Benson & Bingham

Types of Motor Vehicle Accidents

Below is a summary and explanation of the types of car accidents our law firm excels at handling:

DUI Accident

DUI accidents continue to haunt Nevada residents and tourists travelling our cities’ roadways. Stiffer punishments do not deter criminal conduct and every year more people die because people get behind the wheel while intoxicated; others are permanently injured. Alcohol is a 24-hour hobby in Nevada, and the risk of driving here is that much greater given all the consumption.  In many cases the drunk driver is operating his or her vehicle in an aggressive manor.  Unfortunately, alcohol promotes reckless behavior.  Often times the victim suffers significant injuries while the drunk driver exits the vehicle with only minor bumps and bruises.  This phenomenon is the result of the intoxicated party staying loser or relaxed prior to impact.  Conversely, when the victim perceives the approaching impact, they brace themselves; in doing so, the victim’s limbs are forcefully extended and upon impact, muscles, tendons and ligaments rip and tear rather then flex and extend. If you have been the victim of an accident caused by a drunk driver it is crucial to retain an aggressive attorney that will fight for your rights in getting the compensation you deserve. Benson & Bingham will use the facts of the DUI to push the insurance companies to the limit in resolving your case.

DUI Injury Accident Law Firm in Nevada | Protecting Injured Victims in Las Vegas, NV from Benson Bingham on Vimeo.

If the injuries resulted from a DUI accident are severe, the attorney’s at Benson & Bingham may decide to file a lawsuit immediately rather than try to resolve the case pre litigation. The advantages in doing this are case specific. Should your injuries or the injuries of a loved one be the result of a DUI accident please take a moment to fill out a brief summary of the events on our website or contact us by phone and an experienced attorney will call you back today.

T-bone Accidents

Side impact car accidents often result in traumatic injuries.  Side impacts are usually caused by a party whom runs a stop sign or stoplight; thus, no braking or vehicle slowing occurs. The energy from the speeds of both cars is transferred to the occupants. The dramatic reduction in force when a vehicle is caused to decelerate in an instant causes body parts to mechanically move in an opposite and immediate direction causing tearing, ripping, and jolting of muscle tissues and ligaments. Resulting spinal and/or neck injuries are very prominent, as well as major bone injuries like: fractured ribs, broken pelvis, lumbar spine injuries, fractured legs and arms, and serious head trauma.

Side impact car accidents often seal doors on the impacted vehicle such than extrusion tools are necessary to free the passengers. Modern day side-impact air bags attempt to cushion the blows from side impacts, but the forces are often so great that air bags will not completely absolve the deceleration forces impacting the body. The impact areas of the struck vehicles can tell investigators whom may have entered the intersection first,and skid marks can also help determine speeds. Vehicle recording devices also help investigators determine exact speeds at time of impact.

Side impact accidents often produce consistent injuries -left sided impacts naturally result in left sided trauma, and vice-versa. Often the force of the impact causes the body to move in the opposite direction of the side impacted. Thus, a right side impact will cause the body to, at first, go right with body extremities going the opposite direction given the forward momentum they had prior to and during the impact. The twisting and turning of the body joints cause major core injuries around the muscular skeletal system. T-bone accidents typically involve two vehicles or more that are traveling at moderate to fast speeds, and the injuries can be deadly. No reaction by either driver is completed given the emergent crash. Thus, we refer to these accidents as the “unexpected” crash scenarios.

Failure to Yield Car Accidents

Failure to yield car accidents are typical in Nevada as Las Vegas and Reno utilize green permissive lights requiring drivers to yield to oncoming traffic. Drivers often confuse the green circle with the green arrow thinking green means go. Drivers also will attempt to make a green circle turn thinking they can beat oncoming traffic who might also have a green light. Misjudging speed is a critical mistake and creates a liability mess if independent witnesses were not there to eyeball the accident. Similar to T-bone style accidents, failure to yield the right-of-way often have high speeds contributing to the impacts causing severe injuries and death.

For example, in 2013 Benson & Bingham helped a young woman recover for injuries she sustained as a result of a motor vehicle accident involving her private use vehicle and an International tractor-trailer. The plaintiff, a single mother, was seriously injured because the Defendant driver failed to yield the right of way at an intersection. Her life was turned upside down when the Defendant driver pulled into Plaintiff’s lane, thereby causing the Plaintiffs vehicle to become trapped under the tractor-trailer. When a Defendant fails to obey Nevada’s Right-of-Way laws, and they are cited for their failure to do so, they become Negligent Per Se. This means that they are deemed negligent as a matter of law. Further, as was the case for this particular plaintiff, the Defendant driver’s employer may also be held liable if the driver was acting in the course and scope of his employment.

The Above Video is an Example of Footage from a Rear End Auto Accident we Acquired in Order to Litigate a Client’s Case

Rear-End Car Accidents

Rear end car accidents are some of the most common accidents in Nevada and the #1 contributor to these type of accidents is speed. Speeds are often misjudged, including drivers failing to maintain a safe travel distance (tailgating) behind your vehicle, resulting in a rear end impact. Given one car is often totally stopped, the impacts can be deadly if the speeds are high enough. Distracted driving is also a major cause of rear end accidents as texting, cell phone use, and other attention grabbing issues distract the driver from being careful. Intersections and freeways are major rear-end accident areas as well. Experienced car accident attorneys who are used to handling such impacts are aware of the needs of rear end victims as the injuries tend to involve the neck and lower back. Seat belt systems keep passengers from being killed, but tether the body to the seat without much energy absorption. This pressure from being stopped causes lumbar disc disruption and major strain on the tendons, muscles and ligaments that protect the spinal column. Whiplash of the cervical region is also a very common injury that can require months of rehabilitation and treatment. Often the injuries are so severe they are permanent.

Particularly dangerous are motor vehicle rear end accidents that take place on Nevada’s freeways (I-95, I-15, I-215, I-80, US 395). Traffic will often bottleneck, thereby causing vehicles to abruptly stop. Those operating commercial vehicles such as semi tractor-trailers, diesels, 18-wheelers, big rigs or other heavy equipment need to leave adequate space between themselves and vehicles traveling in front of them. Accidents involving heavy commercial vehicles often result in horrific injury. To prevent rear end collisions the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles recommends a traveling distance of at least two seconds from the vehicle in front of you. Using this two second scale would significantly reduce tailgating and rear-end automobile accidents.

The Above is a Four Speeds Impact Video Benson & Bingham Commissioned for a Client injured in a Rear End Accident

Multi-car accidents are typically rear end style accidents where car 1 hits car 2, and car 2 hits car 3, and so on.  Unsafe lane changes, whereby a vehicle makes contact with the front or rear of a victim’s vehicle is also common.  In unsafe lane change accidents, the victim’s car often spins out of control, often times striking other vehicles or even crossing pedestrians.  The laws of physics usually dictate that most damage occurs to the first car and as energy is absorbed, the other cars to a lesser degree, also get impacted. Depending on the distance in between the vehicles energy transfer can occur or be absorbed by any one car in the chain of events. These types of accidents stress the need for under-insurance coverage given that there are multiple parties with a likelihood of minimal insurance coverage; thus, the quandary of little coverage and major damages. The law does not discriminate in who gets the lion’s share of the coverage in a multi-car accident. Often these victims share the policy proceeds by way of an equal apportionment or more often, a pro-rata share. When bodily injury and property damages expenses far exceed the policy limits of the at-fault party, the insurance proceeds are interplead with the Courts to decide how the monies should be split if all parties can’t agree on a fair share. This can be complicated when one of the parties is not represented by counsel as they may not understand the process causing unnecessary delay and typically more costs as it forces some of the parties to file lawsuits unnecessarily.

Head-on Collisions

Head on collision car accidents involve front end to front end impacts with the most severe consequences. The inertia of energy created by head on collisions is devastating and often result in death, occupant ejection, and/or catastrophic injuries. Head on collisions are common on two-way roadways where separation of lanes is minimal and lane crossing is easy to occur. Drunk driving, sleep deprivation, and distracted driving are just a few of the causes of head on collisions. Freeway head-to-head collisions usually involve speeds up to 80 mph in both directions causing a delta V (or change in direction) of massive energy. Thus the impact energy is equal to 160 mph of force. Occupants in such car accidents are fortunate to survive. Frontal airbags may avoid facial injuries, but he sudden deceleration is so severe that internal organs including the brain and spinal column often do not stay intact. Brain shearing injuries, spinal cord disruption, and major organ bleeding can occur.

Sideswipe Car Accidents

Side swipe car accidents occur when a driver may overreact or actually take action to avoid a full blown T-bone accident. Side swipe accidents also occur when drivers make lane changes not seeing the vehicle in the next lane. Commonly known as “blind spot” accidents damage to the vehicles occur on the side doors and quarter panels of the car. The intrusive damage is not as sever as other styles of car accidents, but the impacts can still be great the to occupant shoulders and necks as the jerking mechanism of the impact is unexpected and can be severe. Insurance companies often balk at injuries sustained in side swipe accidents because they can argue that the impact forces are not as severe as say a T-bone or intersection collision type accident. Our team of biomechanical experts will investigate, research and analyze the impact to causally link the accident to the injuries complained of. Car accident attorneys must understand the physics of the accident to understand what arguments the opposing side will make. The personal injury lawyers of Benson & Bingham understand the vehicle dynamics of sideswipe car accidents and have handled thousands of vehicle accident cases.

Angled Car Accidents

Angled car accidents simply mean a vectored line accident whereby a vehicle for some purpose makes a direct line approaching and impacting another vehicle a 5 to 45 degree angle causing an impact. Angled car accidents are hard to distinguish from T-bone accidents or other style impacts, but may be caused by major lane crossing, blown red lights, and ricochet accidents or secondary impacts. The speeds and forces of such impacts are similar to distracted driving and other no reaction accidents.

Fatal Car Accidents

Fatal car accident attorneys are a special and seasoned breed of lawyers who are familiar with the laws of Nevada and understand the requirements of establishing an estate. Natural living heirs are the Plaintiffs in a wrongful death action along with the administrator of the estate. The estate is only entitled to punitive damages, medical expenses, and funeral expenses. Our law firm will represent the estate and the individual heirs in a wrongful death lawsuit. Sometimes in may not be prudent to open an estate if medical expenses were limited and reckless or intentional conduct was not involved (thus the prayer for punitive damages may not be available). Opening an estate is a very good idea if the medical expenses accumulated prior to the death of the decedent were high.

Fender Benders

Fender bender car accidents are impacts that are usually not jaw dropping or have much property damage. Fender bender car accidents may present whiplash injuries and may have more damage present under the bumper. Car accident mechanics and insurance estimators may pull off the bumper of those cars to check the integrity of the bumper cushion, and inspect for frame damage even if the vehicle skin appears to be of “minor damage.” Most car insurance claims representatives will offer fair settlements on damages that exceed $1,000.00 on bumper or other property damage. This threshold is a line in the sand that may direct the claim to a “low impact” review and low initial personal injury monetary offer.

Private Property Car Accidents

Private property car accidents may or may not be investigated by the local police agency, LVMPD or other department given the accident may not be covered by local or state statutes. Private property accidents are still covered under common law or Nevada case law for negligence. Excessive speed in a parking lots is a common cause of accidents as parties often are in a hurry or may think the travel lane is not speed restricted given the lack of speed limit signs. Failure to yield to oncoming traffic or failing to recognize a vehicle who may be reversing out in a cautious manner cause injury accidents. If the police have not been summoned or refuse to entertain the accident, it is a prudent idea to file your own police report with the local police station. It is also imperative to get the license plate # and exchange personal information including insurance information. For mor informaiton, please visit: Property Damage and Auto Accidents.

Commercial Vehicle Accidents

Commercial car accidents may involve everything from taxicabs, limousines, buses, utility trucks and business vehicles. Much of that content is covered within our website under those subject headings. Commercial accidents usually involve higher insurance limits, which is beneficial for those who sustain major injuries. Commercial drivers usually need a commercial drivers license (CDL) to operate a commercial vehicle, and may be violating a commercial DOT or other driving regulation if doing so otherwise. Commercial vehicles also have special features that are not always revealed to opposing sides. Such features include video footage, computer monitoring of the vehicle that captures speed, location, and other factual details.

Rollover Car Accident Cases

Rollover car accidents are often caused by driver error or products liability (tire failure). Falling asleep is a very common cause of rollover accidents. Drivers may fall asleep and wake up as they are going off road, and in an knee jerk re-action they may pull the steering wheel overcorrecting and causing the vehicle to begin a rollover event. That rollover event can be deadly. The Driver’s insurance policy will be liable for payment to the passengers, but often the policy is deficient to provide adequate coverage to those involved. Seat belt failure should be looked at as well as structural stability of the occupant cage as possible other avenues of legal liability. Preservation of the vehicle and its contents is an important evidentiary concern. Yaw marks, paint marks and scratches, can be very telling information on speed, number of rolls in the rollover sequence, vehicle velocity, and occupant direction. We specialize in investigating rollover car accidents.

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving is one of the leading causes of automobile accidents resulting in neck and back injuries. In fact, aggressive driving contributes to almost 50% of all car accidents on the roadway. Per the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, “Aggressive driving is when an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses that endangers other persons or property.” There are many forms of aggressive driving which include:

  • Speeding
  • Driving to fast for conditions
  • Tailgating or following to close
  • Successive or rapid lane changing maneuvers
  • Failure to yield to the right-of-way
  • Lane Blocking
  • Passing or traveling in the emergency lane or shoulder
  • Racing
  • Ignoring or disregarding traffic signals
  • Failure to obey safety zones or school zones

Placing aside the definitions above, we all know aggressive driving when we see it first hand. That “other driver” who appears to be impatient or anxious and is taking risks that we immediately recognize as dangerous and having potential to cause an accident. Many reported cases of aggressive driving are the result of an individuals financial, emotional, and/or personal relationship issues. There is an important distinction between aggressive driving and road rage. Road rage is considered an intentional act wherein the driver is using his vehicle as a weapon or perhaps giving chase to another vehicle. Road rage is an intentional criminal act. Due to the intentional nature of the drivers’ conduct, insurance companies will not cover road rage acts. Insurance coverage is designed and contracted to cover negligent acts, such as aggressive driving which lacks the actual “intent” to use a vehicle as a weapon.

Irrespective, where does that leave an injured victim who was in the path of an aggressive driver? Aggressive driving usually leads to aggressive injuries including spinal displacement injuries such as a disc bulge or protrusion, neck and back sprain or strain injuries, head or traumatic brain injuries and or death. At Benson & Bingham, we can assist you in putting the insurance companies on notice in opening a claim with the aggressive drivers insurance carrier. Do not let them mitigate or downplay their aggressive driving behavior. Aggressive drivers often attempt to deny or alter what actually caused the accident after leaving the accident scene. We work closely with investigators and when necessary we deploy investigators and engineers to the scene of an accident to survey the area and roadway, gather critical physical evidence such as skid marks, debris and roadway indentions as well as gathering witness information and eyewitness statements. The fact gathering process is critical in preserving the evidence in your case. Our firm has successfully handled tens of thousands of car accident claims. Let our team of compassionate and experienced lawyers walk you through securing the evidence in your claim and protect your rights under Nevada law.

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