What Constitutes a Car Accident and What To Do After

Despite all the safety measures and regulations, car accidents are an unfortunate reality of driving. They most commonly occur when two or more vehicles collide or when a vehicle collides with a stationary object. A car accident can happen in a split second yet lead to severe consequences, including property damage, injuries, or even fatality. This material was created to inform you about the types, causes, and consequences of road accidents, as well as the precautions that need to be taken to reduce their frequency.

Overview of What Constitutes a Car Accident

Car accidents occur for various reasons, such as speeding, reckless driving, driver’s fatigue and lack of concentration, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, accident-prone roads, adverse weather conditions, vehicle malfunction, or just an unfortunate set of circumstances. Accidents can occur on any type of roadway, including highways, residential streets, and parking lots.


The severity of the accident and the resulting damage can vary greatly. For example, a minor fender-bender may cause little to no property damage or physical injury. In contrast, a high-speed collision may lead to extensive property damage and serious physical injury or death.

Different Types of Car Accidents

Car accidents are classified into several types, such as rear-end collisions, head-on collisions, side-impact collisions, rollover accidents, etc. All of those car accident types have their own set of causes and consequences.

  • Rear-end collisions occur when one vehicle crashes into the back of another. The common cause of this accident is the sudden stopping of the leading car.
  • T-bone collisions, often referred to as side-impact or broadside collisions, happen when one car hits the side of another vehicle at a perpendicular angle.
  • Head-on collisions are among the most dangerous ones since, in those accidents, the front ends of two vehicles collide while heading in opposite directions.
  • Rollover accidents may also be extremely dangerous or even fatal as during such an accident vehicle tips over onto its side or roof, often due to a sharp turn or collision. In some cases, a vehicle may roll multiple times, which can cause serious injuries or death to the people inside, especially if these people are not wearing seat belts.
  • Single-car accidents involve only one vehicle and can happen for various reasons like driver distraction, bad weather, mechanical failure, etc.
  • Multi-vehicle accidents involve three or more vehicles, resulting in extensive damage and injuries.
  • Hit-and-run accidents occur when one driver leaves the accident scene without providing their contact or insurance information.
  • Pedestrian accidents involve a collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian, which may lead to severe injuries or fatalities.
  • Bicycle accidents involve collisions between a car and a bicycle, resulting in serious injuries or even death.

With that classification mentioned, it’s important to note that the same car accident can fall into two or more categories. Regardless of the type of accident or its likelihood of causing harm, any car accident can result in injuries, property damage, and other severe irreversible consequences.


Physical injuries resulting from car accidents

Car accidents can cause a variety of physical injuries, ranging from minor cuts and bruises to severe and life-threatening injuries. Here are some of the most common physical injuries caused by car accidents:

  • Fractured or broken bones, including the arms, legs, ribs, and hips, can occur due to the force of a collision.
  • Whiplash is a common injury that occurs when the head is suddenly jerked back and forth, straining or spraining the neck muscles and ligaments.
  • Head injuries can range from minor concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI), resulting in long-term or permanent disability.
  • Back injuries such as herniated discs, spinal cord damage, and fractures are typical for rollover car accidents.
  • Cuts and bruises are common injuries caused by broken glass or metal debris in the vehicle.
  • Internal injuries such as organ damage, internal bleeding, and abdominal injuries.
  • Burn injuries can be caused by car fires, explosions, or contact with hot engine parts.
  • Emotional trauma, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health disorders.

Even if you overlook apparent injuries immediately after the accident, seeking immediate medical attention following a car accident is critical. Some injuries may not manifest immediately, and delaying medical treatment may result in additional complications.

Importance of safety measures, such as seat belts and airbags 

Safety measures, such as seat belts and airbags, are essential to prevent or reduce injuries and fatalities in car accidents. Here are some reasons why these safety measures are so necessary:

  • Seat belts

Seat belts are one of the essential safety measures in a car, as they can significantly reduce the risk of injury or death in a crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts saved more than 14,000 lives in 2015 alone. Seat belts keep occupants inside the vehicle and prevent them from hitting hard surfaces or being ejected from the car during an accident.

  • Airbags

Airbags provide an additional layer of protection in case of a collision. They are designed to deploy quickly in a crash to cushion the impact and prevent the occupants from hitting hard surfaces in the car. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), airbags have saved more than 50,000 lives in the United States since 1987.

  • Child safety seats

Child safety seats are crucial for protecting children in car accidents. According to the NHTSA, child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by up to 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers in the event of an accident.

Many states have laws mandating the use of seat belts, and failure to wear a seat belt can result in a traffic citation. These laws have effectively increased seat belt usage and reduced fatalities and injuries in car accidents.

Overall, safety measures such as seat belts, airbags, and child safety seats are essential for protecting occupants in a car accident. Following traffic laws and using these safety measures can significantly reduce the risk of injury or death and help prevent serious accidents. For more info, click here.

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