Types of Car Accidents – Deadly Crashes to Watch Out For


Kimberly Dawn Neumann

Every year there are more than 6 million car accidents reported in the United States. What’s more, there are almost 2.5 million injuries and approximately 43,000 deaths resulting from said collisions. However, not all types of car accidents look the same, and each one deserves equal caution.

Still, there are certain types of car accidents that are more common than others. And since there’s almost one traffic collision every six minutes, it pays to be aware of the different variations.

Keep reading to learn about the most common types of accidents, how to handle them, and when you need legal representation. Because the best way to avoid becoming a statistic is proper preparation.

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Infographic of types of car accidents to watch out for.

What Types of Accidents Does a Car Accident Lawyer Handle?

Car accident lawyers handle cases involving injuries or property damage resulting from a crash. Your settlement amount from the crash depends on the extent and severity of your losses.

These legal claims generally fall into the personal injury category. However, every state has its own car accident laws, so it’s smart to familiarize yourself with these specifics as well.

There are many types of car accidents that lead to filing a personal injury claim. With an attorney’s help, you may be able to reclaim losses resulting from these most common types of car accidents.

Rear-End Collisions

A rear-end accident showing a bumper.

When the front of one car rams into the back-end of another, the result is a classic rear-end collision.

Frequently the result of tailgating or brake checking, rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of car accidents. In fact, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), approximately 40.8% of all car accidents were rear-end collisions in 2022.

Distracted driving is another big precipitator of rear-end collisions, since texting, eating, or chatting on the phone slows reaction times.

Common injuries that result from this type of accident include:

Head-On Collisions

Head-on collision involving two trucks.

When two cars collide “face-to-face” there is likely going to be major damage from their head-on collision.

That’s because these types of car accidents often happen at higher speeds and usually indicate one driver has lost control. They may include two cars, or one car and another object like a stop sign, wall, or tree.

Head-on collisions tend to stem from drunk, drowsy, or distracted driving. They may also come from situations where a driver has a medical emergency on the wheel, like a heart attack.

Merging in the wrong direction or accidentally jumping a divider into oncoming traffic will also lead to a head-on crash.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, about 10.9% of all fatal crashes are head-on collisions. And the NSC finds that nearly 30% of fatal traffic collisions between two or more cars are head-on. Head-on car crashes are one of the most dangerous car accidents to be involved in.

Sideswipe Accidents

A sideswipe accident

A sideswipe accident happens when two cars hit each other’s sides while traveling in the same direction.

This frequently takes place when drivers are merging and changing lanes, not paying attention to other drivers doing the same. Failing to use turn signals or not checking for blind spots further increases the likelihood of a sideswipe.

The best-case scenario with a sideswipe accident is that neither driver loses control. When under control, this type of car accident may only result in minor damage and injuries.

However, if one or both drivers lose control of their vehicle, a sideswipe situation can turn fatal. In fact, the NSC records about 1,600 deaths annually from this type of vehicle collision.

Rollover Car Accidents

A car rollover accident on the grass.

Car rollover accidents occur when a vehicle loses traction on the road and topples sideways before rolling on the road.

Sometimes the car may flip multiple times, which is extremely dangerous for the driver and passengers inside. This is especially true if anyone in the vehicle is not wearing their seatbelt.

There are two types of rollover car accidents:

  • Tripped rollovers
  • Untripped rollovers

A tripped rollover means that an external object caused the rollover accident, like road debris in a highway.

Untripped means that some driver action or vehicle feature causes the roll, like turning the steering wheel too suddenly.

Large vehicles like trucks and SUVs are more prone to rollovers due to their innate top-heaviness. But any car can experience a rollover, especially during unsafe weather conditions where tires lose traction the most.

T-Bone Car Accidents

A T-bone car accident.

A T-Bone car accident happens when the front of one car crashes into the side of another vehicle. Frequently seen at intersections, many T-Bones start due to one car not appropriately yielding the right-of-way.

This “angle collision” is particularly dangerous due to how little protection exists between passengers on the side of a vehicle. There’s reduced protection offered to passengers on a car’s side compared to its front and back bumpers.

The best protection for anyone in a T-Bone accident is wearing a seatbelt, though it’s still often not enough. It also makes this type of traffic collision one of the worst for children, who tend to be backseat passengers.

Some potential T-Bone injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Broken bones
  • Internal bleeding

Sadly, there are more than 467,000 injuries and 6,400 deaths annually from this type of car accident.

Single Car Accidents

A single-car accident involving a tree.

People often think of car accidents as an event involving two or more vehicles. However, a huge number of traffic collisions in the United States only involve one car.

Single car accidents consistently account for more than 600,000 injury crashes and 11,700 fatal crashes every year. Most collisions come from driver error and harsh road conditions. It’s possible for your vehicle to malfunction while driving, causing you to crash into a wall or object on the road.

In these situations, you may think no one was at-fault but your own. But single car accidents also occur when a driver swerves to miss an object, like an animal on the road. If your crash was caused from a poorly-maintained road, you may also have an auto accident claim against the city.

Multiple Vehicle Collisions

A multi-car accident.

Otherwise known as a “pile up”, multiple vehicle collisions are a type of car accident that involves three or more automobiles.

Chances of multi-car accidents increase on highways where cars tend to be driving faster and closer to each other. The risk of collision increases as rising speeds inhibit driver reaction time.

Once two cars collide in such a scenario, a chain reaction may set off. That can lead to secondary crashes, sometimes followed by third, fourth, fifth or even more subsequent accidents.

Determining fault for multiple vehicle collisions may be even more challenging than other types of car accidents. With so many drivers in the mix, it can be hard to pinpoint who started the crash.

Anyone in a multi-vehicle collision should definitely consult an auto accident attorney since there will likely be lawsuits later. Especially if there are copious amounts of damages and injury.

What You Should Do After a Car Accident

As you can see, there are many types of car accidents that a driver is at-risk of experiencing. Hopefully you’ll never find yourself in the midst of these traffic collisions. If you find yourself in a car accident, take these important steps to ensure your safety and others, while shielding yourself from legal action.

The first thing you must do after a car accident is stop your vehicle, as hit-and-runs are a crime in most states. Then check for injuries and call 911 if it seems anyone is hurt. You’ll most likely benefit from calling the police as well, as in some states it’s mandatory for them to write a report.

While you wait for the paramedics and law enforcement to arrive, if you’re able to move, also start collecting information.

Information to Gather at the Scene of a Car Accident

It’s important to gather as many details as possible pertaining to the crash while at the scene.

This includes exchanging information with the other driver. Be sure to ask for or take photos of the following:

  • Contact info (full name, address, phone, email)
  • Car registration and insurance card
  • Driver’s license and license plate
  • Car make, model, and color

If there are witnesses, if possible, ask them for statements and for their contact information.

Also take photos of any property damage and injuries. Don’t forget to snap pictures of:

  • Surrounding landmarks
  • Signs
  • Traffic lights
  • Weather conditions
  • Skid marks and other important details

Finally, make sure to never say anything incriminating or apologize after a traffic collision. Even if you’re just “being nice”, this admission may hinder your ability to collect compensation for damages after the fact.

Find an Auto Accident Attorney with LegalASAP

If you wind up in any of the most common types of car accidents, you will need an experienced lawyer.

LegalASAP has a network of over 500+ firms with thousands of experienced lawyers located throughout the country. Please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will connect you with an attorney who specializes in auto accident claims in your state.

That way you’ll have someone in your corner who knows the laws in your area and can help you get the maximum compensation you deserve.

Before settling your claim, sign up for a free consultation so you don’t accept an offer that’s too low. Fight back to secure the damages you’re owed.

Kimberly Dawn Neumann

Kimberly Dawn Neumann is a multi-published NYC-based magazine and book writer whose work has appeared in a wide variety of publications ranging from Forbes to Cosmopolitan. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maryland, College of Journalism. For more, visit: www.KDNeumann.com, Instagram @dancerscribe, and Twitter @KimberlyNeumann