California reports all types of car accidents, from the mild straightforward cases to the most severe accidents. Understanding the dangers on our roads could help you avoid some of these accidents and the resulting injuries. Additionally, understanding the various types of car accidents could help you determine and protect your rights if you’re involved in a car accident. In this article, we’ll discuss some of those car accidents that are considered catastrophic. If you are involved in any of these accidents, it could help if you engage the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to help you pursue compensation.

Types of Car Accidents Considered Catastrophic

A catastrophic car accident is any type of accident in which victims incur life-altering injuries. Unfortunately, there’s no conclusive definition of what a catastrophic injury is. But generally, it would be any type of accident that affects the head, spine, or brain of a human being. An accident that causes injuries like those would be considered catastrophic.

California records all manner of car accidents. Some are minor straightforward accidents in which victims do not incur significant injuries or damages. Others are more serious and others severe, especially devastating physical injuries and loss of lives. Catastrophic car accidents are common. They leave a trail of destruction behind, including bodily injuries which change the lives of affected victims. Some types of car accidents that are considered catastrophic in California are:

Rollover Vehicle Accidents

Rollover accidents occur when a vehicle flips and rolls. Most rollovers involve a single car, though in some cases, multiple cars could be affected. Several factors cause them. For example, tripped rollovers occur when an obstacle trips a vehicle’s tires on the road, like a steep slope or large stone. Faulty tires could also cause the driver to lose control of their car, resulting in a rollover.

Rollovers are pretty severe, resulting in catastrophic injuries and fatalities. Accidents like these do not spare drivers and passengers as some are crushed inside while others are ejected. That results in permanent and traumatic injuries for the survivors.

The most common catastrophic injuries in rollover accidents affect the following major parts of the body:

The head — A severe blow to the head could result in trauma to the brain, which is a life-altering injury common with most catastrophic car accidents. Victims of traumatic brain injuries may require life-long support to perform basic life tasks.

Neck and spinal cord — A severe injury to your neck or spinal cord might change your life for good. Severe neck injuries cost a lot of money to treat and could take a long time to heal. Damage to your spinal cord might affect your mobility and ability to speak.

Limbs — Most severe car accidents like rollovers leave you with broken limbs and bones. Doctors may find it hard to save a severely fractured limb. Therefore, you might need an artificial limb to perform your everyday tasks.

Car Fires

Car fires are not very common, but they happen. When they do, they have devastating consequences. When a car catches fire, its occupants may not be quick enough to exit the car in time. Others incur severe injuries while trying to escape from the burning car. Thus, occupants sustain severe injuries and could even lose their lives as a result.

Car fires could be a result of several factors, including:

Leaks in the car’s fuel system — A leaking fuel system is hazardous, as gasoline is the most flammable and corrosive fluid vehicles carry. It can quickly catch fire, even from a minor spark.

Failure in the vehicle’s electrical system — The electrical system in a car serves the entire vehicle, from its hood to the rest of the vehicle, including under the carpet, door, and also through the seats. Faults in wiring or bad battery could quickly cause a fire that could ignite the entire vehicle.

Car accidents — A good number of car fires occur after a severe car accident. Even though vehicle manufacturers include crumple zones to protect sensitive parts of a car like an engine, gas tank, and battery in the event of an accident, severe car accidents could cause leaks in fluids that could result in fires.

Most injuries resulting from car fires are catastrophic. The most common of these are burns and toxic exposure. Toxic exposure could result in permanent damage to your respiratory system and lungs. The most critical burns from car fires could result in permanent scarring, amputations, and death.

Airbag Accidents

Vehicle manufacturers install airbags to protect motorists and their passengers in case of a crash. When an accident occurs, airbags deploy immediately to protect the driver and passengers from crashing on the vehicle’s dashboard, steering wheel, or windshield.

However, they are reported as one of the leading causes of catastrophic injuries in car accidents. Airbags are designed to deploy quickly as soon as the vehicle detects a crash. However, as they do so, they cause severe abrasions and sometimes burns. Sometimes they cause even more severe injuries, especially in severe impacts, and other times death.

Airbags deploy automatically. Therefore, drivers or passengers have no way of controlling how fast or forceful their airbag will discharge in case of a crash. Sometimes the force is too much, causing internal injuries and eventually death.

Other airbag injuries occur when airbags deploy inappropriately due to faulty crash sensors. When an airbag deploys accidentally when you are behind the wheel or as a passenger, the impact could result in severe and sometimes life-altering injuries. You could also lose visibility and eventually control of the vehicle.

Other times airbags fail to deploy when needed, leaving the driver and passengers unprotected when an accident occurs. Depending on the nature of the accident, the unprotected vehicle occupants could suffer severe injuries and sometimes lose their lives.

Airbag failures are pretty common in California. Therefore, you should be able to pursue compensation if you have sufficient evidence against the liable party.

Sinkhole Accidents

Sinkhole vehicle accidents occur when pits form on the ground, making the road unstable. Since most of these cavities appear below the ground, it becomes increasingly difficult to notice them until an accident occurs. Our roads are designed with excellent stability, together with the structures above the surface. They are strong enough to support all manner of vehicles, including heavy commercial vehicles.

However, when the structure of a road is threatened from within, it could weaken even the systems above the surface, risking the safety of vehicles using the road. A sinkhole is an example of an unstable ground that could give way any time, putting many motorists at risk of incurring injuries.

When a sinkhole gives way, anything above it at that time will collapse inevitably. Your vehicle could be drawn to the sinkhole. So many lives are lost this way, and the survivors incur catastrophic damages. If the sinkhole has water, other survivors lose their lives to drowning.

Highway maintenance agencies and government agencies liable for the maintenance of roads are always required to test and monitor the safety of our roads. If they fail in this duty, sinkhole accidents could occur.

When pursuing compensation for damages incurred in a sinkhole accident, accident experts determine the cause of the accident to establish the responsible party. With that information and the help of a competent personal injury attorney, you can pursue compensation for your losses in a civil court.

Car Accidents Involving Trains

Most car accidents involve other vehicles, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists. However, other accidents involve different forms of transport like trains. They, too, could cause devastating vehicle accidents in which victims could incur catastrophic injuries or lose their lives.

Most roads in California intersect with railway lines. Thus, it is not uncommon for a vehicle to come dangerously close to a moving train. However, there are level crossings, which help prevent collisions between vehicles and trains. Drivers can easily avoid accidents by following the provided signals. But, sometimes, you might find a failed signage or even a faulty crossing. In an incident like that, a collision between a car and a train could be inevitable.

Trains are usually larger and heavier than ordinary vehicles. Thus, a collision between the two could cause severe damages and injuries, especially to vehicle occupants. Lives could be lost, and survivors could incur life-altering injuries.

A collision between a train and a car could also make the train derail, causing significant injuries to its operator or passengers.

Even though most car accidents involving trains occur at the level crossings, they are not the ones. Most roads and highways in California run parallel to railroads. A good number of railway bridges run over California's busy highways. If a train crashes or develops a malfunction, its carriage could derail, causing rubble to descend on the busy road close to it. Drivers who cannot avoid that debris in time could cause severe injuries in which other motorists and road users could be affected.

Problems With Electronic Doors

The design of electronic doors makes it possible for them to lock automatically and protect vehicle occupants from being thrown out of moving vehicles. However, the most devastating injuries in some car accidents have been linked to electronic doors.

An example of these is the Tesla electronic doors linked to catastrophic car accidents in early 2019. In cases involving Tesla electronic doors, drivers and other vehicle occupants could not exit a car after an accident quickly. One driver was reportedly caught up in a fire when he could not open the electronic door of his vehicle from inside. Emergency services were also not able to open the door from the outside to rescue the driver.

The design for electronic doors makes them safe and reliable, even when a collision occurs. For instance, vehicle occupants should be able to swiftly unlock their vehicle if need be, especially in the middle of a crash. Other people should also be able to open the doors from outside if there’s a need to rescue one or more occupants from a burning or overturned vehicle.

When an accident occurs, the main challenge the victims experience is in establishing the liable party. If you incur catastrophic injuries, you must demonstrate the exact cause of your injuries. If you incurred severe damages because you could not exit the car on time after the accident, the liability could fall on the manufacturer of the electronic door.

Note that Tesla is one among many manufacturers of electronic doors in the United States. Thus, liability could fall on another company.

You might need the help of an accident expert to determine the actual cause of your accident. If your catastrophic injuries were a direct result of a faulty electronic door, you’d pursue compensation from the responsible manufacturer.

Car Accidents Involving Trailers

Trailers are unpowered vehicles. Therefore, they need to be towed by other vehicles to move and deliver cargo to their destinations. Since they are unpowered, trailers are usually challenging to control, especially if they carry heavy or unbalanced loads.

The law requires trucking companies to follow specific guidelines when loading trailers to make them safe on our roads. However, this does not always happen, and the results are devastating accidents in which people incur severe damages, including catastrophic injuries and loss of lives.

An overloaded trailer can lose control, topple over and cause a severe accident in which several vehicles could be involved. An unbalanced cargo in a trailer could also cause the trailer to lose its balance, especially when the vehicle it is attached to hits a bend.

Trucking companies operate round the clock to ensure that different goods are distributed to various parts of the country and world. Thus, trailers must have sufficient lighting to ensure that other drivers on the road at night can easily see them and maintain a safe distance. If the trailer’s lights fail, a vehicle can crash on a big and heavy trailer. The resulting damages can be pretty severe.

Additionally, drivers towing trailers must have adequate training and experience. A careless or incompetent driver may not be able to maintain proper control of a heavy trailer.

Drivers must ensure that the towing equipment is strong and functional. If weak and faulty, the trailer can easily detach, lose control on a highway and cause a severe accident involving several vehicles and other road users.

California has laws in place that give you a right to pursue compensation if you are involved in a car accident involving a trailer. With the help of a competent personal injury attorney, you can fight for the compensation you deserve.

Car Accidents from Falling Objects

Other than carrying people, cars can transport all manner of goods and objects. Vehicles can carry many goods of varying weight—for instance, bags, suitcases, products, and equipment. When a passenger brings goods with them to a car, no one anticipates that those goods could become dangerous and cause the passengers or vehicle occupants of other vehicles severe injuries.

However, that could happen if some or most of the goods inside one car accidentally fall off the vehicle, causing the other vehicles to crash.

Falling objects do not need to be substantial or dangerous. A minor distraction while driving can cause even the most careful driver to lose control of their vehicle. For instance, if a bag falls off a vehicle at your front, it could distract you and cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Accidents like these happen in an instance, and before you know it, so many people have been injured, and others have lost their lives.

The most devastating of these accidents occur when a substantial load from another vehicle, like a truck, falls off, landing directly on the car behind it. Depending on the size and weight of the object, it could crash the other car beyond recognition. In accidents like these, people lose their lives, and survivors incur life-altering injuries.

There are strict regulations regarding the maximum load weight vehicles must carry, more so commercial vehicles in California. Additionally, drivers must ensure that all the transport loads are adequately secured to prevent them from falling off the vehicles while on transit. Unfortunately, even with these kinds of regulations in place, we still have car accidents caused by falling objects.

When an accident like this occurs, it helps to understand personal injury laws even better and find the right legal help to ensure you receive adequate compensation for your damages.

Orange County Personal Injury Attorney Near Me

If you are involved in a catastrophic car accident in Los Angeles, CA, it helps to hire the help of a competent personal injury attorney. Your attorney will help you determine the cause of your accident, establish the liable party, prepare evidence and file a winning lawsuit against the responsible party in a civil court. Your attorney will also be with you throughout the most challenging period. At Orange County Personal Injury Attorney, we have the skills and experience you need to fight for the compensation you deserve. Call us at 714-876-1959 and let us walk you through the legal process until you obtain a favorable outcome for your case.