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Common Types of Car Accidents

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Injured in a Car Accident? We’re Here to Help.

Regardless of what type of car accident you’ve been involved in, if you’ve been injured, you’re not alone. After a car accident injury, you may be feeling overwhelmed. Don’t try to recover alone. At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, our car accident attorneys have been helping injury victims for decades. We handle car accident cases regardless of what type of accident it was or its cause.

With a long history of winning cases, the car accident lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys have earned national recognition for their success. We have been named among the Best Lawyers in America (via Best Lawyers), Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, and the nation’s Best Law Firms (U.S. News and World Report).

Call us today or use our online form for a free consultation. It’s risk-free; we don’t make anything unless we win your case.

What are the Most Common Types of Cars Crashes?

Attorneys Chris Munley, Marion Munley, Robert Munley, and Caroline Munley walking down the streetApproximately 191 people are injured in reportable crashes in Pennsylvania each day, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation‘s (PennDOT) annual Crash Facts and Statistics Report.  That is about 8 injuries every hour. From rear-end collisions, to head-on crashes, sideswipes, fatal accidents and other types of crashes, we are here to help.

For most people, it’s very likely you will be involved in a car accident at least once in your lifetime. They can be hard to avoid and can occur anywhere you may travel in a day: highway, neighborhood, roadside, parking lot, intersection, and more.

But there are many types of car accidents and which one you are in can influence how bad your injuries are and other details of your case. Here are the most common types of car accidents.

Single-Vehicle Crashes

Single-vehicle crashes happen when a car crashes with something other than another vehicle, such as a tree, a guardrail, or a median. These types of car crashes are often caused by debris, animals, or other items that cause a vehicle to run off the road. They can also happen when a driver is drunk, driving recklessly, not paying attention, or taking a turn too fast. Drivers can lose control of their vehicle and crash. In most cases, there is no one to sue for a single-vehicle crash. However, there are some instances where someone else may be responsible for a single-vehicle crash, such as the manufacturer of a defective auto part, or a person or company who created a hazard in the roadway.

Head-On Collisions

When two vehicles collide front end to front end, coming from opposite directions, it is a head-on crash. Or, if a single car has crashed head-on into an object (like a telephone pole or other stationary part of the road), these are also head-on collisions. In a head-on collision, front-seat drivers and passengers experience the greatest impact not only because of their position in the vehicle but also because both vehicles involved are moving toward each other. Due to the intense nature of these crashes, they often result in traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, serious internal damage, and even death. It’s imperative drivers remain alert to all traffic signs and conditions to avoid head-on car accidents.

Side-Impact Accidents

Car Damaged in AccidentWhen one vehicle hits another on its side, often at an intersection, it is called a T-bone or side-impact crash. Side-impact collisions happen most often when one car has gone through a traffic light or a stop sign and collides with another vehicle at a perpendicular angle. Side-impact collisions can also result from lower impact crashes in parking lots. Side-impact or T-bone crashes often happen when a driver is distracted or impaired by drugs or alcohol. If you are hit by a drunk or distracted driver, the at-fault driver should be held legally accountable for the damage they have caused.

Rear-End Car Accidents

When one car hits another from behind, it is known as a rear-end collision. The severity of injuries sustained in rear-end collisions depends on the speed and force of impact. For example, a rear-end crash involving a large truck traveling at a low or moderate speed can still cause significant damage due to the size of the truck. Rear-end collisions often result in whiplash, head injuries, and neck and back injuries.

Common causes of rear-end accidents include distracted and drowsy driving, following too close, bumper-to-bumper traffic, and weather conditions. According to PennDOT, almost 20 percent of car accidents in Pennsylvania in 2021 were rear-end crashes.

Rollover Car Crashes

When a vehicle flips over on its side or roof while in motion, this is called a rollover accident. These can be particularly dangerous, and are more likely to occur if you’re driving in a top-heavy SUV or large truck. To avoid rollover accidents, the driver has to be especially alert when navigating curves or traveling during inclement weather. Rollover crashes can result in broken bones, brain injuries, internal bleeding, and more.

Sideswipe Car Accidents

Sideswipe accidents occur when two vehicles parallel to one another collide along the driver or passenger side. These most commonly occur when one vehicle attempts to change lanes or merge without signaling, looking, or checking blind spots, and crashes into a vehicle in that lane. Sideswipes can also happen between vehicles traveling in opposite directions if one vehicle begins to drift over the center line. Sideswipe crashes can cause one or both vehicles to spin out of control, especially if they are traveling at a high rate of speed.

Multi-Vehicle Crashes and Pileups

Multi-vehicle accidents (three or more vehicles), also known as pileups, can be some of the most complicated. These crashes often result in bad weather conditions with slippery roads and low visibility, but can also result from driver negligence. If a driver is driving too fast for the road conditions, or not paying attention to a change in traffic, a multi-vehicle crash can occur.

Multi vehicle accidents are especially dangerous because they often involve multiple impacts; your vehicle may be hit more than once. Because they frequently take place on highways, they may involved large vehicles like tractor trailers and buses. The impact of multiple collisions can result in explosions or fire. And pedestrians who attempt to free themselves from the wreckage can be hit by oncoming traffic. Because so many vehicles are involved, it can be challenging to determine who is at fault for your injuries and to obtain fair compensation. This is where a multi-vehicle accident lawyer can help you with personal injury claims.

What Are the Common Causes of Car Accidents?

Just as car accidents can happen anywhere, their reasons can vary as well. It’s important when operating any kind of motor vehicle that you remain alert.

Negligent Driver

Attorney Caroline Munley working in her officeThe most common reason for a car accident is a negligent driver. When you get behind the wheel of a car, you have a responsibility to yourself and others sharing the road to remain alert. You can’t control other drivers and their reckless driving, but you can do your best to avoid serious injuries for you and others by keeping focus on the road.

This includes never driving drowsy, drunk, or distracted. Always maintain a safe speed and control, especially in severe weather conditions. The most common causes of car accidents include:

  • Distracted Driving – There are a variety of ways you can be distracted in a car. These can include using your cellphone in any way (texting, calls, scrolling) to eating, talking to children or other passengers, and more. Your first priority when driving must always be the road. A car accident can happen in an instant and distracted driving can make it even more dangerous.
  • Drowsy Driving – Whether you’re leaving somewhere late or going for a longer road trip, a driver must always stay alert. Know your limits and never get behind the wheel if you’re too tired. Avoid a car accident by only driving when awake.   
  • Drunk Driving – Do not drive under the influence, for any reason at any time. A car accident can easily occur if your reaction times are slowed.
  • Speeding and Aggressive Driving – We’ve all been there: You’re running late and need to make up time. Or you’re following all the rules of the road and you get cut off. Whenever you’re behind the wheel of a car, make sure you’re calm and driving the speed limit to stay safe (and keep others safe, too!)
  • Poor Weather Conditions – Car accidents can happen even when the weather is clear and sunny. So imagine what happens when conditions are less than ideal. If you’re driving during ice, snow, fog, rain, or any other weather that limits visibility and makes roads tougher to navigate, you are at a higher risk for car accidents. During these times, it’s even more critical you stay vigilant so yourself and other passengers on the road get safely to their destinations.

When car accidents happen, the injuries can be catastrophic, but even seemingly minor injuries can disrupt an injured victim’s life and turn their world upside down.  In addition to the physical pain and emotional distress you experience, you may also face unexpected costs or be unable to work.

Maintenance Defects

Car accidents can also happen because of dangerous defects with your car. Sometimes negligent driving can be the reason for the collision, but a defect makes it measurably worse. For instance, you rear-end another vehicle, but your airbag malfunctions, causing you serious harm. Or maybe your brakes were faulty and prevented you from stopping in time.
If your auto accident was the result of a defective car part, you will need a car accident lawyer who has experience dealing with these companies and their large legal teams. A Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys car accident attorney will investigate your case and fight for you against large auto manufacturers if needed.

Animals in the Road

If you live in an area with lots of wildlife, particularly larger animals who find their way onto roadways, you could find yourself in a car accident with an animal. Or, you could get into a car accident with a car who stopped suddenly due to animals in the road. Either way, it’s important you always have your eyes on the road. Animals often come onto the road suddenly; and drivers aren’t always looking to the side to spot them without having to slam on the brakes.

Poor Road Conditions

Beyond bad weather on the road, the physical conditions of the road itself can cause an accident. If your car accident was caused by a road condition like potholes, missing signals, steep curves, no signage, and more, contact a car accident attorney today. These cases are often different from others because you would have to involve a government agency who is responsible for maintaining the roadway.

Is There a Way to Avoid a Car Accident?

Attorney Mackenzie Wilson discussing a case with an employeeWhile car accidents are far too common and can happen anywhere, that does not mean you can’t take steps to avoid them and keep yourself and your passengers safe.

The best ways to avoid a car accident include things like:

  • Drive slowly. Maintaining an even speed under or around the speed limit can decrease your chance of accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding was a contributing factor in 29% of all traffic fatalities in 2020. Speeding can cause reckless decision-making and make you lose important distance if a car in front of you were to stop short.
  • Stay alert. Keep your eyes moving along the roadway to look out for potential distractions. Whether you’re trying to avoid a negligent driver, an animal in the road, or a large pothole, it’s important you always have your eyes on what’s in front of you. This also means removing distractions in your own vehicle. Avoid texting, calling, scrolling, eating, or paying too much attention to other passengers that could take your attention away from the road.
  • Avoid driving at night. Many car accidents occur at night due to decreased visibility, increased fatigue for many drivers, and increased potential for drunk drivers on the road.
  • Don’t drink and drive. Ever, for any reason.
  • Maintain your car properly. Make sure you are taking your car in for its regular check-ups so you can stay on top of safety issues. Check your brakes, replace wipers, clean mirrors, and more. Also pay attention to safety recalls on things like airbags should your car receive a notice.

Speak to an Expert Car Accident Attorney Today

Getting into a car accident can be a frightening and stressful experience, especially if you are injured. This is true no matter what types of car accidents you experience. After an accident with other vehicles, many questions are probably running through your head: How am I going to pay the medical bills? What if my car can’t be salvaged? Will the insurance company deny my claim?  We are here to answer your questions.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car crash, an experienced car accident lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys is ready to fight for you today. Cost is no object when it comes to hiring a top Pennsylvania car wreck attorney at our firm because we do not collect a fee unless we recover financial compensation for you. Call today  or use our online form to schedule your free consultation.

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