Common Types of Car Accidents
Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers
A car accident can range from a minor fender-bender to a serious collision. There are many different types of collisions, and every driver should learn about them. Knowing about each type of car accident can help drivers prevent a collision or injury from happening. Listed below are the most common types of car accidents.
These accidents occur when two cars driving in opposite directions crash into each other. There are various reasons why a head-on collision might happen, including:
- Distracted driving: This happens when one driver crosses over the center line because of a distraction. Cellphone use is a significant cause of distracted driving and head-on collisions.
- Impaired driving: This is when a fatigued or impaired driver veers into the oncoming car’s lane but does not realize it or cannot react in time because of the impairment.
- Wrong-way driving: When a motorist enters the highway from an exit ramp or otherwise drives the wrong way on a road, street, turnpike, or interstate.
- Vehicle failure: Though rare, steering or brakes may fail and cause a driver to veer toward an oncoming car and not be able to correct in time or at all.
- Road and weather conditions. A head-on collision can happen when roads are wet, ice-covered, or if fog obscures a driver’s vision.
Head-on collisions are among the most serious as far as injuries and fatalities. Both drivers may suffer from:
- Traumatic brain injury, concussion, death
- Whiplash, neck and spinal injuries, paralysis
- Facial and skull damage
- Damage to internal organs, internal bleeding
- Bone and soft tissue injury
These accidents occur when one motorist crashes into the back of another driver’s car. Rear-end collisions often cause a chain reaction in which three or more vehicles crash into each other.
Rear-end crashes can cause serious injuries, including:
- Whiplash, other neck and spinal traumas
- Traumatic brain injury, concussion
- Damage to internal organs
- Bone and soft tissue injury
Whiplash is particularly common in rear-end collisions because the head and neck are often violently rolled backward and forward. Some passengers or drivers can get whiplash even when the car is hit at low speeds.
People often do not know they have whiplash until days or weeks after an accident. That is why it is crucial for anyone involved in a car accident to seek medical attention right away. Professionals can describe what to look for regarding whiplash.
Whiplash symptoms include:
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Neck pain and stiffness, worsening with movement
- Tingling or numbness in arms
Whiplash can lead to severe complications, including vision, memory, and sleep problems, depression, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and tinnitus.
A side-impact collision happens when one driver either swipes or makes a full-on impact into the side of another car. Unfortunately, this impact will often make both drivers lose complete control of their vehicles, leading to additional accidents, injuries, and damages. There are many causes of side-impact collisions, including:
- Running a red light: This is a common cause of side-impact crashes. Some drivers either do not see or disregard a red light, plowing into the side of the driver crossing in front of them who has the green light.
- Ignoring a stop sign: Some drivers may not fully stop at a stop sign, or they may miss or disregard the sign, especially at four-way stops.
- Driver distraction: Some drivers are busy talking, programming a GPS, or even texting and may plow into the side of a car crossing in front of them.
- Speeding: Speeding drivers cannot slow their cars in time to stop at a light or stop sign, often resulting in a side-impact collision.
- Veering from a lane: Sometimes, a driver will briefly veer from their lane for any number of reasons. They can easily swipe the side of the car traveling in the same direction next to them. This swipe often leads to a more significant accident as the cars go out of control.
- Making an illegal or improper left turn: A driver may try to turn left, even when turning is not allowed or is unsafe because of obscured vision or other reasons. They can plow into the side of an oncoming car that has the right-of-way. This can also happen when drivers are unsafely pulling out of parking lots and side streets.
Depending on which side is hit, a driver, passenger, or both can suffer injuries, including:
- Damage to the pelvis, legs, and hips
- Loss of limbs
- Bone breaks and soft tissue wounds
- Whiplash, concussion, spinal cord injuries, paralysis
- Internal organ damage, internal bleeding
- Skin lacerations and scarring, disfigurement
- Brain injury
Although most rollover accidents involve a single vehicle, other drivers can also be the cause. No matter how they happen, rollover accidents have high fatality rates. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) classifies the cause of rollover accidents as tripped or untripped.
- Tripped rollovers: This is when the vehicle’s tires are tripped by an object, such as a curb, rock or stone, guardrail, soil, edge of a road, or other obstacles, causing the vehicle to flip over. This is the most common type of rollover accident.
- Untripped rollovers: Much less common, these rollover accidents usually involve top-heavy vehicles, such as SUVs and large pickups with high centers of gravity. The vehicle may roll or tip over when swerving, turning too quickly, or traveling at high speeds and trying to maneuver the car.
- Faulty tires: Low tire pressure, driving on a flat tire, or a tire blow-out from a defective tire can lead to a vehicle rollover.
- Negligent drivers: A driver who is speeding, driving while impaired or distracted, or disobeying traffic laws can cause a rollover accident.
- Road conditions: Some roads are not maintained or constructed well or lack adequate signage or safety barriers. These roads are prime locations for a single-car rollover or multi-vehicle accident that causes a rollover.
A victim of a rollover accident will almost always suffer severe injury or death. Common injuries include:
- Head and skull fractures
- Traumatic brain injury, concussion
- Spinal cord damage, paralysis, severe back injuries
- Broken bones, especially in the arms, legs, ankles, and ribs
- Soft tissue injuries, cuts, bruises, disfigurement
Despite the name, these accidents, in which vehicle damage is minimal, can cause serious physical injury. A common injury after a fender-bender is whiplash, which can cause lasting or long-term impairment to the victim.
Virginia drivers should also be aware of the following types of accidents that may qualify victims for compensation if they result in injuries and other damages.
This is when a negligent driver crashes into another driver, bicyclist, or nearby person and does not stop. In Virginia, leaving the scene of an accident can be a felony punishable by fines and jail time.
With the popularity of cabs, taxis, and ridesharing services, accidents happen. Anyone who is hurt in an accident when in a rideshare vehicle should immediately contact a car accident lawyer.
Interstate Highway Accidents
The high speeds vehicles travel on interstates and similar thoroughfares often make a crash more serious. In addition, municipalities, counties, and states are responsible for keeping roads in good condition for motorists. It is worth consulting a lawyer if injured in an accident on an interstate, turnpike, highway, or expressway.
Construction Zone Accidents
In Virginia, road construction can last all year. Motorists often need to yield, merge, detour, or battle traffic back-ups when there is construction on a road, street, or interstate. Accidents inevitably occur in construction zones, and if injured, a consultation with a lawyer may be in order.
Intersections, either unmarked or marked with a stop sign, traffic signal, yield sign, or a flashing red or yellow light, are among the top locations for accidents. Driving errors are almost always the cause. Drivers should talk to a lawyer if injured in an intersection crash caused by someone else’s negligence.
Car accidents do not always involve just two cars. Some people are injured when the original vehicles involved in an accident veer out of control and cause additional accidents. Sometimes, multiple collisions are caused by chain reactions, particularly involving rear-end collisions. Regardless, there may be multiple vehicles and multiple victims, so victims should discuss the situation with a lawyer if injured.
What are Common Causes of Car Accidents?
There are many reasons why a car accident may happen, but nearly 94 percent can be attributed to another driver’s error or negligence, according to a NHTSA study. That means that most accidents could be avoided. Common causes of car accidents include the following:
- Distracted driving: This is one of the top causes of vehicle accidents in Virginia and across the United States. Distracted driving is defined as anything that takes the eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or the mind off driving. Common distractions include cellphone use, loud music, rowdy passengers, eating and drinking, and personal grooming.
- Drowsy driving: Long-haul truck drivers are known for driving while fatigued, but all motorists are vulnerable to drowsy driving.
- Impaired driving: People who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs cannot make good decisions or react quickly to changing driving situations. Their ability to follow traffic signs and speed limits is impaired as well.
- Speeding: Though speeding may not seem serious, the facts show that speeding drivers lose the ability to control their cars safely. Speeding drivers are a major cause of accidents, injuries, and deaths.
- Reckless driving: Some people drive without any regard for safety, driving rules, speed limits, signs, and signals. Their blatant disregard for others’ safety causes injuries and fatalities.
- Aggressive driving/road rage: Unfortunately, road rage and aggressive driving can cause injuries and deaths.
- Vehicle defects: Though rare, vehicle defects can cause accidents. Faulty brakes, tires, and other auto parts can lead to injuries and death.
Possible Damages in a Personal Injury Case
Almost 95 percent of personal injury cases will settle out of court, meaning the insurer agrees to pay a certain amount that has been negotiated by a lawyer. For this reason, an accident victim should never accept the first offer from an insurer and should consult a lawyer instead. Insurers will never offer the total amount of compensation. They may also try to blame the accident on the victim or claim that the victim’s injuries existed before the accident.
A lawyer will analyze the facts in the case, including evidence, witness statements, and expert testimony. They will calculate the economic and non-economic damages the victim sustained to come to a fair resolution.
Virginia follows pure contributory negligence rules. That means that a person who sustains damages in an accident cannot recover any compensation if they are even one percent at fault. That is why it is vital to have a qualified lawyer on the case.
In Virginia, damages that can be compensated include:
- Medical bills resulting from injuries, including hospital stays, surgeries, rehabilitation, physical and occupational therapies, medical equipment, medications, and more. Both current and future costs are included.
- Loss of wages if the victim had to take time off work. If injuries are severe enough that the victim cannot return to the same or any type of employment, damages for lost or reduced earning capacity and work opportunities will also be considered.
- Loss of affection and companionship relating to a spouse, child, significant other, or parents.
- Pain and suffering. These are physical and emotional injuries a person can sustain after a collision. A lawyer will calculate appropriate compensation for physical pain and mental anguish.
- Property damage, such as damage to or loss of vehicle and personal property.
- Out-of-pocket costs, including lawyer and court fees.
- Burial and funeral expenses in wrongful death claims.