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Types of Car Accidents

Over the years, we have seen many different types of car accidents and continue to see new types of car accident claims and cases. No matter the exact mechanism of the car accident, all car accidents involve a violent collision between two or more vehicles that, even moving at low speeds, can produce enormous forces and impacts on the persons riding inside the vehicles. Below are examples of the most common injury-causing accidents that we see.

Rear End Accidents and Collisions

The US Department of Transportation’s most recent data indicates that roughly thirty percent (30%) of all car accident injuries occur in rear-end collisions.

These accidents always involve a car being struck from the rear by another driver who cannot stop in time. In Washington, a driver is required by law to keep a safe distance to allow room to stop if a car ahead stops or brakes. Washington courts also presume that a following driver is responsible for any rear-end collision and require that a driver be able to stop before striking a vehicle ahead of him or her, even if the car ahead slams on its brakes.

Distracted drivers are a leading cause of rear-end collisions, accounting for 60% of all rear end collisions according to a 2002 academic study. Cell phone use, including texting and driving, puts a driver in a state where he or she is unlikely to notice when you slow down due to traffic or a red light. Without warning or even braking, you are struck from behind – perhaps even propelled forward into the vehicle in front of you. Drunk drivers are also commonly the cause of rear-end accidents.

When you are in a rear-end collision, the insurance company for the other driver will do everything it can to minimize the nature of the collision. Make sure that you document the damage to your vehicle with lots of photographs. Also be sure to ask the body shop or repair shop to fully investigate any damage to your vehicle, including inside the bumper cover and throughout your vehicle. If your seat backs or items are thrown about inside the vehicle, be sure to document and take pictures.

T-Bone Accidents and Collisions

“T-Bone” refers to the way two cars collide when the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another vehicle to form a “T” shape. If your vehicle is struck on the passenger or driver’s door, it was likely a T-bone type accident. In many instances, a negligent driver will pull directly in front of you from a side street or parking lot and try to cross in front of you. Even when you do your best to avoid the collision, it may be impossible to avoid colliding with the negligence driver.

If you collide with a car that crosses in front of you – whether because it ran a stop sign or red light or flew out in front of you from a driveway or nearby street – the insurance company will always try to argue that you caused the accident, at least in part, by not stopping in time.   We all know that this is nonsense but insurance companies never fail to surprise us. When the insurance company is trying to put the blame on you when you did nothing wrong, you need to fight back by retaining a car accident attorney who can help you find justice in these types of situations.

We also see a lot of T-bone accidents at red lights when a car tries to make a sudden turn in front of you or runs the light completely. If someone tries to make a left-turn in front of you and you strike that vehicle’s side despite your best efforts, don’t be surprised when the other driver’s insurance company tries to make it sound like you did something wrong because you “hit” the other driver’s car.

We also represent drivers who were hit on the side of his or her car by another driver emerging from a driveway or street. In many instances, negligent drivers will pull out without even looking and slam into your side. The sideways impact may cause your vehicle to spin. If you are the victim of a t-bone accident, contact us as soon as possible.

Head-On Collisions

One of the scariest types of collisions is a head-on collision. These collisions usually produce a substantial amount of property damage to both cars. Airbags will usually go off in both vehicles. 18 percent of all traffic fatalities result from head on collisions.

The mechanism for head-on collisions can vary. When a car on a highway crosses the dividing line or median and into the oncoming lanes, it can produce a very high-impact collisions between two vehicles. We also see head-on collisions when vehicles fail to maintain their lanes while making left turns from opposite directions.

As you would expect, head-on collisions often produce severe injuries. Broken noses and facial lacerations are common when striking the airbags or interior of the vehicle. While these types of accidents are less common than rear-end accidents or side impact collisions, the forces involved and severity of the collision account for the large numbers of fatalities and severe injuries suffered in these types of accidents.

Hit-And-Run Collisions and Accidents

One of the most frustrating type of accidents in the hit-and-run. A car slams into you and then, before you can get information from the driver or the police can arrive, the driver takes off. We also include in this category accidents caused by “phantom” drivers who are never identified. These phantom drivers are typically a driver who, for example, runs you off of the road and into a tree or makes an illegal lane change that causes you to run into another car. If there is no physical contact between your vehicle and the at-fault driver’s vehicle, your insurance policy usually requires there to be an independent witness to verify the incident, an important factor to keep in mind and one that we can help you with if you need to track down a witness.

Hit-and-run collisions are one of the top reasons that we always encourage people to sign up for uninsured motorist coverage with their insurance companies. If you or the owner of the vehicle you are in have uninsured motorist coverage, your own insurance company will allow you to bring a claim against it as if it insured the driver who fled the scene or the phantom driver that no one ever caught.

If you are the victim of a hit-and-run collision, contact us immediately. It is imperative that every step is taken to make sure that you are in compliance with your insurance policy and every effort is made to identify the vehicle that caused the incident.

Multiple Vehicle Collisions or Pile-Ups

You are sitting in traffic when suddenly you are hit from behind and propelled into the car ahead of you. That car dominos into the car ahead of it. In less than a second, you are involved in a four-car pile-up. We see this type of accident all too frequently and it is seldom a simple situation to sort out due to the number of parties and insurance policies.

Aside from the shifting blame that may pass around amongst the parties, it is likely that everyone involved will have his or her own insurance carrier involved on some level, be it for property damages reasons or for medical coverage. If the negligent driver caused injuries to the other three drivers or their passengers, everyone will be looking to the negligent driver for compensation. If the negligent driver has a small insurance policy, there may not be enough money to cover everyone’s damages. If you have underinsured motorist coverage, you may end up bringing a claim against your own insurance company if the negligent driver is under-insured.

Bottom line – everyone involved in this accident will hire a car accident attorney and so should you if you are injured. With multiple cars and multiple collisions, questions may arise about how the accident happened. All the problems inherit to any situation involving an insurance company are doubled or tripled because of the number of parties and insurance companies involved. If you are the victim of a multiple vehicle accident, contact us as soon as possible to help you sort through the various policies and persons involved.

Passenger Injuries / Single Car Accidents

If you are an injured passenger in a vehicle and the person driving the car causes an accident or runs off the road, you have the right to pursue compensation from the driver, even if its your friend or family member, husbands and wives included. Many of these claims and cases may involve single car accidents in which a driver does not hit another car but causes injuries to passengers in his or her own car.

If you are a passenger in a car driven by a friend or family member who runs off the road or causes the vehicle to roll, you have a right to pursue the driver for compensation. You also need a car accident lawyer who can help you analyze the relevant insurance policies, including the driver’s policy and your own policy, to determine the available coverage and possible sources of recovery and payment for medical expenses.

Single car accidents can occur in a variety of ways. Drivers may run into objects on the side of the road such as signs, trees, or other standing objects. Leaving the road may also result in cars encountering terrain that causes the vehicle to slide, fall or flip over. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, over 20% of all car accident fatalities were caused by a single vehicle leaving the road and striking something near the road.

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