What Are The Types Of Motor Vehicle Accidents?
Navigating Bay Area streets and freeways carries a risk of getting hit while you are driving a car, while you're a passenger in a bus, train, or truck, walking, riding your bicycle, or riding your motorcycle.
Crashes can happen in a split second and take you by surprise.
Here are some of causes of car accidents that I can help you with:
Dangerous road condition accidents
Sometimes an accident happens because of a dangerous road condition. Here are some examples:
broken traffic signals, cracks in the pavement, eroded pavement, eroded shoulders, faded lane markers, incorrectly timed traffic signals, and potholes.
When a dangerous road condition caused a vehicle accident, you have to proceed against the government. California governmental claims have an extremely short statute of limitations - - just 6 months. Pass the governmental claim deadline and your case is lost, with very limited exceptions.
Defective vehicle accidents
Manufacturers of motor vehicles have a duty to ensure that their vehicle are reasonably safe for their intended use. But this doesn't always happen. Just think about the number of "recall notices" that car manufacturers regularly issue.
Unfortunately, even features that claim to protect a driver and their passengers can cause serious personal injuries when the end up being defective.
You may have heard about the millions of vehicles with defective Takata air bags. These air bags exploded when they deployed, causing serious personal injuries and even death.
If a defective vehicle causes you to lose control, the manufacturer may be liable. But, these are complex cases in which you should never represent yourself.
Distracted driver accidents
California law says we're not supposed to have a cell phone in our hand, yet it's a daily occurrence to see people with their cell phones pressed firmly against their cheek as they're speeding down 101. Other times drivers text while driving. These are two common forms of distracted driving.
There are people who have such disregard for the safety of others that they get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs. At times the drug is illegal, like crystal meth. Other times, the drug is a prescription drug. If you get hit by someone who is under the influence of drugs, you can demand punitive damages, to punish them for their wrongdoing.
Some people get behind the wheel after having too much to drink. Instead of calling an Uber, they take the chance with their life - and yours! Just like drugged drivers, drunk drivers are liable for punitive damages (also called exemplary damages). These types of damages are to punish and make an example of people who drive drunk and injure or kill other people.
Following too close accidents
Following too closely happens when a driver follows another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon, and the condition of, the roadway.
The law regarding head-on accidents says a vehicle should not be driven to the left center of a dividing line on a two-lane highway unless there is free oncoming traffic and sufficient distance to overtake a slow moving vehicle without interfering with vehicles from the opposite direction.
A head-on collision happens when one driver's front end slams right into the front of another motor vehicle. This can happen when one driver crosses the double yellow lines.
Even though airbags are always supposed to deploy in these types of accidents, these crashes can still cause serious personal injuries. On top of that the trauma of the airbag bursting open can cause its own injuries too.
All drivers must stop and exchange information after an accident.
If one driver flees the scene, they can be charged with hit and run causing property damage. If injuries are involved, the charge is more serious. It can either be charged as a felony hit and run with injuries or a misdemeanor hit and run with injuries.
Left hand turn accidents
When making a left hand turn, a driver must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic. The turning driver can only make the left turn when it can be made with reasonable safety. When a left hand turn is made when it's not safe to do so, it can cause a crash. Often these unsafe left hand turns result in t-bone accidents.
These crashes involve more than two vehicles which collide at once, or one after the other. These crashes are sometimes called pile-ups. Pile-ups are often caused by speeding. Pile-ups can also result in roll-overs when one vehicle crashes into an existing pile-up.
Rear-end accidents happen when one car follows too close and crashes into the back of another driver's vehicle. Some rear-end accidents can be extremely serious, way bend of what we think of as a fender-bender. It's not always the fault of the person who rear-ends another person.
Rear-end accidents are especially dangerous when a motor vehicle crashes into a bicyclist. This impact can catapult the bicyclist into the air, slamming them onto the ground or into another vehicle. These accidents can be especially severe, even if the bicyclist is wearing a helmet.
What's also different about rear-end accidents is sometimes there's not a lot of damage to your car, but your body actually sustained significant injuries.
Reckless driver accidents
Reckless driving is when you drive in a way that shows "willful or wanton disregard" for the safety of persons or property. But what does this really mean?
Here are some examples of reckless driving:
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Driving on a sidewalk
- Inching your car to get people to cross a crosswalk faster
- Intentionally running traffic lights
- Intentionally running stop signs
- Passing other vehicles illegally
- Repeatedly swerving across lanes
- Speeding in a school zone
- Street racing
When the light cycles to yellow, some drivers gun it to quickly cross the intersection. But, a yellow traffic signal light means you should only proceed if it's safe to do so. If the other person jumps their green light without pausing a second or two to make sure the intersection is clear, a red-light accident can happen.
Rollovers aren't usually just one impact, like a simple rear-end crash would be. Instead, in the case of a roll-over, the vehicle rolls over at least one times, sometimes more than one time. Some vehicles, like SUVs, are more prone to rolling over. But, any motor vehicle can roll over whenever its driver loses control.
Speeding on curves, like Highway 17, can cause a rollover.
Dangerous roads, like on some of the poorly paved roads in Modesto, can cause a rollover crash.
All drivers must enter or exit a clearly marked lane on a roadway with reasonable safety. When a driver merges into another lane and hits another car, this is a sideswipe accident.
Single-vehicle accidents (solo crashes)
Just because you had a solo crash does not mean you were at fault. Sometimes a car will malfunction, which causes the driver to lose control. An example is a tire blowout. Other times, another car will make an unsafe lane change, which causes you to get run off the road.
Sleepy driver accidents
There are drivers who know they're too tired to drive and do it anyway. When this happens, they may fall asleep at the wheel, which turns their motor vehicle into a deadly weapon. The safe speed to drive while sleepy is zero miles per hour. Falling asleep at the wheel is as dangerous as someone who is drunk or on drugs. Sleepy drivers can ram into other cars or cross over into the opposing lane of traffic, causing serious personal injuries and even death.
The speed limit is just that - the limit. It's actually safer to drive at a speed below the posted speed limit, if the conditions require it. Yet, some people think that driving faster than the posted speed limit is okay, because they're running late. Speeding is a common cause of injury accidents.
T-bone accidents (broadside collisions)
A t-bone collision is a common accident type when the front of one driver's vehicle broadsides (crashes) into the side of another person's vehicle. The number one cause of t-bone crashes are when the at-fault person runs the red light. These accidents can cause serious personal injuries because the front of the offending vehicle can crash right into where a driver or passenger is sitting, causing brain injuries, fractures and even death. Around one in four t-bone crashes results in death.
Truck driver error accidents (big trucks - tractor-trailers)
Big trucks can weigh around 80,000 pounds. A car weighs around 4,000 pounds. So when a big truck driver crashes into a car, it's no wonder that serious personal injuries can result.
Speeding is one of the number one causes of big truck accidents. Another common cause is when a big truck driver gets out of their lane and into another lane when it's not safe to do so.
Unsafe lane change accidents
It's only safe to change from one lane to another lane under certain conditions. When one driver changes from their lane into another lane when it's not safe to do so, serious injuries can result. Sometimes the passenger side of the unsafe lane change vehicle moves to its right, crashing into the driver's door of another motor vehicle.
My name is Renée Yvonne Gardner. I am a San José accident attorney at my law office, Gardner Law.
I am a San José personal injury accident attorney. I have experience with personal injury and wrongful death accident. If you got hurt in an accident, call me at (408) 214-5555 or message me here: message me here.
In my 15 years as an attorney practicing California personal injury and wrongful death law, I have handled different types of traffic crashes and injuries, from minor cases to a wrongful death case where three family members got killed in one auto accident.
I speak Spanish - hablo español.