If you are injured in a car accident, much will be made about who was at fault. The reason for this is to determine who must compensate whom in the event of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Becoming injured in an accident that someone else’s careless, negligent, or reckless actions caused may mean you are eligible for a personal injury claim to compensate you for medical and other expenses, as well as the impact that your injuries have had on your life.
An experienced car accident lawyer at the Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman can explain this process to you. Call us today.
Fault is not always so easy to assign. For example, officials from the National Transportation Safety Board ruled that the Tesla lithium-ion traction battery was partially responsible for a fiery crash that killed two teenage boys. The crash occurred when the 18-year-old driver of the Tesla lost control of the vehicle while driving at 116 miles per hour. The crash resulted in the death of the driver and his teenage front-seat passenger. Both boys were days away from graduating from high school at the time of the accident.
The NTSB noted that the driver’s father had taken the vehicle to a Tesla dealership and placed it in “loaner” mode, thus controlling the speed after the boy had received a speeding ticket two months before the crash for driving 112 miles per hour in a 50 miles per hour zone.
The NTSB ruled that the high rate of speed that the boy was driving at was the primary cause of the crash—but that the battery contributed to the severity of the crash as it caught on fire after it became crash-damaged.
That’s an extreme case, but the point of it is: Don’t assume that you are not eligible to recover compensation after an accident injures you or a loved one—and definitely not on the word of an insurance company representative. Instead, call the Dolman Law Group or Sibley Dolman. Let us listen to you, investigate, and see how we can protect your rights and recover the compensation you deserve.
Types of Car Accidents
The different types of car accidents each pose a risk of injury or even death, depending on the circumstances, including how fast the vehicles were going at the time of the crash, whether the occupants of the vehicle were wearing their seat belts, and the size differential between the cars and objects involved in the collision. Some of the more common types of accidents include:
Head-on collisions: Head-on collisions occur when the front of one vehicle collides with the front of another vehicle. While head-on collisions account for a very small number of accidents across the nation, they are over-represented in the number of fatalities resulting from those accidents. The danger of head-on collisions lies in the speed at which each vehicle is traveling. The forward motion of the vehicles when they collide increases the energy of the impact.
Rear-end accidents: Rear-end accidents occur when the front of one vehicle strikes the rear of another. Rear-end accidents are commonly caused when the following vehicle is traveling too close to the lead vehicle and is unable to stop safely when the lead vehicle suddenly stops or slows. While rear-end accidents are often regarded as minor, there are around 1.7 million rear-end collisions in the U.S. each year, accounting for around 1,700 deaths and half a million injuries.
T-bone collisions: T-bone collisions, also known as broadside or side-angle crashes, occur when the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another. This accident most commonly happens at intersections when one vehicle fails to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle. T-bone collisions tend to be particularly dangerous for occupants sitting on the side of the vehicle that was struck, due to a lack of protection on the sides of the vehicle’s structure.
Sideswipe accidents: Sideswipe accidents occur when the side of one vehicle strikes the side of another. This generally occurs when a vehicle fails to maintain its own lane, drifting or swerving into another traffic lane, or when one driver attempts to change lanes without ensuring that the lane he or she is changing to is clear.
Chain reaction crashes: Chain reaction crashes occur when there are more than two vehicles involved. Often, a two-vehicle crash occurs and the impact of the collision causes one of the vehicles to crash into a third vehicle. On interstates, there may be many vehicles involved in the accident, which is commonly known as a pileup.
Single vehicle accidents: Single-vehicle accidents occur when a car either crashes with an obstacle, such as a median, animal, or even a person on the roadway, or the vehicle runs off of the roadway, often striking guardrails or utility poles. A study revealed that—while most drivers worry about being killed in an accident with another vehicle—the most common type of car accident, and the one that results in more than half of all traffic-related fatalities, is the single vehicle crash.
Causes of Car Accidents
There are also many reasons why car accidents happen, mostly related to human error. Here are some of the top causes of collision:
Speeding: In one recent year, speeding killed more than 9,000 people nationwide, making it one of the most deadly causes of car accidents. Speeding involves not only exceeding the posted speed limit, but also driving too fast for the conditions of the roadway. Speeding is dangerous as it reduces the time a driver has to perceive a danger on the roadway, increases the distance that the vehicle requires to come to a safe stop, and reduces the effectiveness of the vehicle’s protective features, such as seat belts, airbags, and the steel frame.
Distracted driving: Distracted driving poses a major hazard to others on the roadway. There are three types of distractions: manual distractions, which cause the driver to take his or her hands from the wheel; visual distractions, which draw the driver’s eyes from the road; and cognitive distractions, which take the driver’s attention away from the task of driving. Texting is of particular concern, as it results in all three types of distractions. Other common causes of driver distraction include other cell phone use, such as email or social media; eating or drinking; adjusting the vehicle or stereo controls; visiting with other occupants in the vehicle; or external distractions such as billboards, people in other cars, or rubbernecking past other accidents.
Alcohol impairment: When it comes to common causes of car accidents, alcohol impairment is a particularly deadly one, resulting in more than 10,000 deaths a year. In the U.S., a person dies in an alcohol related crash every 48 minutes, and the cost to society of alcohol-related accidents is around $44 billion a year. Alcohol impairment produces deficits in many of the skills a person needs for the safe operation of a motor vehicle, including the ability to track moving targets, to steer and brake effectively, to respond appropriately to emergency driving situations, and to concentrate.
Fatigued driving: Drowsy driving presents many of the same impacts on a person’s skills needed for driving. While any driver is at risk of drowsy driving, those especially prone to the hazards of driving while fatigued are long-haul truck drivers, shift workers, and those who suffer from sleep apnea, which is a breathing condition that causes an individual to temporarily stop breathing many times during sleep. The effect of this condition is often extreme drowsiness, even if the person got a healthy amount of rest.
Confusion/getting lost: Drivers who are lost or who have missed their turn tend to make more errors, such as changing lanes without ensuring that the lane they’re changing to is clear, or turning the wrong way onto a one-way road or a ramp entering the freeway.
Defective car parts: In the article mentioned above, regarding the 2018 Tesla accident in Florida, the battery on the vehicle was found to have increased the severity of the crash. Manufacturers and distributors of auto parts are required to ensure that those parts are safe for use, when used as instructed on the product’s label. Those who fail to do so can be found liable for the injuries and deaths that result from the part’s malfunction.
Lack of maintenance: A poorly maintained vehicle is a dangerous vehicle. Certain parts can malfunction due to lack of maintenance and cause the driver to lose control of his or her vehicle. Tires are one of these parts. When a tire blows, it causes the vehicle to pull dramatically to the side in which the blowout occurs. Additionally, the pieces of the tire can create a hazard to other drivers by either striking other vehicles or producing debris on the roadway. Disabled vehicles on the side of the road are also hazardous, as they produce a distraction to other drivers.
Common Injuries Associated with Car Accidents
Nearly every part of the body can become injured in a car accident, depending on the circumstances of the crash. Some of these injuries can be life-threatening if not life-altering. Some common injuries include:
Brain injuries: Motor vehicle accidents are one of the top causes of traumatic brain injury, which occurs due to a sudden jolt or blow to the head. Brain injuries can result in death, and may also result in permanent, life-changing injuries. The brain is divided into several segments, all of which control certain functions in the body. Depending on the severity of the injury and the portion of the brain that was damaged, those living with brain injuries may experience deficits in memory, ability to control emotions, the ability to communicate verbally with others, and movement that is balanced and coordinated.
Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries, along with brain injuries, are among the most serious and consequential. The spinal cord extends from the base of the skull all the way to the lower back, near the waist. There are four parts of the spine: the cervical spine (neck), the thoracic spine (upper back), the lumbar spine (middle back), and the sacral region (lower back). The higher up the injury occurs, the more serious the injury. Damage to the cervical spine may result in tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, which is loss of sensation and function to all of the limbs, as well as the chest, torso, and pelvis. Injuries occurring lower on the spine, in the thoracic or lumbar region may result in paraplegia, which is loss of function and sensation to the legs and pelvis. Currently, there is no cure for spinal cord injuries. Prompt medical attention and thorough treatment are key in retaining as much function below the injury as possible.
Broken bones: Broken bones seem simple—just set them and let them heal. However, they can lead to loss of function in a limb, chronic pain, and can even place the patient at risk of infection if the bone protruded through the skin, or internal damage, if the jagged fragments of bone make contact with internal organs, such as is often the case with broken ribs.
Burns: Hot metal, caustic chemicals, and the potential for a vehicle to catch on fire following an accident all make burns a common injury for car accident victims. In addition to producing scarring which may require skin grafts to repair, burns also increase the risk of infections and can cause impaired breathing if the burn is located near the airway.
Soft tissue injuries: Whiplash is a type of soft tissue injury that is often considered “minor.” However, patients who suffer whiplash and other soft tissue injuries often struggle with chronic pain long after the injury has healed.
Amputated limbs: In severe crashes, an individual may lose a limb that is torn or crushed by jagged, heavy metal. Limb amputations may also occur when treating the injury medically, in cases where the limb is too damaged to repair.
Call Our Car Accident Attorneys After Your Car Crash
A car accident generally occurs in a matter of seconds. However, the consequences of injuries suffered in a car accident may last a lifetime.
Talk to a car accident lawyer about your accident to discover if compensation is available to help pay for the enormous expenses your injuries have caused. You can easily reach Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) or by contacting us online. We look forward to helping you.
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