Common Types of Car Crashes

Every time we travel by car, we face the small but alarming possibility of getting into a serious accident. In addition to driving as safely as possible, we can also be vigilant to any potential dangers to better mitigate our risk of a serious collision. Below are the most common types of car accidents; if you have been involved in one of these and believe someone else is at fault, you can discuss your case with a qualified car accident lawyer by calling 212-736-5300.

Rear-End Accidents: A rear-end accident occurs when one car hits another from behind. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2018, 594,000 rear-end crashes resulted in injury, the most of any other type of crash. Many people assume that the driver who rear-ended the first car is always at fault, but that is not the case. There are multiple factors that can affect liability in rear-end collisions: Did the driver in the first car stop short for any reason? Were their brake lights working? Was the driver in the following car at an adequate following distance that would have allowed him enough time to stop? Was the driver in the following car not fully paying attention to the road? Liability in these cases is not always clear, and depending on state law, fault could potentially be shared by both drivers involved.

T-Bone Collisions: A T-bone crash, also known as a side-impact collision, occurs when one vehicle hits the side of another, either by "t-boning" the car, merging into the car's path of travel, or losing control and hitting the vehicle at an angle. T-bone accidents can be particularly devastating, since the side of a car offers much less protection between passengers and oncoming traffic than the front or back of a vehicle. Many T-bone crashes are caused by another driver's failure to yield or comply with traffic signals, possibly as a result of distracted or reckless driving.

Head-On Collisions: A head-on collision occurs when the front of a vehicle crashes into the front of another car or collides with a stationary object, such as a tree or guardrail. These types of accidents are rare, but they can be the most severe. Often these types of accidents are caused by reckless, drunk, or distracted driving. These are factors that could cause a motorist to make a mistake that leads to a head-on collision, such as driving the wrong way up a one-way street.

Rollover Accidents: A rollover accident occurs when a car flips over or rolls on its side. Although rollovers can result from head-on, rear-end, or side-impact collisions, these accidents most commonly occur when a driver makes a sharp turn while speeding. NHTSA data states that in 2018, 6,514 occupants of passenger cars and light trucks were killed in rollover accidents. Rollover car accidents do not typically involve more than one car, so any lawsuits that may result from a rollover accident are often regarding a manufacturer's negligence in ensuring the vehicle had no defective parts.

Sideswipe Accidents: Sideswipe accidents occur when one car veers from its lane and collides briefly with another car. These types of crashes often happen while a car is changing lanes or attempting to merge, and the driver does not check properly to ensure it is safe to do so. Sideswipe accidents may not seem serious, but they can often be just the beginning of a more severe crash, as a driver's reaction to a sideswipe may cause them to veer into another car or an object like a tree.

Low-Impact Collisions: Low-impact collisions often occur in parking lots and similar places where motorists are driving at low speeds, but have many obstacles to maneuver around. These kinds of accidents typically do not result in injuries for the occupants of the vehicle, but rather property damage (an exception being if a motorist strikes a pedestrian in a parking lot).

Single Vehicle Crashes: Single vehicle accidents occur when one car crashes. This can happen when a car veers off the road and hits a stationary object, if part of the car is defective and malfunctions while driving, or perhaps due to poor weather or road conditions. Even though another car is not involved, single vehicle crashes can still happen as a result of another party's negligence; for example, if the city does not maintain a road well and you crash your car as a result of excessive potholes, the city could be found liable.

Reckless Driving Accidents: Reckless driving is the cause of many devastating car accidents; according to NHTSA data, there were 10,511 deaths from drunk-driving crashes in 2018 alone. Reckless driving is any situation in which a driver willfully disregards the rules of the road and endangers others' safety. Reckless drivers may be impaired by alcohol or drugs, or they may be texting or otherwise distracted. Either way, they pose a threat to others on the road, including other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Car Accident Prevention Tips

Reading about these car accidents is understandably distressing. However, as a driver, there are steps you can take to lessen the risk of a collision.

Wear your seat belt. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2018, more than half of teens and adults who died in motor vehicle crashes were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash. It takes only a couple seconds to buckle up, and wearing a seat belt increases your chances of survival if you were to get into a serious accident.

Don't drive distracted. The NHTSA states that approximately 400,000 people were injured and 2,841 were killed in crashes that involved distracted drivers in 2018. Distracted driving is any activity that takes your attention away from the road, whether it is texting, changing the address on your GPS, or eating while driving. Even just taking your eyes off the road for a few seconds can be dangerous. If the car in front of you stops short and you're not paying attention, you may not be able to stop in time.

Don't speed. According to NHTSA statistics, there were 9,378 speeding-related deaths in 2018. Speed limits are in place for a reason. Not only is it against the law to speed, if you do, you put everyone, including yourself, at increased risk of an accident. Even if you feel like you are justified in speeding because you are late, for example, just think about how much your schedule would be thrown off if you got into a crash.

Exercise caution when parking or leaving a parking space. As mentioned above, low-impact accidents are a common type of car accident. They may not be as severe as rear-end, head-on, or side-impact crashes, but they can happen frequently due to the crowded nature of parking lots. If you are entering or leaving a parking spot, whether in a lot or on the street, make sure you exercise extra caution. There is always a possibility that a pedestrian may dart in front of your moving car or another vehicle will speed through the lot, leading to a collision.

Don't tailgate or follow too closely. Tailgating is a form of aggressive driving. It signals to the person in front of you that you are frustrated with the presumably slower speed at which they are driving. Not only is this frustrating for you and the person in front of you, it is also dangerous. If you follow the car in front of you too closely, and they have to stop suddenly for any reason, you likely won't have enough time to stop and could rear-end them.

Stay alert. Part of driving is being aware that you will likely encounter unexpected situations and that you cannot control other drivers' behavior. Make sure you remain alert while driving so you can be as prepared as possible to react to any potentially dangerous situation that arises.

Although these safety tips should help you prevent a car crash, sometimes a collision is unavoidable. Even if you are driving safely, there is no guarantee others on the road will do the same. In those cases, if you feel like your injuries were caused by the negligence of another driver, a car accident lawyer can help. Fill out our online contact form or call 212-736-5300 to speak to one today.

What to Do If You Have Been Injured in a Car Accident

Even if you are the safest driver on the road, it is possible you found yourself the victim of a car crash and don't know what to do next. Here are the steps you should take in the aftermath of a motor vehicle collision:

  • Get medical attention. Even if you were only involved in a minor fender-bender and feel like you do not have any serious injuries, you should still be examined by a medical professional. Injuries that you think will heal on their own may end up being more serious without treatment, and you will want to have a medical record of your injuries if you decide to bring a personal injury lawsuit.
  • Take photos of the accident scene, if possible. If the area is safe and you feel well enough to move around, you should take pictures of the accident scene. These are helpful not only to submit to insurance, but also as potential evidence in court.
  • Do not admit fault to the other party. The issue of who is at fault or who may have caused the accident is often contentious. Even if you think you may have contributed to causing the accident, you should not admit any kind of fault to the other party, as this could later be used against you if you decide to bring a lawsuit.
  • Call an expert car accident lawyer. If you believe the other party's negligence caused your collision, you may be interested in bringing a personal injury case against them. If so, it is necessary to call a car accident lawyer to discuss your case.

Skilled Litigation in Auto Injury Lawsuits

Our New York car accident lawyers have the knowledge and resources to investigate all types of car accident claims. We've recovered over 100 results exceeding $1,000,000 each for individuals who were injured in serious collisions, including pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, bus passengers, and other motorists. Select car crash results include:

  • $32,756,156 verdict for a 60-year-old veteran who suffered a traumatic brain injury, several severe fractures, and was briefly in a coma after being struck by a reckless driver
  • $22,500,000 settlement for a man who required over 20 surgeries after a head-on collision caused by poorly maintained, icy roads
  • $14,000,000 settlement for a 23-year-old tow truck operator who was driving his motorcycle in Nassau County when he was struck by a left-turning truck, resulting in a below-the-knee amputation of his leg
  • $13,500,000 settlement for a 24-year-old woman who was struck by a commercial vehicle while walking home at night, resulting in catastrophic internal and external injuries
  • $12,000,000 settlement, with $71,643,000 anticipated payout, for a 5-year-old child who was struck by a vehicle that jumped up onto the sidewalk
  • $9,950,000 settlement for a 28-year-old social worker who had to have her left leg amputated above the knee after she was struck by a commercial van that careened into the parking lot where she was standing
  • $9,263,326 jury verdict for a 52-year-old waiter who suffered serious spinal nerve damage as well as knee injuries after the taxi he was sitting in was rear-ended by another taxi
  • $8,800,000 verdict for a grandmother who was struck while walking to pick up her grandchildren from school by a van that ran onto the sidewalk, leaving her with neurologic and cognitive issues
  • $8,000,000 verdict for a 31-year-old rock musician who was thrown from his van after another vehicle rear-ended it; he required multiple surgeries and will need a total knee replacement
  • $7,525,000 settlement in a tragic wrongful death case for the surviving family of a wife and young son who were killed in a side-impact collision with a van

While we cannot guarantee the outcome of your case, we will work hard to ensure your rights are protected and seek maximum compensation for your injuries. To speak to an attorney today about your claim, call 212-736-5300 or fill out our online contact form for a FREE, no-obligation case review. We serve New York and New Jersey.

Se habla español | Мы Говорим по-Русски | Mowimy po Polsku