A Head-on collision happens when two vehicles moving in opposite directions hit each other. A head-on collision is one of the the most dangerous types of accident because of the forces involved.
In some head-on collisions, the law is clear on who is at fault. Generally, in a head-on collision, a driver will be at fault if the driver:
- was going the wrong way on a one-way road,
- crossed over the centerline,
- fell asleep at the wheel and crossed into another lane,
- was drunk or on drugs,
- was distracted by texting or talking on the phone,
- was trying to pass another car on a two-lane road,
- was driving way over the speed limit, or
- was making a left turn.
But sometimes there might be other factors involved. Say Mia was turning left and ran into Sophia’s car. Most of the time, a court will say that the accident was Mia’s fault because Mia was turning left. But maybe there is more to the story. Let’s say that Sophia ran a red light. Then even though Mia was the one turning left, the accident was Sophia’s fault because Sophia ran the red light.
Or say Mia crossed the centerline to swerve out of the way of a reckless driver, or to avoid hitting a pedestrian that ran out into the road. Then Mia might not be at fault, or at least not totally at fault, because there is a good reason for what she did. Also, maybe both Mia and Sophia were driving above the speed limit. Then a court will look at how much each of them was at fault for the accident.
Sometimes it can be hard to figure out who was at fault, because a crash may throw cars out of position. For example, they may spin around, so it can be hard to figure out, after the fact, who was out of their lane.
An experienced accident attorney knows how to get the facts to help make sure the court hears your side of the story.
If you were in a head-on collision, click here to talk with an experienced Los Angeles accident attorney
A rear-end collision happens when a vehicle runs into the rear end of the vehicle in front of it. Rear-end collisions are the most common type of car accident.
In most cases, a rear-end collision happens when one car comes to a sudden stop and is hit from behind by a following car. In many — but not all — cases, the court will say the driver in the rear was tailgating, meaning they were driving too close to the car in front of them.
The basic rule of the road is that every driver needs to leave enough following distance so they can stop safely. So, usually, if the front of Michael’s car hits the rear end of Jessica’s car, a court will say the accident was Michael’s fault. But as with every other type of accident, there may be other factors.
Imagine Jessica slammed on her brakes for no reason. If Michael could prove that Jessica did that, then the court will say that Jessica was reckless. Then the court might say the accident was partly Jessica’s fault. This might not be easy to prove, but an experienced attorney could help by asking the right questions and gathering the right evidence.
Or say that Jessica did not have working brake lights. Because Jessica did not have working brake lights Michael could not see that Jessica was tapping her brakes. If Michael rear-ended Jessica, the court might say the accident was partly Jessica’s fault.
Usually– but not always– the pattern of damage on the two cars makes clear what happened. If Michael’s car is damaged in the front and Jessica’s car is damaged in the rear, it’s a good bet that Michael rear-ended Jessica. But of course this is not always the case. For example, if Jessica backed into Michael, then the accident was Jessica’s fault. This type of collision is most common in a parking lot, where cars are backing out of spaces. But it can also occur, for example, at an intersection. Maybe Jessica started to make a left turn, but then changed her mind and backed up into Michael.
A rear-end collision can also happen when a car merges into a lane and gets hit from behind. Then it can be tough to figure out who is at fault. Say Jessica tried to merge into Michael’s lane and then Michael started speeding up to block Jessica from coming in. Michael might be at least partly at fault because he was driving too fast and trying to block Jessica. On the other hand, if Jessica tried to merge into Michael’s lane without first making sure that there was room to merge safely, then Jessica would probably be at fault.
Another type of rear-end collision is a “chain reaction” collision. This is a type of multi-car accident where Michael rear-ends Jessica and pushes Jessica into Angela. So, because Jessica was basically “pushed into” Angela, then Jessica is usually not going to be held at fault.
If you were in a rear-end collision, click here to talk with an experienced Los Angeles accident attorney
Side-Impact, T-bone, or Cross-Traffic Collisions
A side-impact collision, also known as a t-bone or cross-traffic collision, happens when the front of one car hits the side of another car. Side-impact accidents can be extra dangerous for people in the car that was hit on the side. Standard safety features like seat belts, bumpers, front and rear crumple zones, and airbags, offer less protection from a side impact.
Some side-impact collisions happen when one car turns left in front of another car. The general rule is that the car turning left is at fault. But there are exceptions. For example, if (1) the other car was speeding, or (2) the other car ran a red light.
Another type of side-impact accident happens when one car going through an intersection gets hit by a driver who runs a red light or a stop sign on the cross-street. Just like with a rear-end collision, usually the pattern of damage on the cars tells an important part of the story. In most cases, if the front of Olivia’s car hits the side of David’s car, then the accident was probably Olivia’s fault. But there may be more to the story. For example, if Olivia can prove that it was David that ran a red light, then almost certainly David will be the one at fault. But proving this might turn into a “he said, she said” situation. Each driver may say the other one ran the light. An experienced accident attorney will know how to get the relevant facts and find the evidence to help make sure the truth comes out.
If you were in a side-impact collision, click here to talk with an experienced Los Angeles accident attorney
A sideswipe collision happens when two cars traveling in the same direction bump into each other. Thankfully, in most cases, a sideswipe collision only causes scraped paint. But a sideswipe collision can lead to more serious problems. If for example, one of the cars loses control.
Sideswipe collisions often happen when merging lanes. It can be hard to figure out who is at fault in a merger accident. Say Christine tries to merge into Heather’s lane but then Heather speeds up to an unsafe speed to try to block Christine. If there is an accident, then it might be partly Heather’s fault. On the other hand, if Christine tried to merge into a lane without first making sure that there was enough room, then Christine would probably be at fault. Sometimes a sideswipe collision happens when two cars both try to merge into the same lane from opposite sides. Often, in this case, a court will find both parties are partly at fault. But how much each party is at fault will depend on many factors, such as, how fast they were going, and the general traffic pattern. An experienced accident attorney can help make sure the court hears all the facts.
If you were in a sideswipe collision, click here to talk with an experienced Los Angeles accident attorney