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Types of Motor Vehicle Accidents

Car accidents affect millions of lives across the United States every year. Here are the most common types of traffic accidents with which car accident attorneys help their clients.

DUI Accident

DUI accidents continue to haunt Nevada residents and tourists traveling our cities’ roadways. Alcohol is a 24-hour hobby in Nevada, and the risk of driving here is that much greater given all the consumption. Almost one-third of all traffic deaths in Nevada involve a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or more, the legal limit for driving under the influence (DUI).

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.

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol slows a driver’s reaction time, impairs his vision, and leads to dangerous decision making. In many cases, the drunk driver aggressively operates his or her vehicle. Unfortunately, alcohol promotes reckless behavior.

Often 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 looser or relaxed before impact. 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 than flex and extend.

Criminal penalties await anyone who causes an accident because of drug or alcohol impairment. Those drivers (and their insurance carriers) also face civil liability for damages caused by their dangerous, illegal behavior.

If you were the victim of an accident caused by a drunk driver, retain an aggressive attorney that will fight for your rights in getting the compensation you deserve. Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC will use the facts of the DUI to push the insurance companies to the limit in resolving your case.

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

T-bone Accidents

A T-bone collision is sometimes referred to as a broadside. It happens when the front end of one vehicle hits the side of another vehicle, roughly forming the shape of the letter T.

T-bones most often happen at intersections when one driver fails to obey a stop sign or signal. T-bones account for a significant proportion of fatal and severe injury accidents at intersections every year.

Side impact car accidents often result in traumatic injuries. A party who runs a stop sign or stoplight usually causes side impacts; 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 that extraction tools are necessary to free the passengers. Modern-day side-impact airbags attempt to cushion the blows from side impacts, but the forces are often so great that airbags will not completely absorb the deceleration forces on the body. The impact areas of the struck vehicles can tell investigators who may have entered the intersection first, and skid marks can also help determine speeds. Vehicle recording devices also help investigators determine exact speeds at the 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. 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 before 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 kill people. 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

In various driving scenarios, vehicles are required by law to yield the right of way to other vehicles, as well as motorcycles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Nearly 18 percent of accident deaths occur because of an angled impact, often resulting from a failure to yield, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).

Failure to yield car accidents are typical in Nevada because Las Vegas and Reno use 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, vehicles often travel at excessive speeds when drivers fail to yield the right-of-way, causing severe injuries and death.

For example, Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC 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 plaintiff’s 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.

Nevada Right-of-Way Laws:  The below rules of the road concerning right-of-way laws in the State of Nevada can be found at the aforementioned link.

  • NRS § 484B.250: “Vehicle Approaching or Entering Intersection”
  • NRS § 484B.253: “Vehicles Turning Left.”
  • NRS § 484B.257: “Vehicles Entering Intersection Marked Stop or Yield.”
  • NRS § 484B.260: “Vehicle entering highway from private way.”
  • NRS § 484B.263: “Vehicle entering or exiting controlled-access highway: Duty to yield right of way.”
  • NRS § 484B.267: “Operation of vehicle approach of authorized emergency vehicle or official vehicle of regulatory agency.”
  • NRS § 484B.270: “Vehicles, bicycles, electric bicycles and pedestrians: Driver’s duty of due care; additional penalty if driver is proximate cause of collision with person riding bicycle.”

Rear-End Car Accidents

Rear end car accidents are some of the most common accidents in Nevada—and the number one contributor to these accidents is speed. Rear-end collisions are almost always caused by the rear driver going too fast for traffic conditions or following too closely to the car ahead of them, leaving themselves insufficient time and/or space to stop. If one car is often totally stopped, the impacts can kill people 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 dying and significantly reduce many injuries, but tether the body to the seat without absorbing much energy. This pressure from stopping 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 common injury that can require months of rehabilitation and treatment. Often the injuries are severe and permanent.

Particularly dangerous are motor vehicle rear end accidents that take place on Nevada’s freeways (I-95, I-15, I-215, I-80, U.S. 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 rule would significantly reduce tailgating and rear-end automobile accidents.

 4 Speed Simulation Shows Jurors the True Nature of Whiplash in an Auto Impact

The above is a Four Speeds Impact video Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC, commissioned for a client injured in a rear end accident

Multi-car accidents are typically rear end style accidents where car one hits car two, and car two hits car three, 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 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 take damage.

Depending on the distance 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 courts will decide how to split the monies if all parties can’t agree on a fair share. This can get complicated when one of the parties is not represented by counsel, as they may not understand the process causing unnecessary delay and typically costs more as it forces some of the parties to file unnecessary lawsuits.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has several components, but talking or texting on an electronic device is likely the most common. It is illegal in Nevada to text, use a hand-held cell phone, or even to access the internet while you’re at the wheel. Drivers who text while they drive may feel they are only distracted for a split second, but in fact they can cover the length of a football field in five seconds if they are going 55 miles per hour—more than enough space to have an accident.

More broadly, distracted driving can include taking your eyes or focus off the road and driving, including reaching for maps, CDs, or gazing around. Although many states have banned texting and talking while driving, and public attention has been focused on the dangers of distracted driving for more than a decade, it still claims 9 lives and injures 1,000 people in accidents each day nationwide, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If a negligent driver injured you in any kind of accident, including those listed above, and you don’t know what to do, contact a Nevada car accident lawyer.

Head-on Collisions

A head-on collision is just what it sounds like: the front of one car hits the other directly in the front. Multiple factors can cause head-on collisions, including weather, failure to check before turning or passing, falling asleep at the wheel, and speeding. So are drunk driving and distracted driving. Driving the wrong way or on the wrong side of the road is responsible for 2.3 percent of all traffic deaths.

Head on collision car accidents can result in severe consequences. The inertia of energy created by head on collisions is devastating and often results 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.

Freeway head-to-head collisions usually involve speeds up to 80 miles per hour in both directions causing a Delta V (or change in direction) of massive energy. Thus the impact energy is equal to 160 miles per hour of force. Occupants in such car accidents are fortunate to survive. Frontal airbags may avoid facial injuries, but the 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

In a sideswipe, one car passes the other without sufficient space between them, and the cars scrape or bump each other on the side. It can also happen if a car is merging or changing lanes and doesn’t notice that another car is already in the lane or misjudges the speed at which the other car is approaching. Sideswipes can lead to serious accidents if either car is knocked or jarred into another lane or off the road.

Sideswipe car accidents also occur when a driver may overreact or actually take action to avoid a full-blown T-bone accident.

The severe jerking mechanism of the unexpected impacts can damage shoulders and necks.

Insurance companies often balk at injuries sustained in sideswipe accidents and can argue that the impact forces are not as severe as, say, a T-bone or intersection collision.

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 Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC understand the vehicle dynamics of sideswipe car accidents and have handled thousands of vehicle accident cases. Our team investigates, researches, and analyzes the impact to causally link the accident to our clients’ injuries.

Angled Car Accidents

Angled car accidents simply mean a vectored line accident whereby two vehicles collide at a five- to 45-degree angle. (A classic T-bone, by contrast, is an accident at 90 degrees.) Major lane crossings, blown red lights, speeding, improper passing, and ricochet accidents or secondary impacts may cause them. The speeds and forces of such impacts are similar to distracted driving and other no-reaction accidents.

Fatal Car Accidents

A total of 331 fatal car crashes took place in Nevada in one recent year—roughly 27 per month. Almost any driver behavior can, unfortunately, cause a fatal crash. The single most common cause of a deadly crash, according to III, is speeding.

Fatal car accident attorneys are a special, seasoned breed of lawyers who know the applicable Nevada laws and understand how to establish 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 can represent the estate and the individual heirs in a wrongful death lawsuit. Sometimes it may not be prudent to open an estate if medical expenses were limited and reckless or intentional conduct was not involved (and thus punitive damages may not be available). Opening an estate is a very good idea if the medical expenses accumulated before the death of the decedent were high.

Fender Benders

A fender bender is one of several accident types that are exactly what they sound like. It refers to a relatively minor accident in which the fenders of both vehicles sustain damage, but are not smashed or torn off. In other words, the term conveys minor damage and a manageable accident. It doesn’t always refer to fenders, either—the term has entered the language as a synonym for any minor accident. Fender benders still can cause economic damage and physical injuries such as whiplash or bruises.

Fender bender car accidents may cause whiplash injuries and vehicle damage under the bumper. Car accident mechanics and insurance estimators may pull off the bumpers of those cars to check the integrity of the bumper cushion and inspect for frame damage even if the vehicle skin appears to have only suffered minor damage. Car insurance claims representatives may offer fair settlements on damages that exceed $1,000 on a 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

The local police agency, LVMPD, or other department may or may not investigate private property car accidents, given that local or state statutes may not cover them. Private property accidents are still covered under common law or Nevada case law for negligence. Excessive speed in 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 number and exchange personal information including insurance information. For more information, 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 driver’s license (CDL) to operate a commercial vehicle, and may violate 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

A rollover refers to a car rolling over, either partially (landing on its side) or fully (landing on the roof). Rollovers are caused by the car becoming unbalanced or tipping, and are more common in cars with high centers of gravity, such as SUVs. Cars can become unbalanced by uneven pavement, deep potholes, or another car or vehicle glancing off them. Rollovers can also be caused by blown tires. Tires that are worn, bald, or defective may blow and send the car spinning into a rollover. Drivers who are fatigued and fall asleep at the wheel can also cause rollovers, because they may overcorrect or oversteer when they wake up.

Rollovers can be extremely dangerous, causing serious injuries such as loss of limbs and death.

The driver’s insurance policy could be liable for payment to the passengers, but often the policy provides inadequate coverage to those involved. Seat belt failure should be looked at as well as the structural stability of the occupant cage as possible other avenues of legal liability.

We know how to investigate rollover car accidents. Preservation of the vehicle and its contents is an important evidentiary concern. Yaw marks, paint marks, and scratches can provide telling information about speed, number of rolls in the rollover sequence, vehicle velocity, and occupant direction.

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 percent 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 too fast for conditions
  • Tailgating or following too 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 the laws governing safety zones or school zones
  • Driving outside lanes or on the wrong side of the road

Aggressive driving is similar to reckless driving. The primary difference is that aggressive driving involves a pattern of behaviors and may intend to intimidate, harass, or obstruct other drivers. Drivers who feel and give into road rage, for example, may zoom in and out of lanes to vent to frustration about slow traffic.

Placing aside definitions, we all know aggressive driving when we see it first hand—when a driver appears impatient or anxious and takes risks that we immediately recognize as dangerous and have the potential to cause an accident. Many reported cases of aggressive driving result from an individual’s financial, emotional, and/or personal relationship issues.

There is an important distinction between aggressive driving and road rage. Road rage an intentional act wherein the driver uses a vehicle as a weapon or perhaps chases another vehicle. Road rage is an intentional criminal act. Due to the intentional nature of the driver’s conduct, insurance companies will not cover road rage. Insurance coverage is designed and contracted to cover negligent acts, such as aggressive driving, which lack 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 Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC, we can assist you in putting the insurance companies on notice in opening a claim with the aggressive driver’s insurance carrier. Do not let them mitigate or downplay their aggressive driving. Aggressive drivers often attempt to deny or dispute 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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