What are the most common types of motor vehicle accidents? Each year, millions of Americans drive billions of highway miles, commute to work, travel for vacations, transport goods in commercial vehicles, and use their vehicles just to get from place to place in cities and rural areas.
The United States has optimized individual transport, with the vast majority of ways to get around being in a motor vehicle such as a car. With so many variables, accidents happen. Due to highway speeds, sharing the roads with other drivers, and road conditions contributing to collisions, sometimes a routine day on the road can turn into a nightmare.
Weather conditions, distracted drivers, drugs and alcohol, and even negligent commercial drivers can compound the damage in a vehicle collision. Once the first responders have left the scene of the accident and taken the survivors to the hospital for treatment, a long and stressful path has just begun.
The process is hardly simple. Not only will you have to contend with recovering from injuries, but you will also face the time-consuming and frustrating experience of fighting insurance companies, filing claims, and possibly taking your case to court to fight for compensation. Hiring an car accident attorney can remove much of the stress in this process, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
Most Common Types of Motor Vehicle Accidents
Many different factors contribute to vehicle accidents. Many of which can be prevented with safer driving practices, obeying the rules of the road, and adhering to laws created to protect motorists from accidents. Speeding, driving while intoxicated, operating a defective vehicle, and even distractions such as texting and driving have proved to lead to serious incidents.
Whether it is poor road conditions, weather, or the hazards of sharing the road with other drivers who shouldn’t pilot thousands of pounds of metal and glass at high speeds, vehicle accidents can permanently injure or even kill.
RURAL VS. URBAN
Recent statistics have shown that 43 percent of vehicle accident deaths happened in rural locations nationwide. In more urbanized states such as Florida and Illinois, vehicle crash deaths were 68 percent in urban areas. Less densely urbanized states such as Wyoming and Montana leaned more towards rural accident fatalities.
Location plays a major role in the types of accidents that people can encounter. With fewer people on the road at once, vehicle vs. vehicle accidents might be less common in rural areas than in cities, and accidents involving animal strikes might be almost non-existent in urban areas.
WHAT LIMITED THE DAMAGE?
Safety equipment required by federal law has limited the fatalities and serious injuries in motor vehicle accidents. Seat belts, airbags, crumple zones, and other safety features have been designed to protect drivers and passengers.
Laws regulating speed, requirements for extreme weather driving such as chain laws, and enforcing a functional vehicle also play their part in preventing serious accidents. With all of that in place, however, thousands of people die each year or are seriously injured in accidents nationwide.
Vehicle versus Vehicle Collisions
The most common type of accident deserves its own section due to the various causes and situations involved. Multiple vehicle accidents comprise the highest number of collisions. These types of crashes aren’t just limited to car vs. car. Other common types of multiple-vehicle accidents include truck, motorcycle, and even bus crashes. Here is a look at the different types of vehicle vs. vehicle crashes.
REAR END COLLISION
The rear-end collision is at the top of the list of multiple-vehicle crashes. A rear-end collision occurs when two vehicles are moving in the same direction, and the leading vehicle suddenly stops, giving the following vehicle very little time to react and stop without crashing into the back of it.
The injuries sustained by occupants of both vehicles are often severe. The safety features of your vehicle can only do so much against the laws of physics. Many victims of a rear-end collision suffer whiplash, traumatic brain injuries, and serious trauma. When trucks are involved in a rear-end collision, the results are severe and often fatal.
Unlike the direct impact of one vehicle striking another from behind, angled collisions are more varied. Being broadsided, or T-boned, is considered an angled collision, which directs a lot of force from one vehicle to the other. Fender benders at intersections, impacts caused by one vehicle trying to occupy the same space as another when both are moving, are also included. Crumple zones, airbags, and seatbelts limit injury due to these types of crashes.
With either a moving vehicle cutting past a stationary vehicle or while both are moving, vehicle damage is more common, and injuries are typically less serious than the previous collisions. But that isn’t to say they are rarely life-changing or serious, especially with truck vs. car accidents and motorcycle accidents.
Luckily, these types of crashes are the least common, requiring two vehicles to move at speed and collide from opposite directions. Very common in rural areas, mainly due to intoxicated drivers, or drivers operating their vehicles at night without functioning headlamps, head-on collisions are often fatal and usually serious.
Like the rear-end collision, the head-on directs a lot of force unidirectionally, and both vehicles are at the mercy of the laws of physics and inertia. The human body cannot withstand those forces without serious injury.
Vehicle versus Stationary Object
Not all accidents require two motor vehicles to strike each other. Sometimes moving vehicles encounter stationary objects. When a vehicle in motion collides with an object, the forces generated by the impact still affect the occupants. The resulting trauma can reveal itself as broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, loss of limb, lacerations, internal bleeding, and ruptured organs.
Though not always, collisions with stationary objects can usually be avoided and often happen due to excessive speed, hazardous driving conditions (such as weather or damaged roads), and distracted driving. Sometimes collisions of this type happen when avoiding an accident with another vehicle or animal. Poorly marked obstructions are also contributors to these types of crashes.
Here are some common objects involved in these types of crashes:
- Utility poles
- Construction pits
- Debris on the road
Surprisingly common, especially in rural areas, animal strikes differ from fixed object crashes because animals can be unpredictable around moving vehicles. Collisions with large wildlife such as deer, moose, and other large ungulates are more common in rural settings, whereas dogs, coyotes, and other smaller animals might be common in cities.
Larger animals can cause serious damage and even fatalities if hit. Horses pulling wagons and buggies fall within this category. Hitting any sized animal on a motorcycle will almost always result in serious injury.
Not all accidents require hitting another vehicle or object. Speed is often a factor in these types of accidents, and more often than not, the actual road itself becomes the hazard. The result can be a vehicle losing control and flipping or winding up on its top or sides.
The forces inside the vehicle are incredible, and even with airbags and restraints, the occupants might be tossed around and injured by other objects inside.
With flooding, vehicles might become disabled, and the occupants might be stranded or risk drowning or being swept away.
Vehicle versus Pedestrian
Without the protection of a motor vehicle, pedestrian-related impacts almost always result in severe injuries to the pedestrian. Along the same lines, even though they are required to share the road the same as a motor vehicle, bicycle vs. car accidents are also serious for similar reasons.
Vehicles provide a profile that allows other drivers to see each other more easily. Without a car, pedestrians and bicyclists are at the disadvantage of not being seen, and at just about any speed, they risk severe injury and even death against a car.
It’s worth mentioning that railroad collisions are extremely dangerous, and regardless of the size of your vehicle, from truck to car and everything in between, almost no vehicle can withstand the force of a collision with a train. Railroad crossings have made things safer.
Stalled cars and trucks on the tracks. Loose banding and chains can still damage bystanders and vehicles too close to the tracks. Derailments are less common, but the debris thrown loose from cargo and train cars can impact a wide area with almost no option for escape.
The Process of Dealing With a Motor Vehicle Accident
If you are in a collision, it is best to remain calm, treat any injuries, and seek medical attention.
Remember these three important things:
- Do not leave the scene of an accident
- Do not assume responsibility for the accident
- See a doctor.
You must know your rights and expenses after the dust settles. Insurance companies often lowball victims of accidents with the bare minimum of compensation. Consult a lawyer before agreeing to accept any settlement amount from an insurance company.
A lawyer can get a higher amount to compensate for losses and damages. They may use any helpful information at their disposal for leverage in negotiating with insurance companies.
The aftermath of an accident is an exhausting and challenging process.
Not only will you likely be looking at replacing your property or having it repaired, but there are the effects of surviving the accident to contend with.
- Medical bills: From emergency room expenses to surgeries and hospitalization, the bills will start to roll in, and insurance might not cover much. Motor vehicle accidents result in billions of dollars in expenses each year.
- Lost income and future income: The time you miss from work might be temporary or a permanent life change. Either way, your income will suffer, and you may face expenses with a reduced income
- Physical rehabilitation: Some injuries require physical therapy and rehabilitation to get you as close to normal physical performance as possible
- Vocational rehabilitation: Loss of motor and cognitive function might require you to seek other employment. This process might be expensive and require changing professions to support you and your family.
- Prosthetics: Loss of limbs, an eye, or other body parts may require a prosthetic replacement or other disability access such as ramps or a wheelchair. These devices are expensive and often cost-prohibitive without the proper financial support.
- Pain management: Surgeries after an accident might result in chronic pain and the need to manage that pain indefinitely.
- Cognitive disability: Loss of long and short-term memory, sensory perception, and even your ability to maintain your cognitive thought process are possible when it comes to traumatic brain injuries. This may result in permanent disability and reduced quality of life to support yourself and your loved ones.
- Death: Survivors of an accident are left with putting the pieces of their lives back together and dealing with the absence of loved ones who played a big part in their lives and financial stability.
Contact an Attorney After a Motor Vehicle Accident Injury
If you have been in a motor vehicle accident, your rights need to be protected for your quality of life and to provide for your family and loved ones. As you are healing, you will face plenty of difficult, if not downright impossible, challenges without help.
Hiring an attorney is crucial when navigating the legal process, filing claims, and having someone fight an insurance company for the compensation you deserve. A lawyer can take the information gathered about your accident and use it to argue your case at the negotiation table for a settlement, or provide the option to take it to court to be tried before a judge if necessary.
Most personal injury cases may get settled out of court, but your attorney will have a better idea of what to expect and how to leverage the information at hand to fight for damages in your case. An attorney makes it all easier, taking the stress off you while you recover, and that can be worth so much to your emotional and mental well-being in its own right.
Contact a personal injury lawyer today if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident. The worst is over, but the fight has just begun. An attorney takes the stress out of dealing with the legal details, allowing you to focus on recovery and getting on with the rest of your life to the best of your ability.