Drivers pass intersections frequently on their way to work or the store. They may need to use a junction to turn onto another road. Drivers should exercise caution around other motorists and pedestrians near intersections to avoid accidents. However, some people behave recklessly.
As a result, most collisions occur at intersections. Multiple vehicles get involved in many cases, and drivers and passengers usually experience bodily harm. If you get into an accident at an intersection, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help you get compensation for any injuries.
Where Are Accidents Likely to Happen?
According to the IIHS, around 57 percent of fatal car accidents occur on roads in urban areas. Urban roads frequently see heavy traffic due to the high population. Additionally, many people walk or use bicycles in the city. As a result, collisions involving cyclists and pedestrians are common.
Arterial roads are high-capacity streets near freeways and frequently see motor vehicle crashes. Meanwhile, interstates and highways near cities see about 20 percent of reported fatal accidents.
Even though rural areas tend to have lower populations, they still contain a significant portion of collisions. Annually, rural roads see roughly 43 percent of accident deaths. One reason for the high rate is the average speed limit. Interstates generally allow motorists to travel faster than ones near a city.
In addition, some drivers have the misconception that rural places have minimal dangers since fewer cars are on the road. Therefore, they are likely to exhibit risky behaviors like speeding. Fatal crashes are prevalent on collector roads in rural places.
Most Collisions Occur at Intersections
Regardless of whether someone is in an urban or rural area, they have a high risk of getting into an accident at an intersection. The Federal Highway Administration found approximately 50 percent of fatal and non-fatal crashes happen at or near intersections. Most of them involve someone taking a left turn.
Many pedestrians and motorists pass through multiple junctions daily. The high number of people and cars increases the chance of accidents. Additionally, motorists are likely to engage in dangerous behaviors at intersections. For instance, someone may have been speeding and failed to slow down in time to stop at a red light.
Multiple car collisions take place at intersections. However, some are more prevalent than others.
T-bone accidents are one of the most common intersection accidents. They happen when one vehicle collides with the side of another car. People can sustain severe injuries, especially if they are on the same side as the impact.
Sometimes, a T-bone occurs because someone speeds through the intersection before the light can turn red. However, these risk-takers often do not make it in time and get in the way of an oncoming car. Other times, the driver is distracted and does not notice the light is red.
A head-on collision is when the front ends of two cars collide. Usually, a motorist in one lane swerves into the opposing lane and hits another person. An individual’s injuries may be severe or even life-threatening.
A driver might turn onto a one-way street at an intersection if they drive at night and have less visibility. They could run into an oncoming car as a result. Other times, a motorist might be intoxicated or tired, leading to the same dangerous outcome.
However, not all head-on collisions are the result of driver error. The intersection might not have proper traffic signs to indicate the right of way. Alternatively, a driver may get confused about what lane to be in if the lines have faded. Construction zones may alter lanes and risk head-on collisions.
Rear-end collisions make up a portion of intersection accidents. The hood of one car hits the rear bumper of another vehicle. While fewer fatalities result from rear-end crashes, the involved parties still need to seek medical intervention.
One contributing factor is distraction, and distractions may be physical or cognitive. Regardless, A distracted person might not notice a motorist stopped at a red light. When they finally do, they are less likely to brake in time to prevent a crash.
Tailgating is a common cause of rear-end collisions at intersections as well. A driver could suddenly brake when they see a red light. However, the car behind them might be too close to their rear to stop safely.
The CDC found around 104,000 people go to the emergency room after a pedestrian accident yearly. Many were likely at or near an intersection when a car collided with them. Due to less protection for pedestrians, bodily harm can be significant or life-threatening.
Pedestrians usually have the right of way when they cross an intersection. However, a car might ignore or not notice them. Several cases involve a speeding vehicle failing to brake safely and hitting a person on a crosswalk.
Can the Government Be Liable for Damages?
Poor Intersection Design
Under most circumstances, another driver is responsible for the injury you received in an intersection accident. However, a different party may be liable for damages. An example is the government.
The local government must design and create safe intersections. In addition, they must perform upkeep to ensure the junction does not become hazardous. However, some areas still have unsafe conditions.
An intersection may not have proper traffic signs or signals. Alternatively, if a traffic light stops working and the municipality delays repair, it could confuse motorists, increasing the potential for an accident.
Of course, the government may be liable if faded centerlines cause someone to swerve into another lane. A lack of visible lines is more dangerous if the intersection has complicated merging or turn lanes.
Negligent Government Worker
Another reason you can hold the city liable is if a government vehicle caused the accident. A government employee must obey traffic laws and behave reasonably behind the wheel. You could hold the respective department accountable if its worker ran a stop light.
However, the employee must have been on duty and driving to fulfill work obligations during the accident. Otherwise, you must file a claim against the worker as an individual.
Many states allow people to sue the government for injuries caused by an agency or employee. However, you must prove the government’s negligence led to the collision. A car accident attorney knows what evidence you need to establish liability.
What Happens if the Driver and Owner Are Different People?
A person may allow a friend to borrow their car. If the friend gets into a crash, the question of liability arises. You might be unsure if you should sue the driver or the person who owns the vehicle. Depending on where you live, you may be able to start a claim against one or both parties.
Generally, you would have a claim against the driver since their actions resulted in injuries. Some insurances help cover damages despite the motorist not owning the car’s title. Nevertheless, several states have owner liability laws. The vehicle owner may be responsible for an accident regardless if they drove or not.
Negligently entrusting a car to another can be ground for liability. Negligent entrustment is when an individual lends their vehicle to someone they know might behave carelessly. For example, an owner is liable if they give their car to an intoxicated or unlicensed driver.
An exception is if the driver did not have explicit or implied consent from the owner. Due to a lack of proper permission, you would only sue the motorist for damages. However, a parent or legal guardian may remain liable for a collision caused by a minor.
Who owes you money may not be clear. Your lawyer can help you determine if the driver, car owner, or both, are responsible.
An Intersection Collision With a Rideshare Driver
The person who struck you at an intersection may have been a rideshare driver. If you decide to pursue compensation, the rideshare company’s insurance sends the payment. However, the business’s insurer only pays if the driver was logged into the app during the accident.
If the individual transported a passenger, the amount you receive would increase. Usually, the rideshare company offers up to $1 million for bodily injury.
You must rely on their personal insurance if the motorist did not log in. Many states require licensed drivers to carry minimum coverage. Therefore, you are unlikely to deal with an uninsured motorist.
Remember that rideshare companies and insurers may create excuses to minimize or avoid payouts. A business might say the driver did not log into the app, so they do not have to cover damages. The insurance adjuster could argue you were at fault.
Reach out to a motor vehicle collision law firm immediately. A lawyer’s job is to protect your rights when you seek compensation.
You Do Not Have to Accept a Settlement Offer
A settlement should cover all your accident-related losses. You deserve reimbursement for past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, repair costs, and previous and expected lost income. Therefore, you can refuse an offer if you believe the proposed amount is not high enough.
Usually, the insurance company’s initial offer is lower than the value of your claim. The adjuster might lowball you to see if you know what your damages are worth. The amount may increase as the case progresses and when they see you stand up for yourself.
Nevertheless, you can reject settlement offers if they appear unfair. A lawyer assists you in negotiating decent compensation from the other party.
What to Do if the Other Driver Is Uninsured or Underinsured
Many places require licensed motorists to have an insurance policy. However, some people still drive on the road without coverage. Even if someone did have insurance, they might have minimum coverage. Their policy could not be enough to pay for damages.
Car insurance companies provide uninsured motorist coverage (UM) and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) to policyholders. UM allows you to file a claim with your insurer to get reimbursement for an uninsured driver’s actions.
Alternatively, the cost of your damages may exceed the underinsured motorist’s policy limit. You can recover some of the money from the at-fault party. At the same time, you can use UIM to obtain the remaining compensation from your insurer.
Several states do not make UM and UIM a requirement. Therefore, you may need to talk to a lawyer if you do not have the optional plans. Make sure to review the terms of your policy to see if you have coverage.
Influencing Factors in a Settlement
Insurance companies, lawyers, and judges consider various factors when calculating a settlement. First, they look at the economic damages you acquired since the accident. Then, they assess non-economic losses, which increase the amount of money you may get as compensation.
Other components of an intersection car collision can impact a claim’s value.
- The type of injury. The nature of someone’s injuries affects how much the liable party owes them. Bodily harm is worth more if it impedes a person’s ability to perform the same physical activities as before and causes emotional discomfort.
- The permanence of an injury. Permanent paralysis, amputations, and other long-lasting injuries generally require long-term care. In addition to lost job opportunities, victims could get more compensation for their emotional trauma.
- Promptness of medical attention. Common advice is to see a doctor soon after a crash. If you begin treatment immediately, the insurance company is less likely to devalue your claim.
- Statements after the accident. You must be careful about how you explain everything to the police when they make the report. Additionally, avoid giving the other party’s insurer a recorded statement. The adjuster may try to find anything to use as evidence you were at fault.
- A car accident attorney. The insurance company knows a lawyer aims to protect your interests and may tell you an attorney is unnecessary. Find a qualified law firm to increase your chances of fair compensation.
Since many factors go into a settlement, a person may feel overwhelmed when calculating compensation on their own. A car accident lawyer estimates the value of an intersection crash for you. They know what can maximize the insurance payout.