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As car accident solicitors, the lawyers at Canter Levin & Berg have built up considerable experience sorting out accident claims for people involved in car accidents where they haven’t been at fault. There are three types of car accident that we come across more often than others; these are rear-end collisions, side impacts and head-on collisions.
On this page of the site, we’ve decided to look at these common car accidents; how they happen, the common injuries suffered by those involved, and how we, as solicitors, can help. If you’ve been involved in an accident similar to those described below, contact our road traffic accidents department for a free initial consultation to find out if you can claim compensation for your injuries.
Rear end collisions, the leading cause of whiplash related injuries, typically happen in slow moving traffic, or where one vehicle slows down suddenly, for example when approaching a junction or making an emergency stop. In a similar situation, if two or more vehicles are stationary, at a junction or a set of traffic lights for example, then a rear-end collision could occur if one driver accelerates away more quickly than the driver in front.
Whilst a rear end collision is usually thought of as a minor traffic accident, it can have serious consequences. Any sudden impact caused by one vehicle hitting another has the potential to cause one or both drivers to lose control of their vehicle, which could lead to either vehicle spinning or leaving the roadway. Where a rear-end collision happens in heavy or slow moving traffic, there is a chance that a domino-effect, where multiple vehicles collide in turn, could be created.
In a rear end collision, the sudden acceleration followed by a sharp deceleration creates conditions where the chances of suffering a whiplash type injury to the neck or back are significantly increased. In rear end collisions that happen at higher speeds the forces involved will be greater. This could mean that more severe injuries, such as a spinal disc herniation (a slipped disc), might occur when pressure on the spine can cause damage to the cartilage between the bones.
Side impacts usually occur in situations where one vehicle moves across the path of oncoming traffic. Side impact accidents can happen at a road junction, or where a car is parked along the side of the road and pulls out without the driver checking his or her rear-view mirror. Whilst a relatively common car accident, a side impact is also a particular problem for motorcyclists, where the driver of another vehicle attempts to turn right, or to change lanes, without having checked for or having seen a motorcycle rider behind them.
Liability in a side impact car crash will almost always fall on the driver who has pulled out into oncoming traffic, as they will be considered to have failed to check before undertaking the manoeuvre. A side impact can cause significant damage to both vehicles, along with the potential that one or both drivers and the other occupants of the vehicles will suffer injuries in the crash.
Less common than rear end collisions or side on collisions, a head-on collision can be a much more serious form of car accident. When two vehicles travelling in opposite directions collide, the effective speed of their collision is combination of both of their speeds, so for a head on collision in which both vehicles were travelling at 60mph, their collision speed would be 120mph. A head-on collision can lead to severe injuries and serious damage to all vehicles involved even when the speed of either vehicle is relatively low.
Unlike rear end collisions, which can happen on almost any type of road, a head on collision usually only occurs on narrow roads. Particularly problematic are roads in rural areas where a combination of high hedgerows and frequent twists and turns can make it difficult for drivers to see oncoming traffic until it is too late. Other very rare cases of head-on collisions have occurred on motorways and dual carriageways where drivers have become dis-orientated and have attempted to drive the wrong way down the wrong carriageway.
Modern cars have a number of safety features designed to reduce the likelihood of serious injuries to their occupants in the event of a head-on collision. However, the huge forces involved in a head-on collision can cause serious injuries even in vehicles equipped with crumple zones, airbags, restraining seatbelts and head rests. Injuries in a head-on collision can range from soft-tissue damage in lower speed collisions, through to broken bones and severe damage to internal organs in higher speed collisions.