What Counts As A Car Accident?

The use of the word “accident” in traffic collisions has sparked controversy. According to several safety advocates, the term suggests that the traffic incident was simply an unfortunate event, causing the determination of fault to be impossible. This is why having a legal definition of a car accident is important. Having a precise one will not only identify the party at fault but also determine what law was violated and what law to apply. According to a report posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic fatalities have declined in the first half of 2023. However, according to a report posted by Reuters, while traffic deaths have declined over 3.3% during that period, the numbers remain higher compared to any pre-pandemic year.

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What Is A ‘Car Accident’?

Getting involved in a car accident is one of the worst things that can happen to anyone. While you can take safety measures to avoid it, car accidents are one of the many things that no one can truly control. But what exactly is a car accident? Legal dictionaries would tell you that a “car accident,” otherwise known as a “traffic collision” or a “motor vehicle accident,” occurs when a vehicle collides or strikes another vehicle, a pedestrian, an animal or a stationary object. Understanding what a car accident is and what factors contribute to its occurrence is important in ensuring that drivers are well-informed of the safety guidelines, allowing them to take cautionary measures while driving on the road.

Types of Car Accidents

Here’s a list of the most common types of car accidents:

Rear-end collisions

This is the most frequent type of collision. Rear-end collisions occur when a vehicle crashes into the back of another vehicle in front of them. This usually happens when the front vehicle suddenly slows down or stops, or because the rear driver is traveling at excessive speed, causing the vehicle to crash into the front vehicle.

Head-on collisions

A head-on collision, on the other hand, occurs when two vehicles are moving directly into each other, causing them to crash. Head-on crashes are considered to be the most dangerous form of collision because they produce the greatest force of impact compared to other types of crashes.

Side-impact collisions

This type of collision occurs when a vehicle crashes onto the side of another vehicle. Victims of side-impact collisions often suffer from serious injuries due to the reason that there is very little protection for passengers on the side for this type of impact.

Single-vehicle accidents

A single-vehicle accident refers to a type of car accident that involves only one vehicle. Some of the most common causes of single-vehicle crashes include speeding, driver distraction, driver intoxication, poor road conditions, or swerving to avoid another vehicle, among others.

Multi-vehicle accidents

Also known as a multiple-vehicle collision, this type of car accident occurs when three or more cars are involved in a series of accidents resulting in a pile-up.

Factors Contributing to Car Accidents

Car accidents cannot be controlled. However, it is important to note that it doesn’t just simply happen. If you wish to avoid such an unfortunate situation, it is best to understand the factors that can contribute to car accidents so you can take the necessary safety measures. Some of these factors include human error, environmental factors, mechanical failures and road conditions.

Human error

Unfortunately, most car accidents occur as a result of driver negligence. This could be shown in different ways, such as:
  • Speeding: Driving too fast on the road and failing to adhere to the set speed limit is one of the most common causes of car accidents. Because of the excessive speed, drivers have less time to stop to avoid crashing into another vehicle, person or object.
  • Distracted driving: This pertains to any form of activity that diverts the attention of drivers away from driving, such as using a device, eating and drinking, talking to people in the car or on the phone and playing around while driving.
  • Drunk driving: Consuming alcohol before or during driving is very dangerous. Alcohol is scientifically proven to affect an individual’s senses, and so driving under the influence can negatively impact a driver’s reaction time, motor control and judgment, resulting in a possible car accident.
  • Driver fatigue: Failing to get adequate sleep can negatively impact a driver’s focus and judgment, similar to alcohol which is why drivers who are extremely tired are prone to getting into a car crash.

Environmental factors

There are different types of environmental factors that can lead to car accidents. These include poor weather conditions that can leave the road wet and slippery. High winds, fog, and even blowing dust can also pose a danger to vehicles on the road.

Mechanical failures

Defective auto parts can cause a vehicle to operate unsafely, resulting in an unwanted car crash. Some of the most common defects are brake failure, defective airbags, faulty tires and many more.

Road conditions

Poor road conditions not only lead to a bumpy ride, it can also lead to serious car accidents. Potholes, broken concrete, uneven road surfaces and road cracks can cause the tire to burst, resulting in the driver losing control of the vehicle and veering into a different lane, possibly crashing into another vehicle, person or object.

How Can A Car Accident Impact Your Life?

Car accidents can impact an individual’s life in many ways. Specifically:
  • Car accidents can cause serious physical injuries such as broken bones, internal organ injuries, traumatic brain injuries and many more.
  • Car accidents can lead to financial problems due to the expensive medical bills for your treatment.
  • Victims of car accidents are prone to developing certain psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • The recovery time after a severe accident can take a lot of time, resulting in a loss of income.
  • Some of the injuries you acquire from the accident may cause permanent disabilities – preventing you from ever getting back to work.
  • It can result in a wrongful death.
Getting involved in a car accident not only affects the people involved physically and mentally, but it also has serious legal consequences. The penalties may vary depending on what state you live in, as well as the rules and regulations governing car accidents. Generally, some of the legal consequences of car accidents include the following:
  • Fines
  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Misdemeanor or felony charges
  • Fault and liability
  • Lawsuits
  • Imprisonment
In car accidents, identifying the at-fault party is crucial in navigating the legal and insurance process. When fault is established, the party accountable for the accident will be held liable for covering the damages and injuries resulting from the crash. However, the determination of fault in car accidents is not that easy. There are certain legal considerations one must consider, such as jurisdiction and laws governing fault determination. Some of the important factors influencing fault determination include:
  1. Traffic laws
  2. Eyewitness testimony
  3. Police reports
  4. Vehicle damage
  5. Injuries
  6. Insurance companies

California Car Accident Laws

California follows pure comparative negligence rules, this is why residents are not required to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Crash victims here have the option to pursue compensation from other drivers whose negligence or actions directly led to the collision. Plaintiffs retain the right to seek damages even if they share some blame for the accident. However, their compensation is adjusted based on the percentage of fault assigned to them. For instance, if a victim is found 70% responsible for a crash resulting in $100,000 of damages, they could still seek up to $30,000 or 30% of the damages from the other driver. As for filing a car accident lawsuit, there is a two-year statute of limitations in California. Generally, when this period has expired, crash victims lose the right to pursue a claim. It’s crucial to seek the assistance of a California car accident lawyer to help you navigate the state’s legal landscape.

Should I Hire An Attorney After A Car Accident?

If you are suffering from injuries and other losses as a result of a car accident that you strongly believe has occurred due to the negligence of the other party involved, seeking legal consultation from an attorney is essential to your case. An experienced lawyer can help determine fault for the accident, allowing you to secure and recover compensation for your losses whether you are partially responsible or not. By having a trusted advocate by your side, you will be able to reject lowball settlements and fight for a better one. Moreover, if you are unsure of whether or not you should file a lawsuit after the accident, an attorney can also help you determine the best possible legal action to take.

Call A Trusted Car Accident Lawyer Now

Contact a trusted car accident law firm if you need urgent assistance after suffering from a motor vehicle-related incident. Crockett Law Group is here to help you recover. With over 30 awards and honors, including recognition as an award-winning Personal Injury Law Firm, our team brings unparalleled expertise to your case. Specializing exclusively in auto accident claims, our professionals are deeply knowledgeable and experienced in navigating cases similar to yours, ensuring the best possible outcome for our clients. Crockett Law Group stands ready to advocate for your rights and secure the compensation you deserve. If you have been involved in a car accident and are unsure of what to do, contact us now at (888) 965-3827 for your inquiries or send us a message through our secure and confidential online form. Our fast and reliable team is available to assist you 24/7.
Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett is an award-winning personal injury lawyer who understands the impact an accident can have on someone’s life. That’s why he aggressively fights for each of his clients.

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