A car accident is a serious event that can result in catastrophic injuries that often leave victims temporarily and permanently disabled. Tragically, many car accidents involve catastrophic injuries that take the lives of children, parents, and loved ones. The high costs of medical bills, lost wages, and the emotional toll that results from a car accident can devastate the financial and mental health of a victim and their family.
According to the California Highway Patrol, more than half a million car accidents are reported each year across the state, killing more than 3,000 people and leaving another 200,000 injured. Victims of car accidents can suffer a host of injuries that range from minor cuts and bruises to severe injuries and death. Car accident victims can hold those responsible for the crash liable for the costs associated with their injuries, property damage, and pain and suffering.
What are the Most Common Types of Car Accidents?
There are many kinds of car accidents. The most common types include:
- Head-On Collisions: This type of car accident has the most catastrophic and fatal injuries. When a car collides head-on with another car or truck, the driver and passengers in both vehicles typically suffer traumatic injuries to the head, neck, spine, and legs.
- Rear-End Collisions: Passengers and drivers are thrust forward from the force of being struck from behind by another vehicle. The driver and passengers in the vehicle striking the front car also suffer injury from the force of impact. Traumatic brain injury often results from this type of accident when the brain is thrust against the inside of the skull.
- T-Bone Accidents: When a car is struck from the side, the force of the impact can cause windshields and windows to shatter and metal to crumble. Victims inside the vehicles often suffer from severe cuts and lacerations, broken bones, and internal injuries.
- Roll-Over Accidents: Collisions with other vehicles or objects and slippery road surfaces can involve a force so strong that a car can roll over. The driver and passengers of the vehicle typically suffer traumatic injuries from the force of the roll over or from being thrown from the vehicle.
- Single-Vehicle Crashes: Speeding is the most common cause of this type of car accident. When a driver takes a turn or curve at a dangerous speed, they can lose control of the vehicle and hit a tree, road barrier, or other object in their path.
- Low-Speed Collisions: Accidents that occur at low speeds in parking lots or when backing out of a driveway can still have serious consequences. Injuries can result when the car is hit by another vehicle or runs into a stationary object.
- Pedestrian Accidents: Anytime a motor vehicle hits a pedestrian, there is a high risk of serious injury. Even at low speeds, the weight and force of a car striking an individual can cause catastrophic injury and death.
What are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents?
A car accident can happen at any time, even to the most safety-conscious and experienced driver. In most cases, a car accident is preventable. The most common causes of car accidents involve:
- Distracted Driving: Using a cell phone while driving, texting, adjusting onboard infotainment and navigation systems, eating and drinking while engaged in driving, and reaching for objects are all forms of distracted driving that cause serious and fatal car accidents. Distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents in the United States, and the most preventable type of car accident.
- Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs: Incidents of drunk and drugged driving have decreased over the past decade, but still result in a high number of serious and fatal car accidents each year. Crashes caused by drivers under the influence of legalized marijuana, opioids, and over-the-counter medications have been on the rise as incidents of drunk driving have steadily declined. Strict enforcement of anti-drunk and drugged driving laws helped curb this deadly form of driving.
- Speeding: A car accident always carries a risk of injury, but when an accident involves high speeds, the consequences are often tragic. Driving above the mandated speed limit and driving too fast for weather or road conditions can lead to serious and fatal crashes.
- Reckless Driving: Failure to obey traffic signs and signals, speeding, passing on a curve or double yellow line, speeding through a construction work zone, and engaging in driving behaviors that endanger pedestrians or other cars on the road are forms of reckless driving. Criminal penalties can result when reckless drivers cause car accidents.
- Inclement Weather and Unsafe Road Conditions: Rain, snow, sleet, hail, and frigid temperatures can make roads slick, causing cars to collide or run off the road. Potholes, poor lighting, and roads in disrepair can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicle and slam into another car or object.
- Driving in the Wrong Direction: Missing road signs and driver confusion can lead to driving down the road in the wrong direction. Head-on collisions are the most serious consequence of this type of driver error.
- Unsafe Lane Changes and Blind Spots: When a driver changes lanes, they have a legal responsibility to signal their intention and ensure they are clear to merge. Blind spots on trucks and carelessness during a lane change can lead to rear-end and side collisions.
- Tailgating: Driving too close to the car in front of you can result in a rear-end or multi-vehicle crash. Drivers that tailgate do not have enough time to avoid hitting the leading car. Serious injury often occurs when tailgating is the cause of an accident.
What are the Most Common Types of Car Accident Injuries?
Car accidents can result in minor injuries or cause catastrophic injuries that result in permanent disability or even death. The most common types of injuries related to car accidents include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): This type of injury occurs when the force of a car accident thrusts victims forward and backward, causing the brain to slam against the inside of the skull. TBI can cause permanent cognitive and mobility deficits that prevent a victim from working or living independently.
- Head and Facial Injury: Fractured skulls, contusions on the brain, concussions, and facial cuts and lacerations often occur when broken glass and metal shards fly in a crash. Victims may require long recovery periods and even permanent disfigurement.
- Neck and Spine Injuries: Injuries to the neck and spine can result in permanent paralysis, as well as the loss of cognitive or physical functioning. Victims of neck and spine injuries often require lifelong care to accomplish the tasks of daily living, require the use of assisted mobility devices, and suffer severe nerve and back pain.
- Broken Bones: Fractured bones in the face, head, arms, legs, hands, and feet are common injuries suffered in a car accident. Victims may require surgery to repair these bones and may even lose partial or full use of their limbs. Long recovery periods involving physical and occupational therapy are common with this type of injury.
- Internal Organ Damage: Injury to internal organs can result in death. Chest injuries can cause heart, lung, liver, and digestive organ damage that can require surgery to repair. Blood loss and internal bleeding from this type of injury can be difficult to control and lead to death.
- Amputation: The force of a car accident can result in the amputation of limbs, or in some cases, decapitation. Amputation can also occur following a car accident when injuries are too severe to repair, or when complications arise in recovery.
- Burns: The gasoline and combustible fuel used in the operation of a motor vehicle can ignite in a crash and cause serious burns to trapped victims. Burn injuries are one of the most painful, disfiguring, and complicated consequences of a car accident. Victims typically require multiple surgeries, ongoing medical treatment, and physical therapy. Infections, permanent disfigurement, and a lifetime of pain and suffering are often complications with this type of injury.
What Should I Do If I am Involved in a Car Accident?
In any car accident, the main priority is to assess and tend to injuries. Police and ambulance should be dispatched to the scene of the accident immediately. Once the victims are stable, it is important to gather evidence, including:
- Exchange driver’s license information and insurance policy details of all drivers involved in the crash
- Take pictures and record video of the accident scene that include the vehicles involved, injuries sustained, and road conditions
- Record witness testimony with contact information
- Write down the badge numbers of law enforcement officers on the scene and ask for the police report file number
- Call your insurance provider as soon as possible to report the accident
- Keep receipts and all forms relating to any emergency or medical care required from injuries sustained in the accident
- Contact an experienced car accident lawyer
Who is Liable in a Car Accident?
Determining liability in a car accident can be difficult. Insurance companies will do a thorough investigation into the accident and try to place the liability on the other driver involved in the crash. It is important to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer when you are involved in a motor vehicle accident that results in injury or property damage.
Many times, victims of car accidents will assume they can handle a claim with their insurance company on their own. Many will unknowingly provide information to the other driver’s insurance agent during the investigation that will leave them liable for damages. An experienced and knowledgeable car accident lawyer will assess the details of the accident, gather
pertinent evidence to support their client’s claim, and help the injured victim claim the maximum amount of compensation available under the law while avoiding costly litigation.
Los Angeles Catastrophic Injury Lawyers at Abir Cohen Treyzon Salo, LLP Represent Victims of Car Accidents
If you suffered an injury or lost a loved one as a result of a car accident, contact the Los Angeles catastrophic injury lawyers at Abir Cohen Treyzon Salo, LLP today. Call us at 833-ACTS-LAW or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. We will help you claim the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to under the law. Located in San Diego and Los Angeles, we serve clients throughout southern California.