Car accidents are so frequent in the United States they can seem like an unavoidable fact of life. Even those who check their local news cannot avoid running across a grisly story.
The unfortunate reality is more people are driving and more fatal accidents than ever. As reported by NBC News, traffic deaths hit a 20-year high in 2022. So what is causing so many accidents? We have documented 5 types of car accidents and their legal precedent to help best prepare you for a potential worse-case-scenario.
5 Types of Car Accidents and Their Legal Precedent
The constant familiarity of accidents can make it tempting to believe you have a solid grasp of how the law works. Nonetheless, the details of recent car collision legal precedents may surprise you. Even more significantly, the details below could prove helpful in your circumstances. Learn about 5 types of car accidents and their legal precedent, and get prepared today!
Progressive defines a rollover as an incident where your vehicle winds up on its roof or side. More significant incidents involve multiple rolls that expose the occupants to more danger. No matter how many cars or trucks become involved, these events are consequential and complex. For instance, there could be questions about the cause of the accident and who is at fault. These factors makes rollovers a good example of 5 types of car accidents and their legal precedent.
A notable example of the legal complications comes from Branham v. Ford Motor Co. They ruled on a lawsuit where the plaintiff claimed their vehicle tended to roll over. As a result, they sought millions of dollars in damages from the Ford Motor Company.
The highest court in South Carolina ordered a retrial based on a lack of evidence. They decided the plaintiff’s attorney did not prove there was a viable alternate design. Moreover, they asserted that the jury would help prevent similar incidents by siding with their client. Ultimately, this strategy backfired and forced a retrial that would have to focus on other elements.
The lesson here is the strategy employed in a rollover civil case is paramount. If your car accident attorney wants to pursue litigation against the manufacturer, they need a sound justification. Otherwise, your litigation would benefit more from focusing on the fault of the other drivers.
A head-on collision is self-descriptive, but that should not take away from its serious potential dangers.
The National Safety Council has shocking facts about this type of car accident. Their data found that 28% of deaths in motor vehicle crashes happened during head-on collisions. In 2020 alone, these incidents claimed the lives of over 5,000 Americans.
The severe nature of these injuries has led to sizable settlements. Moreover, there are precedents that the responsible party cannot discharge the debt through bankruptcy. An example of this dynamic comes from the 2022 case of Schoonover v. Elford (In re Elford).
In this circumstance, the defendant received a verdict to pay $2.96 million in damages and $376,200 in restitution. This judgment came down due to his alleged fault in a head-on collision. Mr. Elford tried to discharge this debt through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of California. Ultimately, his efforts were unsuccessful because the judiciary found him to be at obvious fault for the incident.
Many victims of car collisions may fear that even if they win in court, they may not see financial benefits for a personal injury. Thankfully, there is a precedent that even bankruptcy cannot drop this financial obligation to them.
Rear-end collisions are among the most common and dangerous incidents on American highways. Some estimates say that this type of car accident happens every eight seconds. Therefore, rear end collisions are a perfect example of 5 types of car accidents and their legal precedent.
There are few circumstances where the party that runs into a vehicle from behind is not at fault. However, there are some exceptions under various state laws. For instance, Michigan Vehicle Code makes a crucial distinction for these collisions. This legislation applies one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset. If the driver who suffered the rear-end impact did not have working tail lights, the person who hit them is not responsible.
In most circumstances, it is difficult to believe the person driving the vehicle struck from behind is at fault. But, there are situations where comparative negligence laws apply. An illustration of this fact comes from Birge v. Charron in 2012.
Hit and Run
Every state has significant penalties for fleeing the scene of a motor vehicle accident. Unfortunately, they can vary wildly in the severity of the criminal punishment. According to AAA, even situations involving an injury or death can range from a misdemeanor to a felony offense.
Consequently, some motorists that cause significant harm can walk away without jail time. Some perpetrators can even get away with some fines and community service. But, even if law enforcement doesn’t come down hard, you can pursue a punishing civil case. A notable example from 2022 resulted in an eye-opening $10 million settlement.
In this situation, a city manager struck a pedestrian while driving a municipal vehicle. He sped away from the scene and left the victim where they lay with several fractures and brain swelling. Accordingly, the lawsuit that followed cost this Chicago suburb dearly.
A t-bone accident refers to one car striking another in its side. While these incidents can happen anywhere, they tend to occur most often at intersections. As a result, they are likely the result of negligence. The driver at fault may have sped up at a yellow light or had their eyes on their cell phone. Especially when considering a potential personal injury case, T-bones are notably one of 5 types of car accidents and their legal precedent to be aware of.
A t-bone accident is quite dangerous for the car occupants that receive the strike. Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows they represented 23% of car accident deaths in 2020.
The dramatic and traumatic nature of t-bone collisions often results in headline news. This attention often comes immediately after the accident and when the civil case it generates finishes. They frequently catch attention since they reach millions of dollars to compensate for the pain and suffering.
For example, Markets Insider reported on a $1.03 million settlement after a t-bone accident in Massachusetts. The woman who suffered debilitating injuries had an extended stay in the hospital. When she left, she had to stay at the Boston Rescue Mission while her lawsuit proceeded.
Do You Need an Attorney Who Specializes in Car Accidents?
Car accidents may seem like they should be straightforward. Regardless, as you have read, there can be complexity in how they resolve. These 5 types of car accidents and their legal precedent alone could go many ways based on the mitigating circumstances.
Hiring a car accident lawyer can be one of the most beneficial decisions an auto accident victim makes. Alternatively, those with heavy liabilities for what occurred deserve competent representation. No matter what situation applies to you, we can connect you with the legal counsel you deserve. Send us a request or call (866) 345-6784 today!