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    Besides being responsible for over 37,000 deaths each year, car accidents in America occur so often it seems like we are always watching a reality show. Police cars, ambulances, tow trucks. They are such a part of everyday life we almost don’t think about them.

    And to make matters worse, it causes tremendous traffic jams.

    Every 16 minutes someone is killed in a car crash in the United States. The age of drivers with the highest crash rate is 16-17 year-olds, which makes sense because they have the very least experience as drivers. Combine that with a lack of judgment (the part of the brain that controls judgment does not finish forming until age 25), add raging hormones, and throw in some social lubricants like drugs or alcohol, and you have a potent mix that’s ripe for a crash.

    Yet the teen drivers do not have the highest death rates. That would be those drivers over 80, the other end of the spectrum.

    But what are the most common car accidents in America? What types of car crashes are seen most often?

    We took a look at the most common car accidents and came up with our Top 10 list of America’s car crashes:

    1. Rear end crashes. This is where one driver hits the other from behind. In many states there is a presumption that the driver in the rear is at fault. But that presumption can often be overcome if the driver in back can show there was no fault on their part. It may be that the driver in front made a short or unexpected stop. Or the driver in back may have been struck by another car that pushed them into the car in front of them (“chain reaction crash”). I any event rear end collisions are very common and a frequent cause of neck and back injuries even when they are not at high speed. That’s because the human spine and spinal cord was not intended to be flexed very fast and very hard all of the sudden. Even with today’s advanced cars, three-point belts and airbags, our spines are still the most vulnerable to car crashes.
    2. T-bone crashes or cross-traffic accidents. These occur when one car hits the other broadside. They often, though not always, happen in intersections. While we often assume it is the striking car that is at fault, many times the offending car is the one that was “receiving” the impact. It may be because they failed to stop or yield
    3. Single vehicle crashes. Most often this happens when a car leaves the roadway and strikes a fixed object like a tree or telephone pole. These crashes can be due to inattention, weather, speeding, fatigue, or trying to avoid another vehicle, person or animal.
    4. Intersection crashes. This can happen when one car believes they have the right of way and then strikes another (or is stricken), or a car is traveling too fast to perceive distance. One car may not completely stop and then cause a crash. Sometimes that is known as a “rolling stop.”
    5. Merge crashes or being clipped when merging. Cars often will hit each other when one is merging into traffic or a lane ends, sometimes with little warning.
    6. Fender benders: Low speed accidents that often occur in parking lots or residential areas. These are the least likely to cause serious injury or death. But they can do so even with a low speed crash.
    7. Rollovers: When a vehicle loses control or is hit in a way that it leaves the roadway and rolls over. Sometimes this is caused by a sudden swerve, especially in a vehicle like a high SUV with a high center of gravity.
    8. Head-on crashes: These are considered the most dangerous of all crashes. That’s because when two vehicles hit each other the amount of force that is generated is a product of both car speeds. That is, if two cars are driving at 30 miles per hour and have a head-on crash, it is the same thing as a car hitting a brick wall at 60 MPH. So the g-forces are substantially increased, and the survivability of such crashes is reduced. Many people believe that by wearing a seat belt and having air bags they are capable of surviving any kind of crash. That is not true. It is not just the impact that can cause serious harm or death, it is the g (gravitational) forces. When the brain sits inside the skull it is like a bucket of jello. If it’s traveling at 60 MPH and the bucket suddenly hits a wall and stops, the jello keeps going, If the brain is subjected to those forces, it can suffer serious or fatal damage even without the skull becoming damaged.
    9. Multi-car pile ups: These are often common on highways especially in bad weather or poor visibility. They often result in dozens of cars become involved because once the pile up starts, it is difficult for the following drivers to perceive the stopped vehicles or get stopped quickly enough, especially on high speed roadways.
    10. Red light running. Despite the proliferation of red light cameras at many intersections around the country, drivers continue to run red lights. Most don’t think that they have, instead believing that they were just getting through the intersection at the end of the yellow light. But perception and reality often differ. Plus we have all seen many drivers drive through what was clearly a light that had already changed. Everyone’s in a hurry! But these can be some of the deadliest crashes because cross traffic has been given a green light and many drivers just assume that when they have a green, the cross traffic will stop.

    In reality, car crashes can happen any number of ways. Some involve more than one of these types. The reality is that we see many lives destroyed or permanently damaged from car crashes. Even with better cars and improved safety features, car accidents remain one of the greatest threats to the safety of American. We can reduce these numbers, but it requires everyone’s help

    With the proliferation of electronic devices, particularly smart phones, drivers who are distracted now account for a much larger proportion of crashes. DWD, or driving while distracted, has become the biggest preventable cause of crashes in the country. A driver who is distracted is a worse driver than one who is impaired by alcohol. Think about that the next time you think you need to answer a text while in the car.

    At Leighton law, we have spent over 35 years helping people who have been seriously hurt or lost loved ones in car crashes. Despite winning some of the largest verdicts and settlements in Florida for our clients, we have never had a client who wouldn’t trade the recovery for their previous health. Or the life of their loved one.

    Article by:

    John Leighton

    A nationally-recognized trial lawyer who handles catastrophic injury and death cases. He manages Leighton Law, P.A. trial lawyers, with offices in Miami and Orlando, Florida. He is President of The National Crime Victim Bar Association, author of the 2-volume textbook,Litigating Premises Security Cases, and past Chairman of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Motor Vehicle, Highway & Premises Liability Section. Having won some of the largest verdicts in Florida history, Mr. Leighton is listed inThe Best Lawyers in America (14 years), “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide (15 years), Top 100 Florida SuperLawyer™ and Florida SuperLawyers (14 years), “Orlando Legal Elite” by Orlando Style magazine, and FloridaTrend magazine “Florida Legal Elite


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