Car Accident CasesImproved technology in today’s automobiles make the cars in our driveways safer than ever before. Hidden from plain sight, today’s vehicles offer a myriad of accident prevention equipment to keep you from ending up in an accident items such as anti-lock brakes, blind-spot detection, all-weather tires and more. In the event that you are in a collision, it is hoped that the on-board safety equipment will keep you from suffering significant harm. Advancements such as improved seat-belt performance, specially designed seats, inclusion of air bags and side impact curtains, use of safety glass, reinforced roll cages, and intentionally designed crumple zones all work to keep you as safe as possible. For all of the advancements that have been made in safety technology, car accidents are still common-place. This is overwhelmingly due to distracted and negligent drivers. For this reason, most car accident cases are dealt with as a class of tort law which stems from the basic tort principles of negligence. Negligence in this sense, is the failure to use a reasonable degree of care for which any prudent person would have used under the same circumstances. Negligence can therefore include both the actions that one should take, that were not taken, and those that should not have been taken, but were taken.
Common Types of Automobile AccidentsEvery car accident is unique, but there are a few common types of accidents. Below are some of the more common accident types that we see.
Driver Negligence or ErrorDriver negligence is common and is the label regularly used to describe a drivers failure, oversight or error and arises in a myriad of circumstances or situations. Common driver errors include:
- Disregarding a traffic control device
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Following too closely
- Excessive speed
- Driving under the influence or while intoxicated
Distracted DriversDistracted driver cases are on the rise. As the number of personal devices that individuals interact with has risen, so too have the number of distracted driver cases. Common driver distractions include:
- Cell phone usage
- Texting while driving
- Make-up application
- Operation of vehicle accessories such as the radio, heater
- Children in the back seat
- Eating while driving
- Events outside of the vehicle such as accident scenes
Poorly Maintained VehiclePoorly maintained vehicles is another significant area of automobile litigation. This can be especially true of commercial vehicles which spend significantly more time on the road, and where maintenance is the responsibility of someone other than the driver(s) of that vehicle. Failure to properly maintain and service a vehicle can have catastrophic consequences. Even the failure of a single part of the car, truck or bus can result in an accident. For example, a brake failure on a single wheel of a heavily loaded commercial vehicle can result in a runaway vehicle that cannot be stopped by its driver.
Road Defect or Poorly Designed RoadwayIn some cases, the condition or design of a roadway can be the cause of an accident. These are often referred to as ‘roadway defect cases’. These cases can include:
- Poorly designed roadways
- Inadequate means of controlling traffic
- Construction or debris
- Poor roadway maintenance
Automotive Defects – Auto Product LiabilityIn some automotive accident cases, the cause of the accident can be attributed to a defect in the automobile. In other accident cases, a defect can make the resulting injuries exponentially greater. These types of accident cases fall into a unique class of litigation known as products liability. Product liability in the context of motor vehicle accidents can include design flaws, mechanical failures and compromises in the performance and structural integrity of a vehicle. Common failure events include tire blowouts, brake failure, and airbags failing to deploy. Design flaws and manufacturing defect will sometimes be the cause of an accident, but most often we see manufacturing defect causing injuries sustained to be far worse. Examples of this include the following design flaws:
- High center of gravity in an SUV increasing rolling over potential.
- Poorly protected gas tanks increasing likelihood of ignition in a collision.
- Airbag deployment failure.
- Restraint system (seat belt) failure.