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Types of Car Accidents and Their Legal Implications

Different types of car accidents may vary in their causes, effects, and legal implications.


  • Car accidents fall into different categories that can shed light on how the accident occurred and who may be at fault.
  • These categories include rear-end collisions, head-on collisions, side-impact collisions, left-turn accidents, single-vehicle accidents, and sideswipe accidents.
  • Any of these car accident types may cause significant physical, emotional, or financial damages in the lives of victims.
  • An experienced car accident attorney can help you pursue justice and receive the compensation you deserve.

Car accidents are an unfortunately common occurrence on American roads. From minor fender benders to catastrophic collisions, the legal implications of car accidents can vary widely depending on the circumstances. All of them, however, have the potential to create serious physical, emotional, and financial difficulties for victims.

At Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia, we understand the complexities of auto accidents and are dedicated to helping you recover the compensation you deserve. Don’t hesitate to get in touch–you can contact us online or call us at (800) 320-4357.

1. Rear-end Collisions

Rear-end collisions occur when one vehicle crashes into the back of another, often due to following too closely, distracted driving, sudden stops, or mechanical failure. Whiplash, neck and back injuries, and head trauma are common. Rear-end car accidents are one of the leading types of car accidents.

Florida’s “rear-end presumption” rule typically places fault on the driver following behind the other car, but exceptions may apply depending on the behavior of both drivers involved.

2. Head-on Collisions

Head-on collisions occur when two cars collide while driving toward each other. These types of accidents are often caused by driving in the wrong lane, drunk driving, distracted driving, or fatigue. With the momentum of two cars, often traveling at high speed, head-on collisions are among the most deadly types of accidents.

Determining fault tends to be pretty straightforward since one of the drivers is usually going the wrong way or swerving out of their lane. Factors like speeding or driving under the influence can influence liability.

3. Side-impact Collisions

Often known as a “T-bone” collision, these occur when the front or back of one vehicle runs into the side of another, often at intersections or in parking lots. Running red lights, failing to yield, or turning into oncoming traffic are common causes. Depending on the impact angle, injuries can range from broken bones and internal bleeding to severe head and neck trauma.

Fault can be shared based on factors like right-of-way. For instance, if a driver pulled out into traffic without looking, they would be at fault for the accident.

4. Left-turn Accidents

These types of car accidents happen when a vehicle turning left collides with another vehicle. Misjudging oncoming traffic, failing to yield, or turning into a blind left turn are common causes, particularly in unfavorable weather conditions that affect visibility.

Depending on the specific circumstances, one or both drivers may share fault.

5. Single-vehicle Accidents

Single-vehicle accidents are the result of one driver losing control of their vehicle rather than a collision between two drivers. These accidents may be caused by distracted driving, speeding, falling asleep at the wheel, medical emergencies, or mechanical failure.

Determining fault in these cases can be complex, relying on factors like road conditions, vehicle maintenance, and driver behavior. Other parties, like government entities or auto manufacturers, may be held liable in certain situations, like if improper road maintenance or vehicle malfunctions contributed to the accident.

6. Sideswipe Accidents

A sideswipe accident is when two vehicles impact on their sides, often while traveling in the same direction. These accidents can occur as a result of misjudged lane changes or merging, distracted driving, or driving under the influence. Sideswipe accidents may cause whiplash, soft tissue injuries, or, in more severe cases, broken bones and spinal cord injuries.

Determining fault in a sideswipe accident can be complex. Factors like right-of-way are taken into account, and comparative negligence rules can assign fault to both drivers.

Injuries Associated With the Most Common Types of Car Accidents

Car accidents can be extremely dangerous, as possible injuries range from minor bumps and bruises to life-altering physical trauma.

Some of the most common car accident injuries include:

  • Neck and back injuries: The sudden impact of a car accident can cause whiplash, sprains, and other injuries to the neck and back, leading to restricted mobility and pain. This is especially common in rear-end collisions.
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs): Car crashes may cause traumatic brain injuries ranging from concussions to severe brain damage, which often result in serious quality-of-life effects. TBIs are especially common in head-on collisions, speeding accidents, or other car crashes with high-impact forces.
  • Broken bones and fractures: Car accidents can involve tremendous physical force, leading to broken bones and fractures. Head-on collisions are especially likely to cause broken bones.
  • Internal injuries: Internal injuries such as organ damage and internal bleeding may result from high-impact car accidents. These injuries may not be noticeable right away but, if left untreated, may be life-threatening.
  • Psychological trauma: In addition to physical injuries, car accidents may cause psychological impacts such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.

Even if you don’t feel injured, it’s essential to seek medical attention right away after any type of car accident. You may have injuries you’re not aware of, and your medical records will serve as a foundation for any claim for compensation.

Recoverable Damages After a Car Accident

Car accidents can have some expensive consequences. Florida law allows accident victims to seek compensation for various losses, including:

  • Medical expenses: Past, present, and future medical costs related to the accident and your injuries.
  • Lost wages: Compensation for income lost due to the accident and inability to work.
  • Pain and suffering: Compensation for both physical and emotional pain caused by the accident.
  • Property damage: Reimbursement for repairs or replacement of your damaged vehicle and other belongings.
  • And more

An experienced car accident lawyer can evaluate your damage and advise you on fair compensation levels.

Choose WHG to Represent Any Type of Car Accident Claim

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, you may suffer significant physical, emotional, or financial burdens as a result. You deserve to be fairly compensated.

At Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia, we have years of success in pursuing compensation for victims of car accidents. Our personal injury attorneys have the skills and experience to defend your rights and obtain the compensation you deserve.

To get started, give us a call at (800) 320-4357 or  contact us online.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do after a car accident?

After a car accident, your safety should be your first priority. Then, if possible, do what you can to improve your chances of filing a successful claim later on.

We recommend the following as suggested first steps after an auto accident:

  • Get to safety
  • Seek medical attention, even if you don’t feel injured
  • Gather photos, witness information, and other evidence at the scene
  • Contact your insurance company
  • Get in touch with a reputable personal injury lawyer

How long do I have to file a Florida car accident claim?

According to the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, you have two years from the date of the accident to file. However, there may be exceptions in some circumstances.

Consult with a car accident lawyer right away to determine the relevant deadlines and other important information about your case.

What damages can I recover in a car accident claim?

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for any damages suffered. These damages can include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Punitive damages
  • Wrongful death
  • And more

An experienced car accident attorney can evaluate your case and advise you on the compensation you’re owed.

What happens if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?

If the at-fault driver doesn’t have car insurance, you have other options. In Florida, you may be covered by personal injury protection or uninsured motorist coverage with your own insurance company. If this coverage is insufficient, you may be able to pursue legal action against the at-fault driver.

No Win, No Fee Commitment

Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia is committed to helping you rebuild your life after a hardship. We are not just your legal team—we are your allies, your partners, and your advocates. We will do everything we can to handle your case with compassion and care, and to get you the results you need!

“And for every fight we take on, know this…we are doing everything we can to make sure we win!”

— Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia

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About the Author

Adam Werner is a partner and practicing attorney at WHG. He specializes in personal injury cases, workers’ compensation claims, and veteran disability benefits. He routinely writes about personal injury and workers comp topics for the Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia blog

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