Car Accident Lawyer
Seven people were injured in a chain reaction collision, including one who suffered a serious head injury. The accident occurred when the driver of a Subaru—who may have been suffering a medical episode at the time—ran a red light and struck three pedestrians in the crosswalk as well as another car. The other car—a Ford Fusion which was waiting to turn left—was pushed into a third vehicle. Four occupants from the vehicles involved, as well as the three pedestrians, were transported to the hospital with injuries. Witnesses stated that one of the pedestrians was lying motionless with an open skull fracture.
In one recent year, more than 6.7 million police-reported traffic crashes took place in the United States, resulting in more than 2.7 million injured people and 36,560 fatalities. Injuries were present in 28 percent of the accidents that occurred.
Types of Car Accidents
There are several different types of car accidents that one can experience. Each type of accident is capable of causing serious injuries or even death. The common types of car accidents include:
- Rear-end collisions: Rear end collisions involve the front of one vehicle colliding with the back of another. With 1.7 million rear-end accidents occurring each year, they’re the most common type of multi-vehicle accident to experience and are often regarded as “minor” accidents. However, with around 1,700 fatalities resulting from rear-end collisions every year and another half a million people injured, this type of accident is far from minor.
- Sideswipe accidents: Sideswipe accidents occur when the side of one vehicle scrapes or collides with the side of another. These accidents often occur due to an improper lane change where the driver fails to ensure that the lane is clear before entering it, or when a passing vehicle attempts to overtake another vehicle but does not get over far enough in the passing lane to do so. This type of accident may also be caused by two vehicles attempting to enter a single travel lane at the same time while traveling in the lanes adjacent to it or when a driver overreacts to a hazard in the road and swerves into another lane of travel.
- Head-on collisions: While only about 2 percent of the crashes that occur in the United States each year are head-on collisions, this type of accident accounts for about 10 percent of all traffic-related crashes. Head-on collisions involve the front of one vehicle striking the front of another vehicle. Often a result of wrong-way driving, these accidents pose a significant risk of severe injury due to a dramatic increase in the energy of the collision caused by the forward motion of each vehicle.
- T-bone collisions: Also known as broadside accidents, side-impact crashes, or side-angle collisions, T-bone accidents involve the front of one vehicle impacting the side of another vehicle. The risk of significant injuries is particularly high for the occupants on the side of the vehicle that was struck. Injuries may also be more severe when there is a size discrepancy between the two vehicles involved in the accident. This type of crash most often occurs in the intersection, where one vehicle fails to yield the right-of-way to another. Side impact collisions accounted for 24 percent of all passenger vehicle occupant deaths from car accidents in one recent year.
- Single vehicle crashes: Single vehicle car accidents are the most common type of car accident to experience. There are two types of single vehicle crashes: on-the-road (OTR) crashes, which often are the result of an accident between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian, bicyclist, or other object, or rolls over on the road due to striking a median; and run-off-road (ROR) crashes, which involve the driver losing control of the vehicle for any reason, resulting in it running off the road where it might rollover or strike an object such as a utility pole or a fence.
- Rollover collisions: Rollover collisions may involve one vehicle, or they may occur in a two-vehicle accident. Some common reasons a car might rollover include: a high center of gravity, such as that present in commercial trucks, SUVs, light pickup trucks and vans, which may cause a top-heavy vehicle to roll when attempting to negotiate a sharp curve or when swerving to avoid an accident; single-vehicle ROR crashes, where the vehicle may roll down an embankment; or an accident in which a car hits a median or other barrier.
- Chain reaction crashes: Chain reaction crashes are accidents that involve three or more vehicles. This type of accident generally occurs when one vehicle strikes another, and one of those two vehicles is pushed into a third vehicle or into oncoming traffic. Multi-car pile ups are chain reaction crashes that involve vehicles and usually occur on interstates, where traffic is traveling at a higher speed and drivers may not be able to stop safely before colliding with other vehicles that are disabled in the roadway.
Causes of Car Accidents
- Speeding: Speeding involves not only driving faster than the posted speed limit, but also driving too fast for the conditions of the road. Speeding not only diminishes the amount of time that a driver has to perceive a hazard, depress his or her brakes, and come to a safe stop, but also increases the amount of time your vehicle needs to come to a safe stop. Speeding also reduces your ability to control your vehicle and reduces the effectiveness of the vehicle’s protective features such as seat belts and airbags. More than 9,000 deaths a year are due to car accidents that were caused by speeding, and it is a contributing factor in about one-quarter of all fatal traffic accidents.
- Distracted driving: In one recent year, 3,166 people died due to an accident caused by a distracted driver. Distractions involve any activity that draws the driver’s eyes from the road, hands from the wheel, and/or mind from the task of driving. Some distractions, such as texting, do all three of these things. NHTSA reports that, in the five seconds it takes for a person driving 55 miles per hour to read or reply to a text while driving, he or she will have driven the length of a football field without looking at the road, steering, or attending to the road.
- Alcohol impairment: One person dies in the nation every 48 minutes due to an alcohol-related crash, resulting in more than 10,000 deaths each year. Alcohol impairment affects functions needed for safe driving, including the ability to track moving objects, the ability to perform two tasks at once, a reduction in coordination, loss of concentration, short-term memory loss, reduced response to emergency driving situations, and reduced ability to maintain a lane or to brake appropriately. Many of these functions begin to lack long before a person reaches the .08 blood alcohol content that is the legal limit to drive.
- Failure to yield: Failure to yield involves running red lights, stop signs, or pulling onto a roadway from a parking lot or driveway. Failure to yield is a common cause of T-bone accidents that occur in intersections. Failure to yield the right-of-way is also the cause of accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians.
- Fatigue: Drowsy driving presents many of the same impairments to function and driving skills as those experienced by alcohol impairment. Most prone to fatigued driving are truck drivers, people who work night shifts, and those with sleep apnea, which is a breathing condition that causes short periods of breathing cessation many times while a person sleeps and results in the person waking up not feeling well rested.
- Inclement weather: Inclement weather presents obvious driving dangers, including low visibility, wet or icy roads, and high winds, all of which may lead to an accident.
- Lack of maintenance or defective auto parts: Failing to maintain your vehicle may result in a breakdown on the roadway, which could cause an accident. Failure to replace defective tail lights may cause another driver to rear-end you, and failure to maintain your tires may cause a tire blowout which can result in loss of vehicle control as well as tire pieces creating debris on the road which may be a hazard to other vehicles. Manufacturers and distributors of auto parts are obligated by law to ensure that these parts are safe and functioning as they should if used properly. Defective auto parts often don’t reveal themselves as such until the vehicle is being driven on the roadway.
Filing a Legal Claim
After an accident, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation from the insurance company of the at-fault driver or others who may have been liable for your accident. To prove liability, you must be able to establish that the driver’s careless or reckless actions resulted in the accident. In addition to the driver of the other car, you may be able to show liability from other parties, including:
- The company that the at-fault driver works for if your accident occurred while he or she was on the job.
- The manufacturer or distributor of defective parts.
- Other drivers whose actions may have been factors in the accident.
- Business establishments who may have over-served the driver alcohol, leading to an alcohol-related crash.
After your accident, your car accident lawyer will look carefully at the details of your case to identify all potential sources of liability.
Important First Steps After a Car Accident
- Stay at the scene. In most states, it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident without at least exchanging insurance and contact information with the other driver. If you leave the scene of an accident in which there was a death or injury, you can be charged with a felony in many states. If your vehicle is blocking the roadway and you’re able to move it, pull it onto the shoulder of the road very close to where the accident occurred.
- Call for help. Check to see if anyone is injured. Call 911, report the accident and request medical assistance for anyone who is injured.
- Exchange information. You will need to exchange information with any other drivers involved in the accident, including your name, contact information, insurance company, insurance policy number, driver’s license number, and make and model of the vehicles involved. Safety tip: Do not allow the other driver to photograph your driver’s license. Providing your street address is also not necessary and can put you at risk of identity theft.
- Get medical treatment. Not all accident injuries present with immediate symptoms. In addition to the inability to feel injuries due to the rush of adrenaline your body experienced during the accident, some injuries feature symptoms that may take a few hours or even a few days to appear. For your own safety, seek a medical exam after a car accident even if you don’t feel hurt.
- Notify your insurance company. Most insurance policies require that you report an accident, even if you aren’t making a claim. Failure to do so could result in the company choosing not to renew your policy.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer is your best option for obtaining a settlement to compensate you for the expenses that you’ve incurred due to your injuries. A personal injury lawyer can advise you on your legal options, help you to establish a value to your case based on the expenses you’ve experienced as well as the impact your injury has had on your life, determine all sources of liability and insurance resources, serve as a contact person for third-party insurance companies and bill collectors during the process, negotiate a settlement on your behalf, and represent you in all court proceedings.
The Car Accident Attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, Are Ready to Help
If a negligent driver injured you in an accident, our experienced car accident lawyers want to help you understand the process of obtaining compensation.
“If it were not for the integral legal team of experts at Jacoby & Meyers I would not be where I am today with my recovery. I highly recommend hiring Jacoby & Meyers should you ever find yourself injured in an accident, and an individual or company needs to be held accountable for their negligence.” -C.J.
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