Where Do Broadside Collisions Most Commonly Occur?

Have you noticed roundabouts on some of the streets you travel? Cities and states strategically place those round structures in intersections because they change the usual traffic flow.

Broadside collisions commonly occur at intersections. Inattentive, distracted, and reckless drivers zoom through without paying attention. They crash into other vehicles, causing serious damage and injuries. Roundabouts don’t eliminate those risky behaviors, but they prevent drivers from causing broadside collisions by slowing them down and modifying their path.

Intersections: The Perfect Setting for Broadside Collisions

The Federal Highway Administration acknowledges the intersection dilemma. People need them, but they create unavoidable conflicts among drivers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists. When each person approaches an intersection, they all have the same simple goal. They just want to get from one side of the road to the other. Unfortunately, variations in driver behavior, traffic controls, and other factors often encourage accidents.

A broadside collision occurs when one driver crashes into the side of another driver’s vehicle. Some people call them “T-bone” accidents because the crashing cars often form a T configuration.

Broadside accidents commonly occur at intersections and other locations where paths intersect.

  • Uncontrolled Intersections: Some drivers simply take control.
  • Red Lights: An FHWA study determined that some drivers consistently run red lights as part of their normal driving patterns.
  • Stop Signs: Accidents happen at four-way stops, often because some drivers don’t understand (or care) who has the right of way.
  • Parking Lot Exits: Drivers often back from parking lots or driveways and crash into vehicles driving down the street.
  • Parking Lots: Drivers sometimes cause broadside collisions when backing from parking spaces or driving through parking lots

Broadside Accidents and Passenger Injuries

An Injury Epidemiology article on side-impact crashes explains how rear-seated passengers often sustain more serious injuries than front-seated passengers. This injury dynamic usually occurs during an impact on a vehicle’s right side and at or near the passenger door. As minimal space separates passengers from the impact point, the force heightens the potential for injuries and fatalities.

The FHWA’s national statistics consistently show that approximately one-half of all traffic injuries and one-third of all traffic fatalities occur at intersections. Damage and injury extent vary due to the striking vehicle’s speed, distraction, lack of braking, and other contributing factors. As with other accidents, passengers sustain greater injuries when a larger vehicle strikes them broadside.

An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety analysis of the most recent national crash data found:

  • SUVs and Pickup truck passengers sustain fatal injuries less frequently in multi-car accidents than in single-vehicle crashes.
  • Passengers in cars died from side-impact, multi-vehicle crashes more frequently than passengers in other vehicles:
  • Cars, 3,397 side-impact fatalities
  • SUVs, 994 side-impact fatalities
  • Pickup Trucks, 730 side-impact fatalities

The Role of Safety Restraints

IIHS research and vehicle testing confirm that, traditionally, smaller vehicles haven’t had the same protective structures as larger vehicles. Consequently, when a broadside collision occurs, small vehicle’s passengers absorb more of the crash’s impact energy. A striking vehicle more easily pushes the vehicle’s metal side into the passenger compartment.

The metal intrusion pushes against passengers, causing serious injuries or fatalities. Rear seat passengers’ heads become particularly vulnerable during a broadside crash with a larger vehicle. Seat belts help prevent some serious injuries and fatalities, but they can’t prevent them all.

Vehicle Safety Improvements Reduce the Potential for Broadside Collision Injuries

In response to the vehicle size/injury connection, the IIHS and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration changed their side-impact testing process. Current tests more closely simulate real-life accidents that often involve small vehicles versus large vehicles. Their research led to new side-impact safety rating systems and a demand for additional passenger crash protection.

Manufacturers now design and build vehicles with more impact protection for front and rear passengers. They provide enhanced structural support and better restraint systems. Some vehicles install front and rear side curtains for greater broadside impact protection.

Under NHTSA Federal Rule 49 Part 571 Standard 214, side-impact protection, manufacturers must meet side-impact safety testing standards:

  • Door crush resistance
  • Moving deformable barrier test
  • Vehicle-to-pole test

When IIHS tests new cars for side-impact protection, their safety ratings provide additional insight into vehicles’ side-impact protection.

Tests compare vehicles to those rated poor for left side-impact safety.

  • Rated Good: A passenger is seventy percent less likely to die in a left side-impact crash than in a vehicle with a poor rating.
  • Rated Acceptable: A passenger is sixty-four percent less likely to sustain fatal injuries in a left side impact.
  • Rated Marginal: A passenger is forty-nine percent less likely to sustain fatal injuries in a left side impact.

Do Roundabouts Prevent Broadside Collisions at Intersections?

The FHWA includes roundabouts on its list of Proven Safety Countermeasures for reducing fatalities on the road. By channeling drivers into a circular pattern, they minimize conflict points that allow vehicles to crash into one another.

Their statistics show:

  • An 82 percent reduction in fatal and injury accidents after transforming two-way stops into roundabouts.
  • A 78 percent reduction in fatal and injury crashes after a roundabout transformation.
  • Lower speeds and reduced conflict also create a better walking environment.

Do I Need An Attorney For My Broadside Collision Injuries?

If you sustain injuries in a vehicle accident, you need a car accident injury attorney to protect your rights as soon as possible. When you work with a law firm, they investigate your accident immediately and resolve any liability issues. They deal directly with the responsible party, their insurer, and their attorneys while you focus on getting better. When you’re ready to resolve your claim, attorneys work to produce the best results possible. When necessary, they file a suit on your behalf.

When you consult with a car accident injury attorney, you discuss your accident and injuries and learn more about your legal options. You decide if and when you file a claim against the person who harmed you.

What to Do After a Car Accident Checklist

A vehicle crash becomes more than an unexpected pause in your day. It initiates a chain of events that often leaves you feeling out of control. You need a “what to do after a car accident checklist” to minimize any post-accident chaos. Unfortunately, when conflicting emotions seize the moment, you will not always think rationally.

A crash often triggers instantaneous tension, anxiety, and stress. You struggle with uncertainty and doubt as you rethink those last few seconds behind the wheel. If you sustain injuries, you feel immediate pain and suffering. Even if the other driver clearly caused the crash, you sometimes wonder… is it my fault? You deal with many emotions as you view your damaged vehicle and meet the other driver face-to-face. Until a law enforcement officer intervenes, you often respond based on instincts.

What to Do After a Car Accident Checklist: 9 Tips

You cannot always prevent emotional responses after an accident, but you can maintain some control. Our car accident checklist provides fifteen tips that help you navigate the post-accident chaos.

1. Dial 911

Most states require mandatory police reports for accidents with severe damage and/or injuries. As soon as the vehicles stop, you should dial 911. If you are injured, let the emergency operator know. You will save time waiting for an EMT.

Police do not determine fault,  but they do investigate accident scenes and document the facts. Insurers rely on an officer’s opinion about alcohol, drugs, traffic violations, pavement conditions, and other details. Without a police report, every critical fact becomes your word against the other driver’s.

2. Never admit fault or say anything that sounds like you are admitting fault

While waiting for a police officer, be careful what you say. Bystanders listen and remember, and they often share what they heard. Impulsive, emotional post-accident comments do not usually affect you immediately. They often resurface during liability investigations and settlement negotiations.

If you file a lawsuit against the responsible driver, sometimes you must deny or confirm what you said during a deposition or in court testimony.

  • Do not say you are at fault, even if that is what you believe. Let someone else sort out the liability issues.
  • Show concern for injured passengers in both vehicles, but never say you are sorry.
  • Do not apologize for being involved in the accident. Any apology sounds like you are admitting fault.
  • Res gestae is the legal term for these types of spontaneous statements. Courts often consider them truthful.

3. Give just the facts

In the 1960s, TV police officer Joe Friday often used the expression, “Just the facts, ma’am.” Consider his wisdom when another driver crashes into your car. Facts, that is what real-life police officers, lawyers, insurance companies, and court officials need. When you talk to a police officer, never answer questions they did not ask. Do not provide your opinions and theories.

Better yet, call a car accident lawyer, and let them give the insurance company the facts.

  • Your speed
  • What happened
  • Your vehicle make and model
  • The weather and illumination
  • The pavement condition
  • Traffic control devices, etc.

4. Take steps to document the evidence

Within moments after an accident occurs, the evidence you need to prove your case begins to fade. Witnesses leave, and so do drivers sometimes. The lighting and weather change and traffic usually moves accident debris down the road. When an officer begins an investigation, you are standing at a slightly different accident scene. Document what happened before these changes occur.

Use your smartphone and capture the scene immediately.

  • The Driver: Sometimes, the other driver simply hops back into their car and drives away. Capture their information before they do. Take a picture of the driver, driver’s license, vehicle license plate, and insurance card. Also, confirm their current address.
  • The Vehicles: Capture the vehicle year, make, model, points of impact, license plate, current and old damage.
  • The Scene: Take a photo of the entire accident scene with separate close-ups of the pavement, skid marks, debris, and traffic control devices.
  • Witnesses: Ask bystanders if they saw the accident. If so, ask for their contact information.

If you are hurt and cannot leave your car, ask someone for help.

5. Get immediate medical evaluation and treatment

Injuries do not always show up immediately. If you withstood a severe impact during your accident, get a medical checkup and make sure you do not require treatment. A powerful impact often causes serious injuries, especially for young children and older adults.

Conditions such as traumatic brain injury and organ damage require immediate attention. Unfortunately, you will not always feel the symptoms right away. Visit an emergency room and be sure before telling a liability insurer that you are okay.

6. File a report with your insurance company

Your insurance carrier requires a report even if you think the other driver caused the accident. Sometimes the other driver feels the same way you do. If they sustain serious injuries, they will not simply go away. Your insurer must complete an investigation and decide if they owe damages on your behalf.

Also, if the other driver has no insurance and you have uninsured motorist coverage, your own insurance company must determine if they owe you an injury settlement.

7. Follow your doctor’s orders

Doctor visits, diagnostic tests, and medical follow-ups take time and energy. If you plan on making an injury claim, you must follow your doctor’s orders anyway. When the liability insurer evaluates your claim, they see your treatment as an indication of your injury severity. If you do not keep your doctor appointments, participate in rehabilitation or therapy, or take your medication as ordered, it affects your claim’s dollar value.

8. Track and document your pain and suffering

When you are seriously injured, a lot of time usually passes before you consider settling your claim. By then, you will have lost track of the day-to-day inconveniences, the problems you encountered, and even your pain and suffering. When your pain, suffering, and difficult experiences fade away, it is actually a good thing, but you want to document them so you don’t forget how they felt. Those details add value to your claim.

When you keep an injury journal, you capture your experiences as you move through treatment and recovery. Your journal provides written memory triggers. It helps you explain your day-to-day recovery issues long after the pain fades away.

Track the following details beginning on day one.

  • Your painful experiences, beginning with your accident
  • Your medical treatment, surgery, and recovery issues
  • Your pain, suffering, and discomfort
  • Activities you could not perform
  • Events you missed
  • Changes in your family
  • Psychological issues from dealing with your injuries
  • How your scars affect you
  • Any information that reminds you of your treatment and recovery difficulties

9. Contact a Car Accident Attorney Immediately

When a car accident hurts you, you need more than a car accident checklist. To protect your legal rights, you must consult with a car accident attorney as soon as possible. Attorneys become involved in your case immediately. They intervene with responsible parties and deal with their insurers. They investigate your claim and resolve any liability issues.

When you are ready, they negotiate the best possible settlement on your behalf. If necessary, car accident attorneys file a lawsuit and represent you throughout the litigation process.

When you contact an attorney, you discuss your injury claim during a free consultation. You learn more about your legal rights and your damage recovery options. Contact a car accident attorney today to get started.

What Is a Contingency Fee?

Lawyers provide victims of negligence several important benefits during a lawsuit. They handle most legal matters, allowing you to save time and focus on your recovery. Additionally, a lawyer alleviates the pressure insurance companies often put on victims.

However, a common concern people have is how much an attorney will cost. Your personal injury lawyer may tell you they operate on a contingency fee. What are contingency fees, and how do they work?

How to Locate the Right Lawyer?

Over 200,000 people in the United States suffer from unintentional injuries per year. In many cases, these injuries lead to a lawsuit. If you are injured in an accident and need to file a claim, an attorney increases the chances of fair compensation.

Law has many fields, and finding a lawyer specializing in personal injury is important for success. Personal injury lawyers typically list their specific practice areas or areas of expertise. You should look for an attorney familiar with the type of accident you endured.

Get a Referral

Lawyers can refer clients to other firms in the area if a case is outside their practice. You may know an attorney personally, or they might have represented you in another legal case. The attorney could know what lawyer has the skill set to help you in court.

Ask Friend or Family Member

The people you know may have insight into lawyers that can help you. A friend or family member might have been in an accident and had a qualified attorney win their case. Listen to their experiences and add the firm’s name to your list of prospects.

Browse the Internet

The online space provides multiple avenues to locate a personal injury firm. Any search engine can produce a list of eligible lawyers and connect you to their websites. You can visit the sites to see what areas of personal injury they cover and possible case results. You can check reviews using the search engine and the attorney’s websites to determine how satisfied other clients have been before committing to a lawyer.

Can You Find a Different Attorney?

You do not need to hire an attorney even if you have an initial consultation. You can visit multiple offices to discover which lawyer fits your needs. You can choose the right lawyer by weighing factors like personality, experience, and level of communication.

Remember, not every attorney will accept a prospective client. Even if a case has the potential for a high settlement, the possibility of winning it could be low. The odds or work required could cause a lawyer to reject a case. Create a shortlist of lawyers you are interested in and reach out until you get the help you need.

What Is a Contingency Fee?

The cost of litigation can be high, and people might ultimately spend thousands of dollars on a lawyer. This aspect is usually a significant concern when weighing the benefit of legal services. If someone has never filed a lawsuit before, they may be unaware of how personal injury attorneys typically charge clients.

A contingency fee is the most common payment method among personal injury attorneys. A contingency fee means you do not pay your lawyer until they win your case. You pay a portion of the settlement for their services when they succeed.

The percentage of the settlement a lawyer receives depends on several factors. The complexity of a case generally influences the percentage they charge. In some instances, the length of the legal process affects how much you pay a firm, particularly if they know the lawsuit will be lengthy.

Most lawyers set the contingency fee anywhere from 33 percent to 40 percent. Usually, the percentage remains fixed throughout the process. However, some attorneys might use a sliding scale based on the stage within the litigation process. They may charge more as the case progresses and they meet certain benchmarks.

Some firms have combined contingency fees with other types of fees. For example, you might agree to an hourly contingency arrangement. Under this agreement, you still only pay once you receive compensation, but the attorney bills you for hours worked.

All attorneys should discuss payment before you agree to hire them. They will elaborate on the fee agreement they implement and can address any questions or concerns you have. Be sure you fully understand the fee agreement before signing anything.

Additional Litigation Costs

Court Costs

Personal injury cases have additional costs beyond lawyer’s fees. Court costs are among the additional expenses you have to pay during litigation. When you file a complaint in civil court, the average price is between $100 and $400. You will also need to pay for the service of your filed lawsuit to the defendants.

Court costs may also include hiring a court reporter and paying for transcripts of in-court testimony. A transcript can cost up to $400 per copy.

Your lawyer usually covers these fees upfront and bills you for them later. These and other additional fees are often not included in your contingency agreement and must be paid whether you win or lose.

Deposition Expenses

Depositions exist to record witness testimonies outside of the courtroom. You need to pay for a court reporter or stenographer for any depositions taken. A copy of this transcript has a cost as well. The expense of a deposition increases the longer the event lasts.

Expert Witnesses

Many attorneys hire expert witnesses to support their arguments. The type of expert depends on the circumstances of your accident. The individual may have an hourly rate and need compensation for the time spent reviewing your case and preparing a report.

A complex case with multiple expert witnesses could cost thousands of dollars.

Attorneys need to balance the expenses of a lawsuit to keep a strong case cost-effective. You can discuss the additional costs with your lawyer to make informed decisions about your claim. You are the ultimate decision-maker, and if costs seem to be too high, you can express your concern to your lawyer and see if other avenues exist.

Questions to Ask During a Consultation

Before you hire a lawyer, you should meet with them for a free consultation. Consultations offer you an opportunity to ask questions and get a feel for the attorney’s practice and demeanor. You can ask about the specifics of their fee structure and how they will bill you during or after your case.

It is wise to discuss if there are any potential issues with your case. A complicated lawsuit may experience a multitude of difficulties throughout the litigation process. If issues are sufficiently apparent, your attorney can point them out and suggest solutions.

Another common question has to do with the attorney’s level of experience. You can inquire how long they have practiced law and their level of expertise with your particular accident type. A lawyer should be prepared to give you a clear picture of their history and instill confidence in their ability to handle your case.

The benefits of having an attorney far outweigh the costs, and most attorneys are ready to work with you to make legal services accessible. If you have been in an accident and need legal assistance, contact an experienced attorney prepared to get you the compensation you deserve.

How Long After an Accident Can You Claim Injury?

Not only are car accidents terrifying, but they cause serious injuries. Whether its whiplash, a broken rib, a traumatic brain injury, a spinal cord injury, or something else, you’re sure to suffer severe consequences in your daily life.

It helps to know how long after an accident you can claim an injury. Claiming an injury will allow you to gain compensation from the person responsible for your accident, regardless of how it occurred. However, if you wait too long to claim an injury, you could be stuck without a chance of compensation. It’s essential to speak with a car accident lawyer about claiming an injury as soon as possible after an accident.

How Long Do You Have to Claim an Injury Caused by a Car Accident?

All states carry a statute of limitations for bringing charges against others in civil or criminal suits. The length of a statute of limitations will vary depending on the severity of the crime or negligent action and the consequences that the victim endures.

In many states, including West Virginia, you must bring a claim for injury within two years to gain compensation.

While filing a claim within two years may seem easy, it can be more challenging than you think. You may have to meet several deadlines to file a proper personal injury claim. In addition, you may have to enter into negotiations before you can file a claim. If so, you’ll need help from a personal injury lawyer to make sure that you follow all legal procedures before filing a claim.

How Long Should You Wait Before Calling a Lawyer?

If you have two years before you need to file a claim, you may think you should wait at least a year or more before calling a lawyer. However, this is not necessarily the case. Everything involved in a personal injury claim takes more time than you expect.

First, of course, there is the time that you will need to deal with and recover from your injuries. If you suffered pretty severe injuries, you may need to spend weeks or months in treatment or the hospital. You’ll probably need surgery or an operation, and you may need even more than one! Plus, you’ll have to start taking medication or attending therapy to get as quickly as possible on the road to recovery.

Then there’s the time that it will take to collect evidence. You can’t file a claim and simply prove it because you believe it’s true. You will need evidence that the at-fault party caused the accident and that you are not responsible for the injuries you suffered.

You’ll need evidence, including:

  • Medical records
  • Medical bills
  • Receipts for repairs to damaged property
  • A police report
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Expert testimony from medical professionals
  • Testimony from your family and friends
  • Photos or video footage from the accident scene

It takes time to gather such evidence, and you’ll likely need legal help. That’s why it’s so important to call a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. They’ll work hard to gather the evidence you need to win your personal injury claim. They’ll also ensure you don’t miss any critical deadlines while recovering from your injuries.

What Do You Do After a Car Accident?

To file and pursue the most effective personal injury claim possible, you must start the case right.

This means that you need to take a few important steps to ensure your claim goes well.

  1. Seek medical attention. Immediately seek medical attention from first responders. You must know what injuries the accident caused and treat them.
  2. Call the police. If they are not already at the scene, do be sure that you call the police to get their support. It’s helpful to have a police report on hand when you’re creating a complaint as police reports usually have very specific details on the accident and how it occurred.
  3. Talk to witnesses. While you’re at the accident scene waiting on the ambulance and police, speak with others who witnessed the accident. Ask for their contact information and, if you have time, for a written statement of what they saw.
  4. Take photos. Use your phone to take pictures of obvious injuries, damage to vehicles, and other relevant evidence such as skid marks or damaged guardrails.
  5. Call your insurance company. As required, call your insurance company to report the accident. Be sure not to offer an apology or admission of guilt since that could work against you in a personal injury claim.
  6. Exchange insurance information. You will need this information from the other driver to seek compensation from their insurance company.
  7. Call a personal injury lawyer. As soon as you have time, get on the phone with a lawyer who offers a free consultation to begin the next steps toward your personal injury claim.

You must take these steps after an accident if you want to fight for your claim successfully. Your lawyer can calculate what damages you suffered from economic and noneconomic losses and pursue compensation for them.

Remember that the most important step you can take is to get medical attention right away to ensure your successful recovery. Once you’re on the way to health, a personal injury law firm’s lawyer can help you sort out everything else.

What to Expect Physically After a Car Accident?

Car accidents injure around three million people in the U.S. each year, including two million who suffer permanent injuries from a traffic-related crash. Even minor injuries can result in pain, which often increases over the first hours or days after the accident, as the adrenaline wears off and the body begins to respond to the injury.

However, many people don’t know what to expect physically after a car accident when to seek assistance or even the assistance they need.

Common Physical Complaints After Car Accidents

Some common physical complaints people have after being in a car accident include the following.

#1. Headache

Post-traumatic headaches are perhaps the most common complaint from those who were in car accidents. They have several causes, including a blow to the head resulting in injury to the brain-or whiplash, which causes damage to the soft tissues of the neck that can also result in headaches. It is essential to have a medical evaluation if you have experienced a headache after an accident. It could signify a more severe injury that can worsen without treatment.

Individuals often regard concussions-one of the injuries most often experienced in car accidents-as “minor head injuries.” There is no such thing as a “minor head injury,” given the brain’s important role in controlling the body’s function and limited ability to heal from injury.

#2. Back, Shoulder, or Neck Pain

Back, shoulder, or neck pain is also a common sign of whiplash, which occurs when the sufferer’s head snaps back and forth rapidly, causing damage to the soft tissue in the neck. However, there are other causes of back, shoulder, or neck pain, including damage to the spinal vertebrae or discs, or even an incomplete injury to the spinal cord. Lumbar strains and sprains can also occur after an accident, resulting in low back pain.

Depending on the type of back, shoulder, or neck injury you have suffered, your treatment can consist of prescription medications, corticosteroid injections, surgical interventions, and physical therapy to retain or regain functional use of the back, shoulders, or neck. Damage to the spinal cord can result in permanent paralysis and associated complications that can continue throughout the sufferer’s life.

#3. Inability to Use a Limb or Bear Weight On It

Nearly any bone in the body can become injured in a car accident. Commonly, bone fractures occur to the limbs, including the arms and hands, and legs and feet. If you can’t use a limb or bear weight, you could be suffering from a bone fracture. Other symptoms that are often present when there is a bone fracture are sudden pain, swelling, and obvious deformity of the limb.

Failing to obtain prompt treatment for a broken bone can impair its ability to heal, increasing levels of tenderness, swelling, and pain over time. Having the bone properly set allows ample blood supply to the area to foster new bone material to fill the break.

#4. Dizziness When Standing

Dizziness when standing can indicate a concussion or blood loss from internal injuries. It can also result from a neck injury that involves damage to the proprioceptor, which helps the brain understand where the body is and results in confusion for the brain when injured. Either way, it is essential to seek medical care if you are experiencing dizziness when standing after a car accident, whether this sensation is immediate or occurs hours after the injury.

Some Injuries Present with Delayed Symptoms

Car accidents are traumatic, generally causing a person’s “fight or flight” hormone-adrenaline-to flood the body. This reaction can result in a delayed ability to feel pain from the injury. Additionally, some injuries, such as internal injuries resulting in bleeding, become more apparent over time as further damage takes place. It is important to pay attention to how you feel over the hours and days following the accident and alert your physician if you are experiencing worsening pain.

When Should You Seek a Medical Evaluation After a Car Accident?

Seek a medical evaluation as soon as possible after an accident. An ambulance will often arrive on-scene, and emergency medical technicians will evaluate those suffering from physical injuries to determine if transport to a hospital for immediate assistance is needed. Even if EMTs clear you at the scene, if you have lingering or worsening pain or begin experiencing new symptoms, see a physician who can diagnose and treat the injury.

If another driver caused your accident, seek medical treatment to preserve your right to file a claim to obtain compensation for your medical bills, car repair, wage loss, and lost future earning capacity. You can also seek compensation for the emotional costs of your injury, such as pain and suffering or emotional distress.

When Should You Talk to An Attorney About Seeking Compensation?

If a car accident injures you, an experienced legal team does not need to tell you that medical treatment and losing work time is expensive and hurts your quality of life. They can tell you that if your accident occurred because of someone else’s recklessness or carelessness, you can seek compensation for your injury. A car accident lawyer can do that for you.

Let a car accident attorney explore your legal options for seeking compensation for your car accident injury.

Rear-End Collision Injuries

There are roughly 1.7 million rear-end accidents in the U.S. each year. Contrary to popular belief, however, not all of these accidents are minor fender-benders. About 1,700 people are killed annually by rear-end accidents, and half a million suffer injuries. If you were injured due to a rear-end accident, a car accident lawyer can seek compensation for your injury.

Common Injuries Resulting from Rear-End Accidents

While whiplash is the most common injury resulting from a rear-end accident, traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries are among the most serious—and they have a high likelihood of resulting in permanent disabilities. Here is a look at four injuries commonly sustained in rear-end accidents.

#1. Whiplash

Whiplash is an injury affecting the soft tissues of the neck after the head snaps back and forth, similar to the motion of a lashing whip. The injury presents with neck pain and stiffness that worsens with movement, headaches that start at the base of the skull, tenderness in the shoulder, upper back, or arms, tingling or numbness, and dizziness.

While many people recover from whiplash through mild medical treatment, rest, and relaxation, some individuals will incur chronic pain due to the injury. The risk of this complication is highest for older people, those who have suffered a whiplash injury before, have existing low back or neck pain, or were injured in a more forceful high-speed accident.

#2. Spinal Cord Injuries

Around 17,000 new spinal cord injuries are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, and car accidents are one of the leading causes of this type of injury. When a rear-end accident occurs, the individual in the lead car often suffers a violent back and forth motion of their body. While this can cause whiplash in the neck, severe impacts can also damage the spinal cord in the neck or back.

The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that extends from the base of the skull to the waist and serves as a messenger system between the brain and the rest of the body. Spinal cord injuries generally result in a loss of function and sensation beneath the injury site, known as paralysis. A complete injury leaves no remaining sensation or function. However, an incomplete injury can leave some sensation and ability to use the affected parts of the body.

#3. Other Neck and Back Injuries

Rear-end accidents can also result in other types of neck and back injuries, including:

  • Lumbar sprains, which can cause pain and instability in the lower back.
  • Disc injuries, which involve the jelly-filled discs that cushion the spinal vertebrae. These discs can be knocked out of place or even ruptured in a car accident.
  • Vertebral fractures, which damage the small vertebral bones of the spine after high-speed rear-end accidents. If untreated, these fractures can result in pain and instability in the back and can cause damage to the spinal cord, resulting in nerve damage and even paralysis.

#4. Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries involve damage to the brain due to a sudden jolt or blow to the body. The jolt experienced in a rear-end accident can result in this type of injury. The brain is responsible for sending impulses to the body to control functions and involuntary responses.

Several functional segments of the brain, known as lobes, control different areas of the body. When damage occurs to any of these lobes, it often results in permanent loss or impairment of the functions that particular lobe controls.

Common types of disabilities due to traumatic brain injuries include:

  • The inability to remember people or events.
  • Difficulty controlling one’s emotions or impulses.
  • Difficulty organizing or completing tasks.
  • Inability to move in a balanced or coordinated manner.
  • Loss of vision, or the ability to perceive the size and shape of objects.

Rear-End Accidents Can Impact Your Entire Life

Suffering a serious injury, including those listed above, can result in impacts to your entire life, such as:

  • Finances: The injuries sustained in rear-end accidents can result in hospitalization or surgical procedures, which can prove expensive. Additional expenses include damage to the vehicle you were riding in, the need for household improvements to accommodate the injury, or hiring someone to perform household tasks such as laundry or cleaning that you are too injured to perform on your own.
  • Income: An individual may miss days or even weeks of work or school after a car accident. Catastrophic injuries such as those affecting the brain or spinal cord can result in permanent disabilities that can prevent the sufferer from being able to return to work and earn the same income as before the accident.
  • Relationships: Rear-end accidents can produce injuries that cause family members to step into caregiving roles to assist a severely injured loved one. It can also result in the inability to participate in activities and hobbies, leading to the inability to participate in society or enjoy outings with friends.

Individuals who were rear-ended may seek compensation for their injury’s financial and psychological impacts.

Rear-End Accident? A Car Accident Attorney Can Help

Suppose a rear-end accident injured you due to someone else’s negligence. In that case, a car accident legal team can talk to you about how to seek the most compensation available for your injury.

Can You Seek Compensation for PTSD After a Car Accident?

The impacts of a car accident on the life of someone who was involved are not always physical or financial. Being injured in an accident, witnessing someone die, or even being afraid for your own life can result in psychological impacts as well, including a condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

If you have suffered PTSD from a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you can seek compensation for the impact of the condition on your quality of life. An experienced car accident attorney can tell you how.

What Is PTSD?

As explained by the American Psychiatric Association, PTSD can happen to anyone, of any gender, ethnicity, social class, or age group, as a response to witnessing or being involved in a traumatic event.

While the condition is most commonly associated with combat veterans, about 3.5 percent of the U.S. adult population is affected by PTSD every year for many reasons-including car accidents; 11 percent of people will develop PTSD in their lifetimes, with women twice as likely to suffer from the condition as men.

What Are the PTSD Symptoms Most Commonly Suffered After a Car Accident?

Some of the symptoms of PTSD most commonly experienced by those involved in serious car accidents include:

  • Psychologically re-experiencing the trauma through intrusive thoughts or dreams about the accident.
  • Persistent avoidance of thoughts or situations related to the accident. For example, a common symptom of someone suffering PTSD after a car accident is fear of or refusal to drive a car.
  • Numbed emotional response, such as failing to produce emotional responses to the needs of others or feeling detached.
  • Increased physical arousal, such as startling easily, becoming quickly agitated, or having trouble sleeping.

The Impacts of PTSD on the Sufferer’s Life

PTSD after a car accident often results from traumatic events such as witnessing someone die or become seriously injured, having serious injuries involving a lengthy recovery period or particularly painful treatments, or the sufferer has witnessed repeated traumatic incidents.

Up to 80 percent of people with long-term PTSD develop additional mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, or alcohol or substance misuse. These issues and the symptoms they cause can make it difficult for the sufferer to work, focus on school, obtain adequate sleep, and maintain healthy relationships with others. The condition can result in frequent emotional outbursts or detachment that make relationships difficult and increase the risk of injury or death.

Seeking Compensation for PTSD After a Car Accident

Generally, individuals can seek compensation for PTSD as a non-economic damage, which involves compensation for the quality-of-life impacts of being injured in an accident.

Because this compensates psychological impacts instead of financial ones, the compensation you can seek for the injury depends on:

  • The severity of the physical injuries you suffered.
  • The type and duration of treatment you incurred.
  • Whether you have been diagnosed with PTSD.
  • The impact of the condition on your ability to earn an income.

How Much Compensation Can I Receive for PTSD?

Due to the unique nature of the condition and the combination of its impacts with the other injuries and impacts experienced as a result of the accident, it is impossible to come up with an “average” award for clients seeking compensation for PTSD.

Some of the factors that can affect the compensation available for non-economic damages include:

  • The amount of insurance the at-fault party has.
  • The impact of your condition on your ability to earn an income.
  • The circumstances of the accident, such as the severity and whether there were fatalities.

How Can You Prove PTSD?

The easiest way to prove PTSD resulting from a car accident is to be formally diagnosed with the condition by a medical doctor or mental health provider. PTSD treatment can include both therapies focused on confronting the traumatic memory and working through the beliefs associated with the experience and prescription medication in some circumstances that can reduce the mental health conditions associated with PTSD, such as anxiety and depression.

To diagnose PTSD, a medical doctor may perform a physical exam to ensure that no physical injuries are causing the condition. A psychological examination may determine if your symptoms align with the diagnostic criteria for the condition as listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association.

Suppose you have not obtained a formal diagnosis of PTSD. In that case, you can often still seek compensation for the psychological impacts of your injury through witness testimony from your employer, family, or friends as to how the emotional trauma has affected your ability to work, socialize, or maintain the responsibilities of your day-to-day life.

A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You With Your Claim

An experienced car accident attorney can provide several services to help a client seeking compensation for the psychological impacts of their injury.

Some of those services include:

  • Properly valuing the claim to provide compensation for the treatment of the claimant’s psychological injuries.
  • Providing documentation of the condition to the insurer and/or the court to show the need for compensation for PTSD.
  • Fighting against insurance company tactics to reduce the value of a claim, such as an insurer claiming that there is no compensation available for non-economic damages.
  • Managing the deadlines in your case to ensure your right to seek compensation not only from the insurer, but to file a claim in court if the insurer fails to fairly compensate you for your injury.

Let the right legal team tell you more about the personal injury claims process. Contact a car accident attorney for a free case evaluation today to discuss your claim and legal options.

4 Things to Do if You Are in an Accident Where Someone Is Injured

Being involved in a car accident can be one of the most chaotic experiences a person can endure. This is particularly true after a serious injury.

Here are four critical steps to take if you are in an accident where someone is injured.

1. Render Aid

In every state in the nation, if you are involved in an accident with another vehicle, you must stop, render aid, and exchange information with other drivers in the accident. However, rendering aid does not necessarily mean that you must perform life saving procedures on someone. Rendering aid more commonly involves calling 911 to request an ambulance to the scene and remaining with the injured person until help arrives.

2. Exchange Information

Suppose a car accident caused by another driver’s carelessness or recklessness injured someone. In that case, they have the right to seek compensation for their injuries from the at-fault party most often through their auto liability insurance policy. This endeavor can even involve using the state’s civil court system if the insurance provider or the at-fault party fails to compensate the claimant’s injury adequately.

To make this process possible, the drivers of each vehicle involved must exchange information with other drivers, including:

  • Name and contact details of all drivers involved.
  • Year, make, and model of all vehicles involved.
  • The license plate number of all vehicles involved.
  • The driver’s license number of all drivers involved.

If the driver of the car you were riding in was injured, you may provide the needed information to other drivers. If you cannot do so, the officer responding to the scene will produce an accident report containing this information.

Collect any witnesses’ names and contact information at the scene.

Most insurance companies require their insured to report any accidents they have been involved in with their vehicle, even if the insured does not plan to file a claim. This safeguards them from unexpected claims and leaves the door open if the insured has a policy that can help pay for their injury. It is essential to include the information you have obtained from the other drivers involved when you make this report to your insurance company.

3. Seek a Medical Evaluation for Yourself

Anyone involved in a car accident should have a medical evaluation afterward. This is because car accidents can result in injuries that present delayed symptoms. It is best to obtain treatment for an injury immediately after it occurs. Any delay could cause further damage.

In addition, seek a medical evaluation after an accident to preserve your right to seek compensation for your injuries. This process requires you to prove that your injuries resulted from the accident, which is more challenging if you didn’t seek immediate medical attention.

4. Speak With an Attorney

Suppose you or your loved ones sustained an injury in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. In that case, you can seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of the injury through the personal injury claims process.

An experienced personal injury attorney can:

  • Determine who caused the accident and the availability of associated insurance resources that can provide your compensation.
  • Evaluate your claim to account for the accident’s severity, how much insurance coverage is available, the expenses you incurred in medically treating your injury, and how the injury impacted your quality of life.
  • Gather evidence that can prove liability and expenses. The evidence used to establish liability in a car accident often includes photos from the accident scene, the police report, witness testimony, and information such as a driver’s drug or alcohol test results and the expert testimony of accident reconstruction professionals. Medical and vehicle repair bills, employment documentation, and testimony from medical professionals can prove expenses.
  • Manage your case’s deadlines to ensure your right to file your claim in court. Car accident claimants in West Virginia typically have two years to file their claim in court. If you fail to file the claim by then, you cannot seek compensation for your injury.
  • Manage communication with the insurance provider to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf and protect your claim from common insurance company tactics.
  • Advise you about the process, the value of your claim, and other matters as necessary to ensure you have the information available to make reasoned decisions about the status of your case.
  • Litigate your claim by preparing evidence exhibits, delivering opening and closing arguments, and questioning witnesses.
  • Collect your settlement or award.

Injured in an Accident? A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

If a negligent driver in West Virginia caused you harm, you likely have many questions about your case and legal options. A personal injury legal team can answer those questions and provide you with information about the process that can help determine your next steps. Contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible for more information about your rights.

Can a Lawyer Help Me After All Types of Car Accidents?

Car accidents happen every day and are rarely as simple as the front of one car crashing into another. When drivers lose control, they cause sideswipes, rear-end collisions, and many other types of car accidents. When a large truck collides with a smaller vehicle, it often generates horrific damage and devastating injuries.

When you report an accident to your insurer, the first thing they want to know is how the accident occurred. They talk to both drivers about impact, speed, damage location, and other factors. They evaluate passengers’ positions to understand how their injuries occurred. Frequently, two or more drivers involved in the same accident provide conflicting stories. It is your job to figure out what happened based on your perspective and report the crash as accurately as you can.

This blog discusses the most common types of car accidents to help you figure out what happened. No matter what type of crash someone caused you, a car accident lawyer near you can help.

Single-Vehicle Crashes

Single-car crashes happen for many reasons. They often occur due to risky driving behaviors such as speeding, DUI, and distracted driving. Mechanical issues, defective tires, improper repairs, unrestrained animals, and other negligent acts also cause single-vehicle crashes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association Traffic Safety Facts Annual Report Tables show that 1,817,000 single-car crashes caused:

  • Collisions with fixed objects: culverts, shrubbery, trees, bridges, etc.,
    • Fatalities: 9,512
    • Injuries: 281,000
    • Property damage: 657,000
  • Collisions with non-fixed objects: pedestrians, animals, trains, bicyclists, etc.,
    • Fatalities: 7,747
    • Injuries: 214,000
    • Property damage only: 648,000

Rollovers

The NHTSA categorizes rollovers as a distinct type of single-vehicle accident category. They occur when a driver loses control of the vehicle and rolls over. Past research determined that vehicles with center-of-gravity design flaws rolled more frequently. Weather is often a factor as well.

The most recent national NHTSA statistics show that 87,000 rollover accidents caused 2,498 fatalities, 51,000 injuries, and 33,000 property damage cases over one year.

Frontal Crashes

Front-end accidents occur when one driver leaves their lane and crashes head-on into an oncoming vehicle. Risky behaviors like speeding, distracted driving, or driving under the influence frequently cause these accidents. The NHTSA’s most recent national data shows that front-end accidents caused 3,613 deaths, 91,000 injuries, and 86,000 cases of property damage in one year alone.

The vehicle’s size and ability to withstand a severe impact can affect how badly people in front-end collisions get injured. The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety tests vehicles for crashworthiness and crash avoidance: its Vehicle Rating page provides vehicle-specific information for front-end crashworthiness and other factors.

Rear-End Accidents

The NHTSA has documented that rear-end collisions occur more frequently than any other type of collision. In most cases, the driver who strikes the other vehicle in the rear is blamed for these accidents.

These types of accidents often occur when one driver fails to maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of them. Rear-end accidents also happen when one driver suddenly slams on the brakes, making a collision unavoidable. A crash is usually inevitable in this situation, even if the rear driver maintains space between the cars.

The NHTSA national statistics show that rear-end accidents caused 2,346 deaths, almost 600,000 injuries, and over 1.5 million property damage cases in a year.

Staged Accidents

Con artists sometimes orchestrate fraudulent injury schemes by staging fake auto accidents with an innocent victim. The National Insurance Crime Bureau calls one of these moves the swoop and squat.

This is a common staged accident where two vehicles work together. The squat vehicle pulls in front of the victim in traffic. The swoop vehicle pulls in front of the squat vehicle and stops suddenly. The squat vehicle driver also stops suddenly, and the victim crashes into their rear. The swoop vehicle then leaves the scene unidentified; all of the passengers in the squat vehicle report whiplash and other injuries. The victim gets left on the hook for damages unless an investigation takes place.

Side-Impact Accidents

People use several terms when describing a side-impact crash. The NHTSA’s national crash data lists these accidents as angle crashes. You may also hear people call them T-bone accidents. In one year alone, the NHTSA documented over 1.4 million side-impact accidents, which caused 6,039 deaths, over 500,000 injuries, and almost one million cases of property damage.

Side-crash casualty statistics demonstrate how the point of impact and passenger location contribute to injury severity. When one vehicle crashes into the side of another, the impact occurs close to the passenger. Rear passengers, in particular, have fewer protective barriers than front-seat passengers. The potential for injury increases when a larger vehicle or truck crashes into the side of a much smaller car.

Sideswipes

Sideswipe accidents cause more damage than the name implies. They happen most frequently when one driver attempts to change lanes and the side of their vehicle scrapes another. They also occur when a driver drifts out of their lane.

Damage and injury severity depend on the vehicles involved, the differences in size and mass, and the speed of impact. When a large truck without side underride guards sideswipes a car, it sometimes lodges the car beneath the truck.

In one year, sideswipe accidents caused almost 1,000 deaths, injured over 100,000 people, and damaged over 700,000 pieces of property.

Non-Contact Crashes

Every year, thousands of non-contact crashes occur. These accidents sometimes occur when a vehicle loses control while avoiding a collision with another vehicle. They also happen when a driver loses control due to weather, pavement, or traffic conditions. Since they involve a single vehicle, drivers do not always report these crashes to local authorities.

Multi-vehicle crashes

Multi-vehicle accidents occur most often during adverse weather and heavy traffic. A speeding, aggressive, or reckless driver often loses control, affecting all the drivers and vehicles in the immediate area.

A chain reaction is another type of multiple car accident. Claim investigators usually try to pin down a single driver as the initiator. When an accident involves a chain of rear-end collisions, liability is unclear. When a driver starts a chain of rear-end accidents, insurers often blame other drivers for inappropriate braking or acceleration during a crash.

Discuss Your Accident With a Car Accident Attorney

When another driver seriously injures you, focus on your recovery. Connect with a car accident attorney who can handle the legal case on your behalf. Car accident lawyers deal with the responsible parties, insurers, and their lawyers. An attorney knows how to represent you and take the right steps to collect your compensation after a car accident.

Car accident law firms offer free consultations, which give you a chance to discuss how your accident happened and what compensation you can expect. Contact a lawyer to learn more.

Tow Trucks: Causing Accidents While Transporting Heavy Cargo

Transporting vehicles requires the strength of a tow truck and the skills of a professionally trained driver. Safety is paramount for all road users, whether the car towed suffered damage, mechanical issues, or someone is repossessing it.

If you suffered severe injuries due to a tow truck accident involving negligence, you may want to contact a West Virginia tow truck attorney today.

Types of Tow Trucks

Sharing a West Virginia highway or city street with a tow truck is sometimes an intimidating experience. The sheer size and weight of the truck and the vehicle it tows outnumber that of a car, truck, motorcycle, or bicycle.

There are four types of tow trucks most motorists encounter during their travels:

  • Hook and chain tow truck: use a large hook to secure a vehicle’s bumper or axle and chains to wrap the vehicle frame
  • Flatbed tow truck: a hydraulic lift raises a car onto the bed of the truck; sometimes referred to as a rollback
  • Wheel lift tow truck: use a yoke under the front or back wheels of a car and hydraulic lift; fast use makes the truck common among repo companies
  • Integrated tow truck: extra axles allow integrated tow trucks to tow such items as motorhomes or busses

Each tow truck requires a dedicated focus on the road and a safely secured load. If you suffered severe injuries from a tow truck accident caused by one of the trucks listed above, a lawyer can help you fight for compensation.

Common Causes of Tow Truck Accidents

A tow truck accident can occur due to operator error, mechanical issues, or both. The same problems that can affect drivers of passenger vehicles can cause a tow truck driver to lose control of their truck and load.

Among the most common causes of tow truck accidents include:

  • Driver fatigue: A tow truck driver is often on-call and can work varied shifts. Drifting to sleep behind the wheel of a tow truck can result in life-changing injuries for other drivers.
  • Drunk driving: Tow truck drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.04 percent face severe consequences for their actions. An impaired tow truck driver experiences such issues as delayed reaction times and reduced coordination.
  • Aggressive driving: A tow truck driver may speed or dangerously—yet purposely—change lanes without warning. Acts of road rage by a tow truck driver can result in serious harm for those around them.
  • Distracted driving: Smartphones are sometimes a contributing factor in West Virginia accidents. For a tow truck driver, other forms of distraction are navigational devices, communication radios, and activity outside the cab.

West Virginia law sets strict requirements for obtaining a commercial driver’s license. When a tow truck driver engages in one or more of these behaviors behind the wheel, losing their license is a real possibility.

A tragic tow truck accident can also occur due to a poorly secured load or mechanical issues. No matter what the cause, accident victims who suffer damages due to the negligence of a reckless tow truck driver deserve justice.

Tow Truck Accidents: Injuries and Liability

In a tow truck accident, the injuries you suffer can prevent you from working. As your medical bills climb, your income can decline or disappear forever if you cannot return to your job.

A West Virginia tow truck accident lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your damages. In addition, depending upon the severity of your injuries, you or a loved one may require medical care on an ongoing basis.

Tow truck accident claims and lawsuits typically include such damages as:

  • Medical expenses: immediate, current, and ongoing
  • Wages: temporary loss of income or loss of potential future earnings
  • Pain and suffering: the overall impact on your physical, psychological, and emotional health

Sadly, some West Virginia tow truck accidents result in a fatality. If your loved one did not survive their injuries, you may want to pursue a wrongful death case against those responsible.

If your loved one provides financially for your family, their death can devastate you financially. While compensation cannot replace your loved one, it can, if successful, ease your financial stress. Typical damages in a wrongful death case include final medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost earnings.

How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You

Investigating a tow truck accident for a civil case demands a dedicated focus. The injuries you experienced leave you with no time for the complex legalities of your case.

While there is no way to predict the outcome of your case, a truck accident lawyer will work hard to obtain the best result possible. Most civil cases settle out of court as insurance companies do not want the time and cost of a trial.

A lawyer can help you, but you must act quickly. The West Virginia statute of limitations for civil lawsuits is two years, with no second chance if you do not file your case promptly.

Consider Seeking Help for Your Tow Truck Accident

No road user expects to suffer life-altering harm due to a negligent tow truck driver. The traumatic impact of your crash or the devastating loss of your loved one forever impacts your quality of life, and that is not fair.

To protect your best interests, you may want to contact a West Virginia tow truck accident lawyer for a free case consultation. Discussing your case with someone knowledgeable about state civil laws can help you learn more about your options.

Twenty-four months to pursue legal action is not much time. The lawyer you hire needs time to investigate the accident, gather evidence, and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.

You can start protecting your best interests by refusing to speak with an aggressive insurance adjuster. Contact a Morgantown tow truck accident lawyer instead. It is the best way to guard yourself against accepting less than you deserve.

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