Driving is a calculated risk. A 2020 Esurance report found that every 1,000 miles, we face a 1 in 366 chance of being in a car accident.
Thankfully, most of these accidents are minor. The same report indicated that only three of every 1,000 crashes involve fatalities.
Nevertheless, car accidents pose an enormous risk to America’s drivers. Accidents are regularly listed as one of the leading causes of death in the United States, and victims regularly suffer property damage and serious injuries.
With these statistics in mind, it is helpful to know the most common types of car accidents. If you or a loved one are ever involved in a car crash, knowing what kind of accident occurred can help you explain your injuries, get help, and pursue justice.
Common Car Accident Types
When we conceptualize car accidents, many of us think of a crash involving two vehicles. Nevertheless, a large proportion of real-life crashes only involve one car. Many events and conditions cause single-vehicle accidents, including:
- Poorly maintained roads
- Vehicle malfunctions, such as a blown tire
- Limited visibility due to darkness, smoke, fog, or precipitation
- Objects, animals, or pedestrians on the road
- Weather conditions such as rain, ice, or excessive wind
All of these factors remain out of the driver’s control. Because of this, even the safest drivers are susceptible to single-vehicle crashes.
However, just because you were the only car involved does not mean you won’t be able to get compensated for your injuries. It’s always best to consult with an attorney after an accident to explore your legal options.
Rear-end crashes are among the most common types of car accidents, accounting for 29% of those that cause serious injuries. These crashes occur when a vehicle collides with the back end of a stopped or slowed car. Fault is almost always assigned to the following driver, who may have been speeding, distracted, or following the lead car too closely.
When another driver rear-ends you, the unexpected impact from behind will likely give you whiplash. At higher speeds, your injuries could be even more severe. We always recommend visiting the doctor after your accident, even if you feel fine. Crashes like these can aggravate existing medical conditions long after the day of the accident.
When two cars collide while traveling in the same direction, the resulting accident is usually a sideswipe collision. Your vehicle could be sideswiped if another driver fails to merge into your lane safely. Often the at-fault driver will fail to signal, forget to check their blind spot, or drift into your lane while driving distracted.
Sideswipe accidents are hazardous because they often occur at high speeds. Your injuries could be very severe depending on when, where, and how a sideswipe accident happened.
Perhaps the most dreaded type of car accident, T-bone crashes occur in intersections, parking lots, and residential streets. In a T-bone accident, the front of one driver’s car hits the side of another vehicle head-on, forming a “T” shape. T-bone accidents are particularly dangerous for occupants of the impacted vehicle (the top of the “T”), for only their vehicle’s doors and airbags protect them from the impact of the oncoming car.
These terrible accidents are almost always caused by another driver’s failure to yield. Drivers that run a red light or stop sign, negligently turn onto a street, or fail to stop for a car backing out of a parking space or driveway can all cause T-bone collisions.
High-speed T-bone accidents are known to cause severe injury and death, accounting for 23% of car accident mortalities in 2019.
According to the IIHS, a crash is classified as a rollover if the vehicle rolls onto its side or roof at any point during the crash. Taller cars, such as vans, SUVs, and pickups, are more susceptible to these types of crashes due to their high center of gravity. As SUVs and pickups have exploded in popularity, rollover crashes have become much more common.
Rollover accidents can be the result of a two-car collision or a single-vehicle accident. Single-vehicle rollovers can occur when a tall vehicle’s driver takes a turn too quickly or swerves to avoid an object on the road, tipping the car’s center of gravity to one side. Other single-car rollovers are caused by “trips,” such as a curb or pothole.
Regardless of how the accident started, rollover crashes are extremely dangerous. Though they happen far less often than other crash types, rollover crashes accounted for 20% of occupant deaths in cars, 38% in pickups, and 39% in SUVs, according to the IIHS. Rollover crashes don’t just affect the rolling car’s occupants, either—other vehicles on the road are equally threatened by an out-of-control vehicle.
Though safety standards have dramatically increased in recent decades, rollover accidents remain a risk to anyone on the road.
Head-on collisions occur when two cars traveling in opposite directions smash into each other head-on. These crashes are catastrophic: the IIHS reports that 58% of head-on collisions are deadly—higher than any other type of crash on this list.
Head-on car accidents have a few common causes:
- Crossing the double yellow line on a two-lane road to pass another car
- Entering a one-way street or highway in the wrong direction
- Distracted, drowsy, or drunk drivers
These crashes, like most on this list, are preventable. Despite this, thousands are injured in head-on collisions each year, especially in rural areas.
When the Worst Happens, PARRIS is Here to Help
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, you know firsthand how the car collisions listed here can derail a person’s life. Car accidents can cause extensive personal injury, property damage, lost wages, and months of pain and suffering.
That’s why PARRIS is here to help. Our attorneys have been fighting for car accident victims for 36 years, winning over $1.4 billion for clients. When someone else’s negligence has devastated your life, we have the experience and resources to get you the compensation you deserve.
Many of our former clients have achieved tremendous results with PARRIS, which you can view here.
If a California car accident has left you or your loved ones with debilitating injuries, don’t walk through this process alone. Contact us today for a free case review. You won’t pay a cent in legal fees until you see justice.