When you turn on the news, look at stories online, or are even just driving down the road, you’re bound to hear about, read about, or see a car accident.
Last year, there were 373,754 total crashes in Florida. Of those crashes, 159,671 were injury crashes and 211,423 were property damage crashes. And 2,660 crashes resulted in fatalities.
So far this year, we’re at 70,640 crashes and we’re not even a quarter of the way into 2016.
With these numbers continuing to grow, it’s more important than ever that we are fully aware when we’re driving. Despite car accidents becoming a normal occurrence, they are often preventable. In order to prevent accidents from happening, we should look at the most common types of car accidents so we know what to look out for when we’re on the road as a driver, passenger, or bystander.
Vehicle vs. Vehicle Crashes
When two cars collide, you have a vehicle vs. vehicle crash. These can be especially dangerous, because while you may have control over your vehicle, you have no control over what other drivers do. The most common collisions involving two or more vehicles include:
Rear-end accidents. Many times, these types of accidents are referred to as fender benders. Because cars tend to travel closely behind other cars, especially when stuck in traffic, these accidents can occur when one car speeds up or slows down too quickly. Rear-end accidents commonly happen at traffic lights and intersections, but can happen anywhere if you’re not paying attention.
Fender benders can be mild, where no one gets hurt and both cars are able to safely drive away, or they can be more serious depending on the nature of the impact. If you’re involved in a serious fender bender, your car might have to be towed and you’re more susceptible to injuries.
Side impact accidents. These types of accidents are often called “T-bone” crashes because one car hits another car on the driver or passenger side, forming a T. These accidents tend to happen at intersections and often involve someone failing to abide by traffic lights or traffic signs. Side impact accidents usually involve significant car damage and often result in injuries, which can be severe.
Head-on accidents. Head-on accidents tend to be the most serious and dangerous accidents, even if cars aren’t traveling very fast. These accidents often happen at intersections or when someone is traveling on the wrong side of the road. When that happens, there’s a high chance the other driver might be intoxicated. If you’re involved in a head-on collision, it’s likely to result in irreparable car damage, serious injuries, and sometimes even death.
Vehicle vs. Non-Vehicle Crashes
Sometimes, a car doesn’t collide with another moving vehicle. Sometimes cars crash into some other object on or near the road.
Fixed object accidents. Fixed objects are objects that don’t move. On the road, these objects could include light poles, fire hydrants, road signs, embankments, and other similar objects. Depending on the car’s speed, the object, and whether or not the people in the car are wearing seatbelts, these types of crashes can cause car damage and injuries.
Stationary object accidents. These accidents involve another car, but that car isn’t being moved or operated at the time of the crash. So hitting a parked car on the road or in a parking lot would qualify has a stationary object accident. Luckily, these kinds of accidents don’t generally involve serious injuries, but they can cause damage to both vehicles depending on the severity of the crash.
Pedestrian accident. Pedestrian accidents are some of the worst types of accidents because they usually involve serious injuries to the pedestrian. Although these types of accidents don’t occur as often as the other types of accidents – there were 9,061 last year in Florida – they still occur far too frequently. So be aware of pedestrians anytime you’re on the road. Even if the pedestrian is the one making a wrong move, you could be liable if you hit them.
Preventing Car Accidents
Preventing car accidents starts with focusing on driving. When we’re on the road, there are tons of distractions that can easily cause us to stop paying attention. And before you know it, you’re involved in an accident.
The best way to avoid car accidents is to make driving your primary focus while in the car. Be cautious and constantly aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to other drivers on the road and anticipate foreseeable risks. Remain distraction-free by putting away your cellphone. And, of course, don’t drink and drive.
On the flip side of the equation, if you are injured due to the negligence of a motorist, it is important to realize that you can hold them accountable for their actions and recover damages for your bills, lost wages, and suffering by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Often, this is the only way that victims can get justice and return to their regular lives.
About the Author: A partner at Lawlor, White & Murphey and a distinguished personal injury lawyer, Ben Murphey tries complex disputes that include civil appeals, maritime and admiralty claims, wrongful death, and labor disputes. Mr. Murphey has been recognized for his excellence in the area of personal injury litigation by being rewarded with a 10/10 Avvo Rating and named a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” for the last four consecutive years (2011-2014). Mr. Murphey regularly tries cases in state and federal courts around the country, being admitted to practice before all Florida courts and the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.