Car accidents happen unexpectedly, whether one is driving on a highway or is in a parking lot. These accidents can impact one’s life forever, and while both of you (if the accident consists of two parties) nurse injuries, you could be the one at fault. Regardless of whether you are at fault or not, you will need a personal injury lawyer to defend you so that either your full compensation is ensured. We at the Orange County Personal Injury Attorney will handle your case, interpreting the various states’ laws regarding personal injuries, so that you may get just compensation.
Types of Car Accidents
Many different types of car accidents can happen to you at any time and anywhere. They are not limited to high-speed highways or busy streets. Anyone who sits behind the wheel is exposed to the risk of an accident. The common types of accidents are:
- Single Car Accident
It is a type of a car accident in which only one vehicle is involved. The accident occurs when the cars veer off the road and collide with a stationary object such as trees, fire hydrant, electric posts, guardrails, and walls. The vehicle may also hit moving objects such as animals, pedestrians, and even innocent bystanders. The collisions often leave considerable damages to the car involved. The leading causes of these accidents are the distractors that take away the driver’s attention, including bad weather. Falling snow, mist, and rain affect the visibility of the drivers while snow carpeted roads are slippery to drive in. Taking turns at high speed contributes significantly to the swerving of cars. The cars involved in these particular accidents are often at high speed and mostly driven by careless drivers.
- Multi-Vehicle Collisions
They are also known as pile-ups. This type of accident involves more than two vehicles colliding several times and at multiple angles. The accidents mostly occur on high-speed highways, busy roads, and freeways.
The pile-ups are sometimes upgraded forms of other accidents, such as head-on collisions and side-impact collisions. When other cars run into uncontrollably high-speed, they will bump into other vehicles, thus causing a multi-vehicle crash. The pile-ups also occur in roundabouts of multi-lanes busy highways. Drivers, passengers, and pedestrians caught up in pile-ups often find it difficult to escape, and many are dangerously injured or die. The deaths and injuries result from the fact that many vehicles cannot withstand impact from multiple angels without being disfigured. The effect of hitting may throw out passengers and drivers from the cars while the mangled cars entrap even the live casualties making it difficult to save them. The cyclists, bikers, and pedestrians caught up in these accidents are mostly affected. It is difficult to determine who is at fault among the drivers involved in a pile-up. Exercising caution and being alert on busy highways is essential to avoid these types of accidents.
- Side-impact Collisions
They are types of accidents where one side of the cars are most impacted. The accidents are also known as T-bone or broadside collisions. The accidents are often referred to as T-bone crashes because the impact between the vehicles form letter T. These types of crashes are common in highways with multiple lanes, parking squares, and road intersections. The intersections are mostly the scenes of the accidents when one car drives through the yellow light while an opposite-direction driven car attempts to turn left, simultaneously. The accident can also occur when a vehicle ignores a stop sign or takes a turn erroneously after misjudging the oncoming vehicle.
The occupant is mostly affected if the car does not have airbags. If the impact is intense, the occupants are significantly affected since the sides of the vehicles cannot absorb much impact. The effect on the car and the occupants vary depending on where the car has been hit, the speed the at-fault driver was at, and the intensity of the impact.
Drivers should look on both sides of the road for oncoming cars even when they have the right of way without assuming the other drivers will be on the lookout to obey the traffic regulations. Stopping in road sections with red light and stop signs, and keeping indicated speed limits helps one avoid these accidents since one has enough time to make a judgment.
- Vehicle Rollover
It is the most violent and complicated form of a car accident. The car flips over onto its roof or side, especially when it turns speedily on steep sections of the road. It can be caused by the driver-controlled factors like over speeding and driving under the influence, the environmental conditions like mist that reduce visibility, the situation of the road like potholes and sharp bends, and the status of the car. The above factors are the primary contributing factors for rollover accidents. The vehicle could also have common mechanical problems like treadless tires, faulty brakes, and steering wheels. The combined effect of the factors explains the majority of the rollovers.
Cars with a relatively higher center of gravity, like sports cars, are vulnerable to rollovers. Trucks are also prone to these types of accidents. Due to buckling, the injuries can range from mild to severe.
- Rear-end Collision
It is an accident where a car hits the rear end of another. The inattention of the driver usually causes these accidents. Carelessness may come in the form of picking the phone while driving or operating the radio. The car in the front could make a panic stop as a result of a mechanical fault or as a result of a traffic event such as another accident. A sudden deceleration in heavy traffic, tail-gating, and reduced traction due to unfavorable weather also contribute significantly to these forms of accidents. Tail-gating describes the situation during rush hours when a driver follows the car in front of them closely. These types of accidents are common in busy, stop-and-go highways, especially during peak hours. The car hit from the rear may crash into another, making it a cascading pattern accident.
Drivers are responsible for watching the cars in front of them to avoid causing accidents, which will impact them as well. The drivers need to keep a safe distance, which would enable them to react in case of a sudden halt of the car in front. They also need to avoid distractions in heavy traffic. The tail-gaited drivers need to change lanes whenever possible.
Whiplashes are the typical type of injuries in rear-end collisions, and the fault is placed on the driver of the rear-ending car. The driver is mostly on error for being inattentive. However, the blame is not always on them since conditions like ice or rain may cause even a careful, decelerating driver to slide.
- Head-on Collision
These are as a result of cars hitting each other from the front ends while driving in opposite directions. While head-on collisions mostly involve cars, they can also include hitting other obstructions on the road. The driver may get to the lane of the car, driving from the opposite direction as they try to escape obstacles like animals and potholes. The presence of mist, fog, ice, or rain increases the odds of the head-on collision. Narrow lanes and lack of proper demarcation for opposite direction traffic increase the risk of head-on collisions. They are usually as a result of one of the cars straying into the other’s lane. Paying less attention to the street signs and weather conditions are the major contributing factors of head-on collisions.
Head-on collisions mainly involve the drivers keeping the wrong lane and those driving under the influence of drugs. They can be avoided by obeying all traffic rules and avoiding recklessness. When driving, take note of the drivers who appear to be under the influence of drugs and veering off the road and avoid them.
- Low-speed Collisions
This type of accident occurs when a car bumps into a person or another in a parking lot, especially when backing up. The objects bump into obstructs their way as they maneuver to the highway. They often result in less damage. The driver should, therefore, be aware of the size of the vehicle and the surroundings in the parking space. One needs to be careful when parking to leave a space to allow other drivers to move their cars. Be always keen when reversing. Do not rely on the rearview mirrors.
- Sideswipes Accidents
This type of accident occurs when the cars driving parallel to each other on different lanes, swipe each other on the sides. The sideswipes mostly happen when the drivers are not careful to check the blind spots when changing lanes. The car drivers may underestimate the time and space required to merge without swiping the other cars. The injuries are minimal unless one of the vehicles loses control due to the swipe. You should avoid speeding in the road sections where cars merge.
Major Causes of Car Accidents
We have mentioned in the section above the roots of car accidents, but we need to understand them in detail. The significant causes of car accidents are:
- Distractions While Driving
Distraction takes away the concentration of the driver. Common distractors include using the phone, frequent grooming like applying makeups and being engrossed in a conversation. Distraction mostly occurs when drivers get to familiar territories like home areas and get inattentive. A few moments of distraction can lead to an accident on busy roads.
- Disobeying Speed Limits
Most drivers do not adhere to the indicated speed limits of the highway of street sections they are driving in. The limits are indicated purposefully due to foreseen hazards that need to be avoided by drivers. Overlooking stop signs, changing lanes carelessly, and aggressiveness while driving amounts to recklessness. Exceeding limits weakens the ability to react when an accident hazard is encountered.
- Driving in Bad Weather
Weather conditions such as excessive rains, higher levels of fog and mist, and strong winds make the road slippery reduces visibility and sways light cars out of balance, respectively. Slick roads cause accidents by making the vehicles difficult to control as the tires are not in contact with the ground.
- Driving under the Influence of Drugs
Most accidents occur due to driving while drunk. The drugs may range from commonly abused drugs to medically prescribed pills. The effects of the drugs make one unable to coordinate their senses while driving.
- Driving at Night
Driving at night can be dangerous since the reduced visibility makes drivers overlook the easily noticeable hazards. The level of alertness should be increased while driving at night and use full front lights in unlit sections of the road.
Common Injuries in a Car Accident
In an accident, one can be injured as a driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian. The kind of injuries suffered after the accident depends on the acceleration of the car(s), the weight of the vehicles, and the relative angles of the crash. Common injuries include:
- Head and Brain Injuries
Head and brain injuries include traumatic brain injuries and concussions. The impact of the accidents, especially the head-on collisions, may lead to fractured skulls and internal bleeding. The lesions may be fatal, thus causing long term effects, sleeplessness, and migraines. Brain injuries are treated deliberately after an accident since their diagnosis is difficult to avoid future complications.
- Neck and Back Injuries
Accidents can result in sprains in the muscles of the neck and the back. The pressure of the impact can slip the discs in the vertebrae out of their position or tear them. Herniated discs are painful and complicated to treat. Accident thrust force may damage the spinal cord leading to difficulties in movement in the lower extremities.
- Soft Tissue injuries
Trauma as a result of sudden movement after an accident may lead to strain in the tendons and ligament of the body. These injuries are usually painful and require consistent physiotherapy to heal. The damaged parts of the vehicles like the broken windscreen and other loose projectiles can hit and leave injuries, causing external bleeding. The impact of the accident interferes with the ligament and the kneecap due to hitting them against the dashboard leading to knee trauma.
- Broken Bones
An intense amount of force exerted on the body during a car accident that the body cannot withstand causes broken bones. This forward, sideways, or backward thrust can lead to the breaking of bones. Even light impact can also lead to the breaking of sensitive bones like the ribs. Depending on the nature of the accident and the focus point of the effect, legs, arms, shoulders, and hips can be broken. The ribs and bones are painful, sensitive to treatment, and may require periods of rest and inactivity.
Due to the difference between the weight and the size of the vehicles involved in an accident, fire may break out, leading to severe burns to the occupants. The cars could also be transporting hazardous chemical compounds that are highly flammable or have a scorching effect on the skin should they come into contact with the body.
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Some injuries after an accident may run deep into the emotional levels. The accident victim harbors distressing memories of the accident. The event lingers in their minds and recurs, causing nightmares. They may also avoid thinking about the accident and anything that reminds them of the accident. The person becomes too sensitive afterward on anything that poses a danger in their lives.
The accident victims may also suffer guilt for injuries and damages they brought upon themselves or others. They may live the rest of their lives regretting being careless on the road.
Making an Insurance Claim
The insurance companies require one to present enough weight of evidence to win a claim. The victim of the accident ought to document every detail, if possible, while at the accident scene. One should seek medical care immediately. Afterward, one should report the accident to their car insurer within twenty-four hours and then claim for injuries within three days after the time of the accident. A personal injury attorney will do all the legal procedures for making your claim while you are recuperating.
Personal Injury Litigations
The filing of a personal injury lawsuit is necessary if one feels that their injuries were a result of the other party’s negligence. In California, one is supposed to file a personal injury lawsuit within two years from the date of the accident. One forfeits their right to file a personal injury lawsuit once the statute of limitations expires except in exceptional cases like incapacitation. If the person involved in the accident does not survive the accident, the next of kin may file a wrongful death claim from the date of death.
A personal injury attorney will interpret the California state’s law to establish whether it is worth filing a lawsuit. They will also help you pursue justice for your loved one by filing a wrongful death claim on your behalf.
Indemnification in an Insurance Claim and Personal Injury Litigation
If the insurance covers personal injuries and personal injury litigation is successful, the accident victim is compensated. A personal injury attorney will guide you in the laws as it applied in the settlement offer from the insurers so that you are compensated adequately.
The victim is compensated for the losses incurred, such as:
- Hospital bills and every other medical care plan for the injured person
- Loss of properties due to the accident
- Loss of future or temporal earning capacity
- Compensation for suffering pain emotionally and physically
- Expenses as a result of wrongful death (in case the injured person dies)
When You are Responsible For the Accident
Sometimes you are the cause of the accident, and you do not have to panic. You should neither accept nor appear to be guilty. Some circumstances apply to you if you are guilty. The circumstances are:
When You Reside in a No-fault State
If you reside in no-fault states, you are guilty, and the accident is a minor one, then the worry about the compensation claims from the other party reduces. The drivers, in this case, can turn to their car insurance coverage to compensate the injured person regardless of who is at-fault. However, there is a specific limit beyond which this coverage cannot cater for the losses. This limit is reached when severe injuries or damages have been done as specified by the no-fault state laws. Therefore, the driver takes the liability of the remaining amount.
A personal injury attorney will explain to you the implications of residing in a no-fault state and defend you reasonably such that the legal claims will apply to you according to the specifics of your accident.
When Your Car Insurance Cover is Adequate
An adequate insurance cover means that the insurance company will pay all the claims made against you for being guilty of causing an accident and injuring a person. If the insurance cover does not cover all aspects of the accident, you will be liable to pay the remaining amount.
If You have no Car Insurance
Driving a car without insurance implies you are liable for the damage you cause to other drivers, passengers, and, consequently, their vehicle. It is always good to be prepared to pay the fines when a personal injury attorney has defended you to his/her best. You are still liable to pay your medical bills and repair your car.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
You are only successful in seeking compensation or fighting claims for compensation brought against you if you hire a top-notch attorney. We at the Orange County Personal Injury Attorney will defend you until you are reimbursed to your initial level before the accident or until the claims against you are eased. Contact us by dialing 714-876-1959 for further consultation.