parking Lot/Low Impact
- Rear-End Collisions
It makes sense to start with the type of car crash that accounts for almost one-third of all accidents, the rear-ender. The phrase “fender bender” conjures up an image of one car gently tapping its front bumper into the back bumper of another vehicle sitting at a stoplight. At low speeds, there may be no damage or injuries, but not all rear-end collisions occur at low speeds.
It is common for serious injuries to result from rear-end collisions that happen at high speeds on highways and interstates. Something causes one car to brake suddenly, slowing or coming to a stop. But the following driver fails to spot the brake lights in front of them in time, and crashes into the braking car in front at high speed. The occupants of the rear-ended car are often seriously injured, and almost certainly will have sustained painful whiplash.
The resulting injuries are worse when a large vehicle, like a trailer truck, strikes a car in front of it.
These accidents can be deadly. And conversely, when a small car rear-ends a large truck it can become wedged under the truck, which can instantly kill the car driver. Rear-end accidents that involve commercial trucks are quite serious and unfortunately almost always involve serious injury. But your accident attorney can analyze this type of crash and determine if the truck had the proper bumper and guards. If not, the truck driver or company may have liability.
Also, rear-end collisions with a bicycle or motorcycle are almost always a serious accident, whether the bike is rear-ended or the bike rear-ends a car. The bike rider is often thrown from their seat and suffers injury on impact with other vehicles and the ground. There is little to protect most bikers, except maybe a helmet, and injuries almost always result.
Injuries to a biker in a rear-end collision might include:
- Broken bones
- Skull fractures
- Brain injuries
- Broken or chipped teeth
- Back injuries
- Crushed limbs
- Internal organ damage
- Road rash
The expense to treat the resulting injuries is often substantial. If you are injured in a rear-end accident, you may want to hire an experienced accident lawyer. You will likely miss some work and require rehabilitation. Your losses, both economic and non-economic, will be substantial and you will want the best legal team on your side to make sure you are compensated fairly.
Because of the nature of a rolling car, seatbelts and airbags are not always as effective at preventing serious injuries during. This type of accident involves several variables that dictate what injuries are incurred and how serious they are.
Rollovers are also a bit different from other accidents in that determining liability can be tricky. A wreck that results in a rollover often happens when there are multiple defendants that share liability for the rollover.
This complicates establishing negligence and makes it harder to file a rollover claim. You benefit greatly from hiring the best accident attorney available if you are injured in a rollover and you should rely on them to properly file and argue your claim, including establishing the negligence of others.
There are a number of potential causes for rollovers, but three are common.
Driver neglect is the cause of many accidents, including rollovers. Taking a corner at high speed is an example of driver carelessness. Another is a distracted driver who sideswipes your car, forcing you into a ditch which causes your car to roll. If you are in a rollover caused by another driver, as a passenger or a driver, the negligent driver can be held liable for your personal injuries and any financial losses.
Road conditions and hazards can also cause a rollover. Large potholes, incorrect speed limits, missing signage or road markings, or defective guardrails can all contribute or cause a car to roll. Local, state, or federal government agencies are all responsible for keeping the various roads safe to drive. And if they do not, then they can be held liable for negligence or improper care for the roads. When taking on a government agency, retaining an experienced car accident lawyer may be necessary as these claims can get complicated as they have many resources to dispute your claim.
Vehicle or part defects are a significant cause of rollovers. An example would be a tire that fails at high speed, causing a driver to lose control and roll. Also, some vehicles are more prone to rolling than others.
Also, any vehicle with a high center of gravity will roll more easily (e.g. sport utility vehicles, vans, or trucks). The vehicle manufacturers are responsible to provide added safety for models prone to rolling. Roll bars and side airbags are two examples of actions that can be taken by manufacturers to increase a vehicle’s safety. If the roll bar is missing or defective in a vehicle prone to rollovers, the roof may collapse on you. Or, you may have less protection during the rollover if the side airbag is missing or malfunctions. Failure to take the steps needed to provide safety in a vehicle prone to rolling is something the best car accident attorneys can argue to support your claim.
Car accidents are horrible events. But there is one type of accident that conjures our deepest fears, a head-on collision. And for good reason, head-on collisions are one of the deadliest wrecks that occur. While accounting for only two percent of all car accidents, this type of crash accounts for ten percent of driving fatalities.
Head on collisions are violent and cause the vehicle occupants to come to sudden stop. Airbags and seat belts help, but it is a jarring experience. As a result, two of the most feared scenarios happen all too frequently as a result of the impact force; people can be ejected during a head-on collision, or, they become trapped inside the wreckage. The resulting injuries can be devasting and require comprehensive medical treatment.
Often, a head-on collision is a life-changing event for those involved. You would be wise to retain the best car accident lawyer available to protect your rights and to help you through what may be one of the hardest events in your life.
Causes of head-on collisions include:
- Distracted driving
- Third-party negligence
- Road conditions
- Vehicle or Part defects (e.g. tire blowout)
- Fatigued driving
- Crossing a yellow line
- Improper or illegal passing
- Heading in the wrong direction on a one-way road
- Drag racing
- Road conditions or hazards
When a head-on wreck occurs, it usually means one driver was on the wrong side of the road. So, the driver responsible for the accident is the one who crossed over the median. However, proving this negligence can be difficult for a head-on crash since the violent impact frequently causes the vehicles to fly off in odd directions. Both cars can come to final resting places far from the impact site. This means it is often difficult to prove who was at fault. A forensic engineer or accident reconstruction specialist may be needed to piece together who was on the wrong side of the road.
Often, these experts can learn what happened based on skid marks or other evidence from the crash site, and these findings can be essential to prove who was negligent. This makes it even more crucial to retain the best personal injury lawyer immediately after a head-on accident. With their help, all the information and evidence from the head-on collision can be properly documented and professionally presented as part of your claim. Also, head-on claims often involve large sums of money and you can expect the other parties to put up an aggressive defense. An experienced attorney knows how to address their opposition and dispute accusations or claims they may make against you.
Single Car Accidents
Single car crashes by definition involve a lone vehicle, so you might assume that single car wrecks are always the driver’s fault. But hold on a minute, that is not always true. The accident could have been due to a faulty car part, a poorly designed road, or a badly maintained stretch of highway. All of these can be a valid personal injury claim if you can supply the evidence to prove your case.
A number of single-car crashes are the result of auto defects. You can file a legal claim to recover your losses if you are in a single car wreck due to a defective product. Some examples of parts that can fail:
- Brake pads and rotors
- Steering parts and linkage
- Gearstick or gear selector
- Windshield wipers
- Axles and bearings
- Accelerator and brake pedals
A single car accident can also be caused by bad design or poor maintenance of a road. Overgrown shrubs and trees can make visibility of oncoming traffic dangerous, or cover road signs. And large potholes can cause even the best of drivers to lose control.
Your car accident attorney may be able to establish the road design was improper. Common design defects include too steep a grade or a turn too sharp for an off-ramp. All of these are negligence that can be proved in court. So, just because you had a single car crash it does not preclude you from a personal injury claim.
And there may be other liable parties in a single car accident, for example, another car, pedestrian or bicyclist. Just because they were not involved in the accident does not mean that their negligent actions did not cause the wreck. The most obvious example is a driver who crashes while taking actions to evade a careless driver, bicyclist or pedestrian.
Defending yourself in a single car accident is difficult, as it is often assumed a single car accident is your fault. But an experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to establish negligence for those who caused an accident, but did not get involved in the crash. Or, the conditions or road were unsafe, even when driven at proper speed. To file a single car claim is tough, but with the help of a veteran lawyer, your chances for a fair settlement are improved.
Our interstate highways are an important part of our open, free society. They give us the freedom to travel by car at high speed and allow for the transport of goods we all want and need. But on occasion, there are chain reactions that cause pile-ups, huge wrecks that involve more than two cars, often dozens.
The form of accident usually is one car rear-ending another car, which is lunged forward rear-ending yet a third car, and so on. And additional cars or trucks at highways speeds can pile into the crashing cars. Hence, the term chain reaction is often used to describe the way this complex form of car accident occurs. Often, conditions like fog or rain add to poor visibility which makes the rapid events harder for drivers to react to.
Even worse, injuries are likely. Personal injuries suffered in a multi-car wreck are no different than any other claim one might file. You must prove your injuries were caused by the carelessness of others. But this is where multi-vehicle accidents are different, it is often the case where multiple drives share responsibility, and it is extremely difficult to prove who caused the wreck. This makes it a challenge to file a successful claim.
To improve your chances of getting the fair compensation you deserve, retain the best car accident lawyer immediately after the accident. It is important to protect your rights and present your version of events in a professional manner. There will be multiple parties aggressively fighting back against your claim and making all sorts of allegations against you.
Parking Lot/Low Impact
The huge lots and garages where we park our cars concentrate large numbers of vehicles and force drivers to operate in confined spaces. It is a perfect formula for mishaps and low-speed impacts, so it is not surprising that this is one of the more frequent forms of car accident.
But it is not always a driver misjudging a parking spot and dinging another parked car. Often, a car backing out of a parking spot is hit by a car in the traffic lane, and serious damage to the car and personal injury can result. This is just on example, but there are other scenarios and they all beg the question: Who is at fault?
While there are times when it is more straightforward to prove negligence, such as only one car was moving, there are times when it is not so clear. Like when two cars back into one another at the same time, yes it does happen. Injuries resulting from these low impacts are not as frequent compared to other accident types, but they do occur. And when they do, you may need the best accident attorneys to prove negligence and file a successful claim.
It is a complicated procedure to file and defend a personal injury claim when you are hurt in a car wreck, so it is wise to seek help. The best car accident lawyers know how to assemble, present, and defend a claim and maximize your chance for a fair settlement. The Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky offer a free, no obligation initial consultation to review your case. They will scrutinize the details and assess the strength of your claim. You have nothing to lose to talk with us, but maybe you have something to gain.