What are the Different Types of Car Accidents?
Car accidents can be devastating for victims and their families, and it is imperative that victims receive compensation as quickly as possible. While these accidents may seem minor at the time, they can lead to severe injuries, as well as pain and suffering. Accident victims should think carefully about how to respond to these accidents. Reviewing the case with a New Jersey car accident lawyer ensures that a victim can recover compensation from those responsible.
Accidents can change the course of a victim’s life. Because each accident causes damage to the mental and physical state of each person involved, these accidents should be taken as seriously as possible. Accidents should also be subjected to a full investigation, so a lawyer can start the legal process as soon as possible. Drivers who cause accidents must face the consequences. Speak to a car accident lawyer today to review the options available.
What Factors Cause Car Accidents in New Jersey?
New Jersey is known as the Garden State because of sweeping farmlands that dominate the central and southern portions of the state. New Jersey, however, is very small and serves as a suburban hub for Philadelphia, New York City, and even Wilmington, Delaware. Large cities, such as Newark and New Brunswick, bring tens of thousands of people together every day, and massive interstates, such as I-295 and the New Jersey Turnpike, increase the amount of traffic the state experiences every day. Drivers can quickly travel from the southern to the northern tip in a few hours. These modern highways are often very straight, invite speeding, and have very few exits.
A congested state often leads to congested roads. Drivers must be aware of the major congestion facing them every day. While public transportation is readily available in the northeast, drivers often disregard these options in favor of a car. Large trucks enter and exit New York every day, often via New Jersey. The Jersey Shore is extremely busy for half the year, and rural roads across New Jersey invite speeders, large trucks, bicyclists, and pedestrians. There are few options for exiting the state as it borders the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Delaware River to the west.
Each type of accident involves varying levels of destruction and injury. Common injuries, how to avoid accidents, and how to manage accidents will prove helpful when unsuspecting drivers find themselves in a bad situation. Moreover, some drivers do not understand the risks they take when making what they believe are simple maneuvers in traffic.
Common Types of Car Accidents
An accident is easier to avoid when drivers take precautions before getting behind the wheel. The following accidents can occur due to negligent driving accidents:
Head-On Collisions: These collisions occur when two vehicles strike one another and come to a complete stop. Distraction often plays a part in these crashes as drivers cannot maintain course and look at a phone, engage in a conversation, or search the floorboard for a missing object. Head-on collisions are also common on rural roads where anxious drivers pass slower motorists. While there are dotted lines where drivers may pass, they must have room to do so. If traffic is coming the other way, it is not worth it to attempt to pass. Moreover, if the other vehicle is large or unstable, it may be difficult to see oncoming traffic and judge how much time it takes to complete this maneuver.
Two percent of all accidents are head-on collisions, but these accidents account for around 10 percent of all fatalities. Drivers must be especially mindful of the location of other drivers on the road. When it is clear another vehicle is wavering, crossing the centerline, or is otherwise unstable, slow down, stop, or try to get out of the way.
T-Bone Accidents: These accidents occur at intersections when drivers run through stop lights, do not look before turning, or disregard posted signage. A T-bone accident does not need to happen at a right angle to be fatal. It is advised to look both ways before turning right. Drivers who are turning left must ensure traffic is clear before turning. Slow down to ensure everyone has room to move, and look out for posted stop signs, caution lights, or other signals.
Sideswipe Accidents: These accidents include damage to both vehicles. In some cases, both vehicles can keep moving; one vehicle might be pushed off the road or into a barrier, or the victim could crash into another car. Sideswipes are common when drivers do not check their blind spots or change lanes wildly. Drivers should always check their blind spots before changing lanes. Do not linger next to a large truck as large trucks are difficult to control. Moreover, understand that a driver’s blind spot sits just over their shoulder.
Rear-End Accidents: These accidents often occur due to inattention, heavy traffic, or emergency stops. Drivers cannot control congestion or emergency stops, but they must know how to behave in these situations. Drivers rolling to a stop sign or light must slow down more than they believe is wise. As drivers pull into congested traffic, they must keep their foot on the brake at all times. Assume that traffic will stop again, even if everyone can accelerate for a few moments. Busy highways have gaps in traffic that quickly close, and everyone must stop again. Never accelerate too much until it is clear traffic is flowing as normal.
Rear-end accidents also occur when drivers are not prepared for emergency stops. While drivers cannot predict an emergency stop, they should be aware of the traffic ahead of them. For example, if there is a mass of brake lights ahead, it makes sense to slow down. Leave a larger stopping distance from the car in front and turn out to the shoulder to avoid a collision. If weather conditions make it difficult to see, turn on the hazard lights and pull over for everyone’s safety.
Rollover Accidents: These types of accidents are unique in that they do not occur in the manner most people believe they will. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found the following:
- These accidents occur more often with taller vehicles
- Speed was a factor in about three-fourths of all rollovers
- Half of all rollover crashes involve intoxicated drivers
- Rural roads cause more rollovers because they tend to be uneven, lack barriers, and have higher speed limits
- Eighty-five percent of all rollovers involve a single vehicle
- Ninety percent of all rollovers occur on routine routes
Anyone driving an SUV, pickup, or large truck should be aware that their vehicle automatically presents a higher rollover risk. Drivers on sharp curves have a higher risk of rolling over, especially at high speeds. Research indicates that the car will exit the road tangent to the curve during a high-speed accident. Therefore, it could start to tip over as the top of the vehicle exits the road faster than the wheels.
Which Types of Car Accidents Might I Overlook?
Drivers might overlook certain accidents because they think these scenarios will never happen to them. The following accidents can occur irrespective of the driver’s skill:
Multi-Vehicle Accidents: These accidents often pile up without input from other drivers. A large truck could jackknife, or a driver could crash into someone, causing a chain reaction. Drivers cannot always avoid multi-vehicle accidents, but they can do their best to avoid them whenever possible. For example, leave a greater stopping distance to allow for movement if another driver behind the potential victim is not stopping.
If a multi-vehicle accident occurs, drivers must hire a lawyer to sift through the many layers of liability. Everyone involved in the accident will be subject to several insurance claims, and a lawyer may need to investigate to determine who caused the accident. Accidents like this crumple vehicles and may leave victims trapped in their cars. Do not attempt to exit the car without assistance from another motorist or emergency services.
Single-Vehicle Accidents: These accidents can occur due to poor weather conditions, faulty road design, excessive speeding, drunk driving, drowsy driving, and more. A single vehicle accident might send a driver into a ditch, off the side of the road, off a bridge, or into a barrier. If the driver is on an urban street, they might strike a power pole or lamppost.
Hit and Run Accidents: These accidents occur any time the at-fault driver leaves the scene. According to the American Automobile Association, more than one of these crashes occurred every minute in 2018. America averages about 682,000 hit and run crashes every day. Because 65 percent of people killed in these accidents are pedestrians or bicyclists, drivers should be especially aware of anyone crossing the road, on the shoulder, or using dedicated lanes. Slow down at intersections in case pedestrians are crossing, look out for dedicated crosswalks with signage, and drive around bicyclists.
Low-Speed Accidents: These accidents cause injuries and damage just like any other collision. The other driver might leap from their vehicle claiming they barely touched the car, or they might claim there is no way someone could be hurt. These accidents require medical attention, and a lawsuit may result. Do not walk away from these accidents even though they seem minor. There is no way to file suit if the accident does not result in a police report or any medical treatment.
What are Some Common Car Accident Injuries?
Car accidents can result in injuries that range from mild to severe. Drivers must be aware of common injuries that are difficult to see in certain cases. A hidden injury might include:
Broken Bones: Drivers walking away from an accident may not realize they have broken bones because soreness is common in the wake of an accident. When accident victims do not receive medical attention, it is difficult to prove these injuries occurred during the accident. These injuries can worsen over time, and it may become difficult for the victim to work or enjoy life.
Internal Bleeding: Broken ribs can also cause severe pain, along with shortness of breath. In the most extreme cases, a broken rib can puncture a lung. Internal bleeding is invisible as the victim may not have cuts or scrapes to accompany the bleeding. Bruises may form, but they are common after an accident. Seeking medical attention is the only way to avoid a potentially life-threatening situation. Internal bleeding might be attributed to organ damage, and victims must receive treatment before the damage becomes permanent or deadly.
Whiplash: This is a common car accident injury that can cause sleepless nights, severe neck or shoulder pain, a lack of focus, and persists for months at a time. Seek medical care and reach out to a lawyer for assistance when it is clear compensation is due. Treat each accident as though it could be serious as small children, the elderly, and others with frail skeletal systems or compromised immune systems may suffer more than the average passenger.
How Should I Handle the Scene of a Car Accident?
The scene of any accident is dangerous and requires great care and attention to detail. Drivers and passengers should do the following if they are able:
Call 911: Drivers and victims should exit the vehicle if they are able, leave the roadway, and only check on other vehicles if it is safe to do so. Call 911 as soon as possible, and wait for fire, EMT, and police units to arrive. A police report is written on the scene, and everyone should seek medical attention.
Document the scene: Take pictures with a cell phone camera or create videos of the scene so a lawyer has evidence to review. Do not speak directly to other drivers or passengers except to assess an emergency situation. Report the accident to the insurance carrier, but do not reveal any details.
Seek medical assistance: Go to the hospital if an EMT advises for extensive medical care. At the hospital, take the doctor’s advice, stay for observations if necessary, and return for follow-ups as directed. Following the doctor’s instructions and taking prescribed medications ensures a seamless recovery.
After an accident, lawyers, representatives, or other drivers may reach out. These people often wish to settle quickly. Letters and phone calls may pour in, but they do not deserve a response right away. Send all communication to a lawyer for review.
What Levels of Compensation are Available?
Compensation available for car accidents includes payment for both injuries and wrongful death. After an accident, victims may file suit for compensation, including:
- Medical and recovery expenses
- Lost income or earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
If someone dies, a wrongful death lawsuit allows the family to recover the compensation listed above in addition to:
- Burial costs
- Probate costs
- Loss of companionship, consortium, or support
New Jersey uses the modified comparative negligence rule to litigate these cases. This concept states that the victim of an accident loses compensation equivalent to the percentage of blame they must accept for the accident. In life, victims may play a small part in their situation, and the court removes that percentage of blame from each award up to 50 percent. Therefore, someone who wins $100,000 in court loses the percent for which they were deemed accountable. This person, then, would walk away with $95,000 if they were found to be five percent liable for the accident. If the fault of the victim rises over 50 percent, they cannot recover compensation
New Jersey also allows a two-year statute of limitations on either a personal injury or wrongful death case. Delays in the case might make it impossible for a lawyer to file suit or take the case to court.
New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Handle All Types of Car Accidents
Reach out to the New Jersey car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr when you are involved in an accident. We aim to recover maximum compensation for your losses. For a free consultation, call us today at 732-249-4600 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we proudly serve car accident victims throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.