All car accidents are traumatic, but each incident is unique, and the specific impact on the victims varies accordingly. Injuries and damage are often dependent on the exact location of the collision. Broadly, however, car accidents fall into the following categories:
A rear-end or “rear-impact” collision can be anything from a minor fender-bender to an accident that results in the total loss of all vehicles involved. Such collisions occur when one vehicle hits another vehicle in front of it from behind. In most of these cases, the driver who rear-ends will be found at fault because he or she may be determined to have been speeding, distracted or inattentive for failing to stop the vehicle in time. Rear-end accidents can cause moderate to serious injuries from whiplash and neck injuries to back injuries and catastrophic brain and spinal cord injuries.
These crashes are also known as side-angle collisions, side-impact collisions, and colloquially as “T-bones.” Broadside crashes usually occur at street intersections, often when one of the drivers runs a red light or fails to yield right-of-way to the other vehicle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 30 percent of all car accidents in the United States are broadside crashes. Such accidents have the potential to cause catastrophic injuries or even death because most vehicles lack adequate side impact protection.
A head-on crash occurs when one vehicle strikes the front of another vehicle. With cars, this often occurs when one vehicle crosses over to opposing lanes of traffic. This could happen as a result of drunk or fatigued drivers, or any other circumstance where a car is traveling in the wrong direction. About 2 percent of collisions in the U.S. are head-on crashes, but they account for a high number of fatalities because of the speed and intensity involved.
A rollover accident occurs when a vehicle overturns or flips over to the side. Vehicles such as SUVs or light trucks are more prone to rolling over because of their high center of gravity and narrow track width. The NHTSA estimates that about 25 percent of all traffic accident fatalities in the nation are rollovers. Defective vehicles or defective design can contribute markedly to the severity of injuries sustained in or the likelihood of fatalities from these incidents.
The NHTSA estimates that about 16 percent of all accidents are single car or runoff accidents when a vehicle goes out of control and leaves the roadway. This can happen for a variety of reasons including driver error, speeding, vehicle defects, the negligence of another driver, or due to a dangerous roadway.
Regardless of the type of accident in which you have been involved, please remember that if you have been seriously injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation. Injured victims can recover damages to cover medical expenses, loss of earnings, the cost of hospitalization, medication, surgeries, and rehabilitative treatments among others.
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