Crash victims could face many different types of car accidents. Each occurs in specific ways and can lead to unique injuries. The type of crash could help determine who bears legal responsibility and dictate the evidence necessary to support your claim against the at-fault driver. Read on to learn more about crashes, what happens when a distracted driver causes a collision, and how commercial vehicle accident cases differ.
Negligence is the most common cause of car accidents. One driver violates a traffic law, and it leads to a crash. Those involved may suffer injuries. Understanding how the collision occurred can prove significant, as it can show who bears fault for the accident. Additionally, depending on the accident, you may face certain types of injuries common to those categories of crashes. For more information, reach out to an Augusta car accident lawyer.
Rear-end accidents often rank among the most common types of collisions. The rear driver almost always bears fault. They follow too closely or fail to slow down when traffic in front of them does. This causes them to run into the rear of the vehicle in front of them.
At intersections, these often prove relatively low-speed fender benders. However, they can cause serious injuries. Whiplash and other neck and back injuries happen commonly. This can lead to chronic pain and disability. At higher speeds, occupants are at greater risk of major neck and spinal cord injuries.
In many cases, rear-end collisions require less documentation than other types of crashes. Since the rear driver almost always bears liability, the insurer could agree to pay out without as much deliberation as you may see in many other accident cases. Of course, this does not always happen, and you may still want to work with a lawyer to recover a fair payout.
While crashes can cause serious injuries, many consider head-on collisions the most dangerous. This is because of the multiplication of forces when two vehicles traveling toward one another collide. Despite the safety features in the front of modern cars, head-on collisions still cause serious injuries.
Possible injuries in head-on accidents include concussions and traumatic brain injuries, burns, limb injuries, crush injuries, spinal cord injuries, fractures, internal injuries and bleeding, severe lacerations, and more. Victims often require treatment in Level I trauma centers when possible.
These accidents often occur because of serious mistakes or misjudgments behind the wheel. A driver going the wrong way on an entrance ramp, interstate, divided highway, or one-way street can cause them. Poor judgment when passing or failing to maintain a lane on a two-lane road can cause these crashes, too. They generally bear liability if the driver was in the wrong place when the accident occurred.
In a rollover, a vehicle turns and lands on its side or top, or it could flip completely and land on the tires. These flips exert extreme forces on the vehicle as well as its occupants. Rollover accidents occur when one driver hits another, a vehicle trips over an object, a driver makes a maneuver too quickly, or the driver runs off the road. Many are single-car incidents, although other drivers could cause them.
The injuries in a rollover accident depend greatly on what happened. For instance, speed, the number of turns in the rollover crash, and the use of safety belts all play a role in the injuries’ severity. These injuries can include head trauma, traumatic brain injuries, crush injuries, spinal cord injuries, and more. Ejection happens commonly in these cases and can lead to fatal injuries.
Proving negligence in a rollover can prove more difficult than in other crashes, but you can do so. In some cases, your attorney can even prove liability when another driver caused your rollover but made no contact with your car. In addition, those tasked with designing or maintaining the road could sometimes share responsibility. These cases can be complex and can greatly benefit from the help of an attorney with experience.
A sideswipe accident can occur when a driver fails to clear an adjacent lane before merging or moving into it. As a result, the sides of the vehicles collide, causing damage to each car. In addition, the driver of one or both cars can lose control and slam into highway dividers, guardrails, or other vehicles.
The driver who moves into an occupied lane bears liability in these crashes. This can be difficult to prove, but eyewitness statements, accident reconstruction, physical evidence, and video (when available) can offer key pieces of evidence in these cases.
Because speed plays a central role in the severity of these collisions and the risk of secondary damage, almost any type of injury could happen. Injuries could range from minor bumps and bruises to catastrophic and fatal injuries.
Drunk, Distracted, and Drowsy Driving Accidents
While many accidents occur because a driver makes a seemingly minor mistake behind the wheel, others occur because that driver makes a bad decision that impairs their ability to drive and operate their vehicle safely. Drowsy or distracted driving can substantially reduce a driver’s ability to safely attend to driving tasks. Drivers who cause accidents because they chose to drink or use drugs before getting behind the wheel could face serious consequences in the criminal court system.
Receiving a ticket or facing charges related to a traffic accident has no direct effect on a civil case for damages. The evidence used to support a criminal charge could play a role in helping you prove negligence and liability, though.
Drunk or Drugged Driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), someone passes away in a drunk driving crash every 45 minutes in the United States. That comes to around 32 deaths daily. This makes drunk and drugged driving a leading contributor to fatal traffic accidents. Unfortunately, it also leads to many injuries.
When a drunk or drugged driver causes your crash, you can pursue a case against them in civil court. While the driver could face criminal charges, the outcome of their driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge does not matter. You can seek compensation based on their negligence regardless of the verdict or if they even face charges.
Many think distracted driving only refers to texting behind the wheel. However, innumerable distractions can take a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off the task ahead.
According to NHTSA, in one recent year, distracted driving contributed to:
- 9 percent of fatal accidents
- 15 percent of injury collisions
- 15 percent of all police-reported crashes
In addition, distracted driving is likely highly underreported. After all, it can prove difficult or impossible to show that a driver’s mind was elsewhere or they were looking away from the road when a collision occurred.
However, proving distracted driving is not necessary to recover compensation in these crashes. Instead, the other driver bears fault based on the traffic law violated that led directly to the crash. For example, looking down at a telephone could lead a driver to run a red light. While proving they were texting would support the claim, we must show that running the red light caused your crash.
When a drowsy driver gets behind the wheel, they could fall asleep, make careless mistakes, or cause other issues. Some experts compare sleepy drivers to those under the influence of alcohol. Unfortunately, it can prove just as dangerous. This is especially prevalent among professional drivers who have strict deadlines to meet and employers who demand they continue driving despite violating hours of service regulations for the trucking industry.
Commercial Vehicle Accidents
When a commercial vehicle causes a collision, the victims often suffer serious injuries. Work trucks, delivery vans, and tractor-trailers are all larger and heavier than most passenger cars. This makes these crashes very dangerous.
Just because these drivers are professionals does not mean they cause fewer collisions. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that in one recent year, there were 4,014 fatalities following commercial truck collisions. Of these, 68 percent were occupants of passenger vehicles. This number is almost 30 percent higher than the fatality rate in these accidents a decade before.
Liability in Commercial Vehicle Accidents
When a truck driver causes a crash, the driver usually does not prove the only liable party. This differs from how most states handle other types of traffic accidents. When a driver works for an employer and a crash occurs, that employer also bears liability.
For example, many states recognize the vicarious liability of trucking companies that employ commercial drivers. When one of their drivers violates laws and industry regulations and causes an accident, the employer also bears liability for any injuries.
Uber & Lyft Rideshare Accidents
A rideshare company does not consider its drivers employees; they are typically independent contractors. This changes how vicarious liability laws apply in most states. However, each rideshare company does provide auto liability coverage for drivers any time they sign on to the app to work for the company.
This makes it possible to seek compensation if you suffer injuries:
- While riding as an Uber or Lyft passenger
- When a rideshare driver hits your car
- If the driver hits you as a pedestrian or bicyclist
Building a Car Accident Case and Seeking Compensation
Victims hurt in a crash caused by another driver can generally hold that driver legally responsible for their injuries, expenses, and losses in one of two ways:
- Suing the driver in civil court
- Filing an insurance claim based on the driver’s auto liability coverage
Negotiating a settlement with the insurance company usually proves the fastest and easiest way to get compensation. However, you typically do not want to try to navigate an injury accident claim on your own. Instead, having a lawyer on your side lets you focus on healing and returning to normal activities.
A car accident lawyer can handle:
- Communication with the insurance company
- Gathering evidence to prove negligence and liability
- Determining a fair settlement range
- Filing the claim and demanding just compensation
- Negotiating with the insurer
- Suing as necessary to seek the maximum compensation
Car accident attorneys generally work based on contingency fees. You should not have to pay anything upfront. They can explain this process in detail during your initial consultation. They can also answer all your questions and assess your case.
Discuss Your Car Accident With a Personal Injury Attorney Today
Most car accident lawyers provide free case reviews for accident victims. In addition, you may have options for seeking compensation after another driver causes a crash. Depending on your state’s laws, this could include filing a liability claim or lawsuit. Your Augusta personal injury lawyer can answer questions, assess your case, and offer possible strategies for recovering money based on your expenses and losses.