Today’s motor vehicles are safer than ever thanks to the advanced safety features that come equipped in most newer cars. Yet, despite technology such as automatic emergency braking (AEB), forward-collision warning (FCW), lane-departure warning (LDW), and other accident avoidance systems, car accidents continue to occur on roads and highways across the United States. Although even minor fender-benders can be extremely stressful, serious accidents can cause major property damage and catastrophic injuries. Most car accidents can be prevented if motorists make safety a priority and avoid unsafe driving behavior such as distracted driving, drunk driving, and reckless driving. However, even the most responsible motorists cannot control how other people drive, so it is important that motorists understand some of the common causes of car accidents and what to do if they are involved in a serious accident. A dedicated and experienced car accident lawyer will assist car accident victims and ensure that they receive the financial compensation they deserve.
What are the Most Common Types of Car Accidents?
Car accidents can occur on busy highways, at intersections, or even on quiet residential streets. When motorists are not paying attention to their surroundings or are not following the rules of the road, there is an increased risk of a serious car accident that can cause serious injuries and property damage. The following are examples of some of the most common types of car accidents:
- Rear-end accidents: These are among the most common types of car accidents and can result in serious injuries, including whiplash, if the motorist who rear-ends the other car is traveling at a high speed. In most cases, the driver who rear-ends the other car will be held liable for the resulting injuries and property damage.
- T-bone car accidents: Also known as side-impact collisions, these accidents occur when the front of one vehicle crashes into the side of another car. These accidents can be extremely dangerous if the vehicle that crashed into the side of the other car was traveling at a high speed. In most cases, these accidents occur at busy intersections. Although the occupants of both vehicles can suffer serious injuries, it is often the occupants of the vehicle that was hit who suffer the most serious injuries, including broken bones, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and even fatalities. If the motorists were not wearing their seat belts, the impact of the accident can cause the occupants to be thrown from the vehicle.
- Left-turn accidents: Motorists making a left turn must yield to oncoming traffic before completing the turn. If a motorist misjudges how fast an oncoming vehicle is traveling or tries to sneak in a left turn before the traffic light turns red, it can result in a left-turn accident. These can result in very serious head-on collisions or side-impact accidents.
- Wrong-way accidents: These are potentially devastating accidents that can occur when a motorist becomes confused or distracted and enters an on-ramp or off-ramp going in the wrong direction.
- Vehicle rollovers: These often involve vehicles such as SUVs that have a higher center of gravity. When a motorist makes a sharp turn or loses control of the vehicle, it can flip onto its side or roll over multiple times. The occupants of the vehicle often suffer very serious injuries because of the violent nature of these accidents. In some cases, they can result in fatalities, particularly if the occupants were not wearing their seat belt at the time of the accident.
- Sideswipe collisions: These accidents occur when a motorist hits another car that is in close proximity to his or her vehicle. Sideswipe collisions often occur when a motorist is distracted or if another vehicle is in the vehicle’s blind spots. Either way, it can result in severe injuries, particularly if the accident occurs on a busy, high-speed highway.
- Head-on collisions: These are by far the most devastating, and often fatal, accidents that occur when the front of one vehicle crashes into the front of another car, often at a high speed. Head-on collisions often occur when the motorist is distracted, drowsy, or impaired and veers into oncoming traffic.
- Multiple vehicle accidents: As the name suggests, these accidents occur when a collision involves three or more vehicles. It is often a serious traffic accident that causes a great deal of confusion, property damage, serious injuries, and fatalities.
- Single vehicle accidents: Oftentimes, these occur when a motorist is attempting to avoid hitting something that appears in the road, such as an animal or some type of debris. Inclement weather can also make roads hazardous and increase the risk of a single-vehicle accident. Unfortunately, the driver may lose control of the vehicle and hit a guardrail, a pole, or a tree.
What are the Common Causes of Car Accidents?
When motorists have a better understanding of the common causes of car accidents, they can take steps to avoid them. The following are examples of some of the most common causes of car accidents, many of which are entirely preventable:
- Distracted driving: When a driver’s attention is away from the road for even a few seconds, there is an increased risk of a serious collision. Common distractions include talking or texting on the phone, adjusting the radio or GPS navigation system, reaching for something in the back seat, and interacting with other passengers in the car. It takes an average of five seconds to read or send a text, during which time the motorist’s eyes are off the road. If the motorist is traveling at a speed of 55 mph, this is equivalent to driving the entire length of a football field blindfolded. Distracted driving can be proved by obtaining cell phone records, reviewing traffic cameras, and examining the time of phone usage.
- Drunk/impaired driving: Motorists who drive while under the influence of alcohol are seven times more likely to be involved in a car accident than sober drivers. Slowed reflexes, decreased muscle control, and impaired judgment are just a few reasons why drunk driving is so dangerous. In the United States, over 10,000 people are fatally injured each year in preventable drunk driving accidents.
- Drowsy driving: Although motorists may not consider this to be a dangerous driving behavior, safety officials believe it is just as dangerous as drunk driving if the motorist has been awake for 18 consecutive hours or more. Drowsiness can cause the driver to have trouble focusing or remembering directions. It can also cause impaired judgment and decision-making. In extreme cases, the driver may fall asleep at the wheel.
- Reckless driving: Examples of reckless driving include speeding, tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes, cutting off other drivers, and any other driving behavior that is considered aggressive or endangers other motorists in the vicinity.
- Road rage: According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), road rage occurs when a motorist uses his or her vehicle as a dangerous weapon toward another driver. Examples include hitting another vehicle with his or her car, running another vehicle off the road, and using a weapon to cause physical harm to another driver.
What Types of Injuries Do Car Accidents Cause?
Car accidents can cause a wide range of injuries from minor cuts and scrapes to TBIs and fatalities. Depending on the nature and severity of the accident, the following are examples of common injuries that serious car accidents can cause:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Bruises and contusions
- Broken bones
- Chest injuries
- Arm and leg injuries
- Neck injuries, including whiplash
- Spinal cord injuries, including partial and total paralysis
- Head injuries, including concussions and TBIs
- Severe burns
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
What Steps Should I Take after a Car Accident?
Knowing what steps to take immediately following a car accident can make the situation far less stressful and overwhelming, particularly when emotions are running high. Motorists are urged to keep the following tips in mind if they are ever involved in a car accident:
- Call 911: Even if the accident is relatively minor, it is important to call 911 so dispatch can send a police officer to the accident scene. If any of the motorists suffered injuries, dispatch will also send emergency medical technicians. The officer at the scene will fill out a police report, which will provide important evidence when pursuing an accident claim.
- Check for injuries: Car accidents can cause a range of injuries, from minor cuts to serious head injuries. If a motorist’s injuries appear relatively minor, they should move to a safe spot until help arrives. If a motorist appears to have a head or neck injury, they should not be moved unless not doing so puts the victim in more danger.
- Never leave the scene of an accident: Motorists must remain at the scene until police arrive. This is particularly true if the accident caused serious injuries. If a motorist flees the scene before police arrive at the scene, he or she could face fit-and-run charges.
- Move the vehicles: If the vehicles involved in the car accident are blocking traffic, they should be moved to the shoulder or outside the flow of traffic if possible. This will prevent a major traffic jam that can make it difficult for police and first responders to get to the scene as quickly as possible.
- Share information: The motorists involved in the accident must share important information, including driver’s license number, insurance information, and contact information. When speaking to the other motorist, one should not apologize, even if it seems like the polite thing to do.
- Collect evidence: When pursuing a personal injury claim, the injured motorist will need to collect as much evidence as possible. This will help prove how the accident happened, and which driver was responsible for causing the accident. Motorists are urged to provide a general description of the accident and take detailed notes on the make, model, and year of the other vehicle, as well as the license plate number. It is also highly recommended that motorists take pictures of the damage to the vehicles, skid marks on the road, injuries, debris in the road, and anything else that could help determine fault.
- Talk to witnesses: If there were witnesses in the vicinity who saw the accident happen, they should be asked if they would be willing to provide a statement. Their contact information should be obtained as well.
- Cooperate with the insurance company: Motorists are required to cooperate with their insurance company’s investigation, which means answering their questions honestly and providing any evidence that was collected at the accident scene. The only exception to this rule is if the insurance company wrongfully denies the claim. A car accident lawyer will assist the motorist with every phase of the claims process and secure the best possible settlement.
How Do I Prove that the Other Driver was at Fault?
According to the NHTSA, the majority of car accidents are caused by human error. When a motorist is injured in a car accident, the injured party may be entitled to financial damages if they can prove that the other motorist’s negligence caused the injuries. In order to establish negligence, the victim must be able to prove the following elements:
- Duty: The injured party must be able to prove that the other driver owed him or her a duty of care. All drivers have a legal obligation to exercise a reasonable duty of care, meaning that they are expected to follow the rules of the road and keep their vehicle in safe working order.
- Breach: The next step involves proving that the other driver breached this duty. For example, if the driver was distracted, under the influence of alcohol, speeding, or driving aggressively, he or she breached the duty of care.
- Causation: Next, the injured motorist must prove that the breach of duty caused the injuries. If the negligent driver caused an accident but there were no injuries involved, the driver who was hit will not be entitled to damages.
- Damages: Finally, to recover financial compensation, the breach of duty must have caused quantifiable financial harm to the victim.
What Damages May I Receive if I am Injured in a Car Accident?
When a car accident causes serious injuries, this can be physically, financially, and emotionally devastating for the injured party. A successful personal injury claim will ensure that the injured victim receives the financial compensation for the costs associated with the accidents. The following are damages that the injured victim is entitled to receive:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Our Savannah Car Accident Attorneys Advocate for Victims of All Types of Car Accidents
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a car accident, do not hesitate to contact our car accident attorneys in Savannah. Our experienced and dedicated legal team will conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident and determine whether negligence was involved. We will assist you with every step of the claims process and ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. We will not stop fighting for you until you are completely satisfied. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. We are located in Springfield, Georgia, and we proudly serve clients in Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.