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What Are the Different Types of Car Accidents?

Published on May 15, 2019 at 2:05 pm in Car Accidents.

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When you’re involved in a car accident, the nature of the damage sustained and of your injuries depend on many factors. Some of these factors include elements such as the position the vehicles were in when the collision occurred, the speed at which both vehicles were traveling at, and the direction both vehicles were traveling toward. All these factors are taken into consideration when the collision is investigated to determine what party was liable and what happened in the moments before the crash.

These factors are commonly categorized into various “types” of accidents that can occur. These categories are used during the investigation as well as by insurance companies to determine who may be eligible for compensation and how the settlement may likely proceed.

Here are some of the most common ways car accidents are categorized:

Head-On Collisions

This type of accident involves the front ends of two vehicles hitting each other from opposite directions. It often happens when one driver is intoxicated or distracted. Inclement weather, like snow or fog, that results in limited visibility is also a contributing factor. Of all traffic crashes, this type is among the most fatal because the driver and front passenger is more likely to sustain deadly injuries. Front impacts can also involve trees, animals, or other obstacles on the road.

Hit-and-Run Accidents

When an automobile wreck occurs, the drivers are legally required to stop their vehicles, assess the situation, and share personal and insurance information so a claim can be accurately filed at a later date. When a driver leaves the scene of an accident without fulfilling their legal obligations, they are committing a crime. Depending on where the crash happens, it can be difficult to find the guilty party. It’s useful when there are witnesses or security cameras nearby.

Low-Speed Crashes

These collisions are most common when a motorist is backing up and strikes a vehicle, person, or object while traveling at a slow speed. They usually occur in parking lots or similar locations. While the incident is likely to result in little damage and few injuries, it’s important for the victim to file a report so they aren’t stuck paying for losses on their own.

Multi-Vehicle Pileup

Accidents involving multiple vehicles often take place on busy highways or interstates, especially in inclement weather. It only takes the actions of one negligent driver to cause a crash for a number of people. In the event the crash takes place while vehicles are traveling at high speeds, the cars involved are at risk of being hit multiple times. This can result in serious injuries. When a tractor-trailer is involved fatalities are common.

Rear-End Collision

This is one of the most common types of crashes. They tend to happen when the vehicle in front slows down or stops unexpectedly. If the following driver is distracted and not paying attention to what’s going on in front of them, they’re likely to strike the preceding car. These are common at intersections and stop lights. Both drivers are at risk for sustaining injuries like whiplash.


Vehicle rollovers are typically violent. There are certain vehicles, like commercial trucks and large SUVs, that are more likely to rollover if the driver loses control because of the decreased center of gravity. When a big rig rolls over, the other vehicles on the road could be hit or crushed. Speed, alcohol consumption, and location are all contributing factors.

Side-Impact Accident

Also known as T-bone crashes, this occurs when the side of a car is struck by another vehicle. Side-impact collisions are most common at intersections, in parking lots, and when two vehicles pass on a roadway. Depending on the vehicles involved and the location of the passengers, a wreck like this could result in only property damage or more severe injuries.

Sideswipe Crash

Typical on multi-lane roadways, these accidents happen when the sides of two parallel cars swipe each other. This could happen because a driver is distracted or if there is construction and the lanes suddenly narrow. The collision is likely to be minor if the drivers are able to maintain control of their vehicles. When a driver loses control, however, serious injuries are possible and other vehicles could be involved.

Single Car Wreck

Generally only resulting in property damage and minor personal injuries, single-vehicle crashes happen when one car hits another object. Generally, the object is immobile, like a tree, pole, or fire hydrant. Sometimes, however, that is not the case. Severe single car accidents are likely to involve pedestrians, animals, or bicyclists. They typically occur because the driver is intoxicated or distracted.

No matter what type of crash you’ve been in, you deserve compensation if the accident was caused by another driver’s reckless decisions. To learn about filing a strong car accident claim, contact our lawyers today.

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Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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