Auto accidents are more common than we’d like to think. There were 11 million accidents that occurred in 2009 alone according to the United States Census Bureau.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car accidents are caused either by driver error or other conditions beyond the driver’s control. Driver errors occur as a result of poor choices and driving behaviors, such as texting while driving, driving while intoxicated or speeding. Other conditions that can result in accidents include poor weather conditions, poor road conditions or mechanical failures.
Types of car accidents
How car accidents occur have a great impact on the type and severity of injuries that victims of the accident suffer. There are various types of auto accidents. The following are some common types of accidents:
These car accidents occur when one vehicle crashes into the back of another vehicle with its front. Not only do these accidents cause a sudden acceleration for the vehicle that is rear-ended, but also cause a rapid deceleration for the car that hits the car in front of it.
The severity of the injuries related to this type of accident aren’t dependent on the severity of the accident itself. This is because this type of accident often results in whiplash. Whiplash can be serious even when it is the result of an accident that occurred at moderate speeds.
These accidents often occur as a result of lack of attention, driving too closely to the vehicle in front or aggressive driving practices.
These accidents often occur with larger vehicles. They occur when vehicles flip over and land on their sides or the roof. They often occur when vehicles try to make turns at high speeds. Large vehicles such as SUVs and trucks are prone to this type of accident because they have a higher center of gravity than smaller cars. It is therefore harder for the vehicles to maintain or regain balance when turning at high speed.
- Side impact
Also known as broadside or T-bone collisions, these accidents occur when a vehicle impacts another vehicle on its side. A vehicle can also suffer side impact from a stationary object. Damage and injuries that occur in these types of accidents are often very severe. This is because the point of impact is the side of the car. This is an area of the car that does not have safety features incorporated into it. The occupants of the vehicle are therefore exposed to the full impact of the collision.
- Head on collision
This is the worst type of accident. It involves two vehicles hitting each other at the front ends. They occur when one or both vehicles wander from their respective lanes often in an attempt to overtake another vehicle. They can also be the result of driver error or poor conditions. Even with safety features, such as air bags, these accidents are often fatal.
- Side swipe
These include collisions involving two vehicles travelling parallel to each other in the same direction. It often occurs when one driver loses control and swipes or touches the other car as a result. The damage in these types of accidents are often only cosmetic. However, serious injuries can occur if there are multiple vehicles involved or if the accident causes the vehicles to be run off the road.
- Single Car accident
These accidents involve only one motor vehicle. The vehicle in this case may have struck a tree, pole, wall, pedestrian or a fire hydrant. These accidents often result in serious injuries when they involve pedestrians. They are often the result of distracted driving or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Pile ups
Pile ups occur as a result of many vehicles being involved in an accident. They often occur on freeways or highways. They often are fatal or result in serious injuries because of the number of vehicles involved.
There are also various additional risks involved in these accidents. If a fire occurs in one vehicle, then there is a chance of it spreading quickly to cover the entire site and result in explosions. It can also be difficult to determine the parties at fault in these types of accidents.
Injuries from auto accidents
Over 3 million people are injured in motor vehicle accidents every year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The severity and type of injuries to the occupants of a vehicle depend on various factors including:
- The type of accident
- If the people were wearing seat belts
- The speed of the vehicles when the accident occurred
- Safety features and construction of the vehicle
The following are some common types of injuries that occur in car accidents.
- Soft tissue injuries
This includes injuries to the body’s soft tissues, such as muscles, skin and connective tissues. Whiplash is one of the most common types of soft tissue injuries suffered in car accidents. This injury affects the upper back and the neck.
Other types of soft tissue injuries include sprains, strains, scrapes and cuts.
- Head injuries
This can be severe or minor. They occur as a result of impact on the head. Open injuries occur when there are fractures to the skull and may include cuts and bruises. These types of injuries are noticeable and diagnosis is quick.
Closed head injuries are more dangerous. They often involve the movement of the brain within the skull. They can result in minor concussions or severe brain damage.
It’s important to have a full physical examination after an accident even if the injuries are not readily visible. This will ensure that closed injuries are identified and dealt with as soon as possible.
- Broken bones
Accidents can result in broken bones or fractures. The location of the injury will depend on the type of accident as well as the safety equipment available. Broken bones and fractures often heal with the right medical care. However, they can cause discomfort. In some cases, the breakage may result in loss of mobility for the long term.
What to do after an accident
Being involved in a car accident can be devastating. However, the steps you take after the accident are crucial. They will affect your compensation if you decide to file a claim.
- Seek medical attention
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, seek medical attention as soon as possible. You may think that your injuries aren’t serious; however, your symptoms may become worse after some time. See a doctor and have a full medical examination. This will not only help you get the medical attention you need to treat and manage any injuries, but will also help to strengthen your claim.
If you decide to wait to weeks or days before getting medical attention, it will be difficult to prove that your injuries were a result of the accident.
- Collect evidence of your injuries
Ensure that the doctor makes detailed notes of your injures; their cause and how they have impacted your life. Take photos of your injuries and keep receipts related to treatment, therapy and medication you have received for the injuries.
Keep any documents, correspondence, medical bills, receipts and travel expenses related to your injuries. These will all strengthen your claim.
- Avoid talking about the accident
Don’t talk about the accident especially on social media. The things people post on social media can come back to haunt them. It is best to focus on healing and ensuring that you’re ready to file your claim.
- Hire a personal injury attorney
Even if it is obvious that the other party was at fault, it is important to have a personal injury attorney representing you. The law can be more complex than you anticipated. You could make simple mistakes that could be damning.
An experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney understands the claim process. They’ll know how to build up your claim to ensure success. They’ll also advise you on what you ought to do and what you should avoid. They will evaluate your claim and help you determine how much it is worth. A personal injury attorney will be a valuable asset even if you don’t go to trial.
Damages you can claim for
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, there are different types of damages that you can make a claim for with the help of your personal injury attorney.
a) Medical expenses
These include expenses arising from therapy, ambulance fees, in-home services (even those that aren’t medical, disfigurement, consultations and accessories.
b) Loss of income
If your injuries prevent you from working, you can sue for loss of income. The amount awarded will depend on your age, skills, occupation, life expectancy, severity of disability and experience.
c) Pain and suffering
This is defined in legal terms as the physical and mental distress suffered as a result of the injuries. It may include emotional damage, stress, anxiety or physical pain.
You may be entitled to other types of damages. Having an experienced attorney representing you will ensure that you get just compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered in the accident.