Car accidents happen every day around Northern Virginia and D.C. Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents are still the number one cause of serious injuries in this nation as well as the leading cause of death. The sad reality is that crashes will continue to occur as more drivers become distracted at the wheel with their phones and the ever-evolving in-vehicle technology.
At Shevlin Smith, our lawyers understand that people injured in car crashes are often innocent and are victims of someone else’s carelessness, recklessness, and poor judgment. This is why we focus our efforts on helping personal injury victims who have been harmed due to no fault of their own.
What You Need to Know When a Car Crash Is Caused by Driver Negligence in Virginia
When you or a loved one has been injured in a crash, it is important to learn about the legal process, your rights, and even understand how and why the wreck occurred in the first place. Thus, we put together the information on this page so that you can start learning about your car accident recovery.
Types of Car Accidents
Cars can collide in a variety ways, including:
- Head-on collisions are some of the most devastating and often deadliest types of accidents. This is because two cars heading in opposite directions hitting each other at the front end results in a massive impact. Common causes of head-on crashes include distracted driving, drowsy driving, and drunk driving.
- Rear-end crashes occur when vehicles in the rear crash into cars in front of them. Common causes of rear-end crashes include distracted driving, speed, and tailgating.
- T bone / side-impact collisions involve the front of one car smashing into the side of another vehicle, forming a “T” shape. Common factors in these types of crashes include speeding, distracted driving, running a red-light and failing to stop at stop signs.
- Rollover crashes occur when cars turn onto their sides or roofs—leading to significant injuries and fatalities. Common causes of rollovers include alcohol, speed, and vehicle defects.
- Accidents involving pedestrians occur when drivers fail to see or yield to pedestrians. As a result, drivers hit pedestrians, causing them life-threatening injuries due to their lack of protection. Common factors in pedestrian accidents include drivers running red lights, speeding, driving drunk, and driving distracted.
- Accidents involving cyclists often occur when drivers make turns, attempt to pass bicycles, or simply fail to share the road. When vehicles hit bicycles, cyclists can suffer severe and often fatal injuries. Common causes of cycling accidents include distracted driving, reckless driving, and driving drowsy or impaired.
Common Causes of Car Crashes in Virginia
Whether commuting to work, driving children to school, or running errands, you probably use your car every day to get you from point A to point B. While you might be a safe and defensive driver, all it takes is one driver sharing the road with you to act dangerously and your life is at risk. In fact, dangerous and negligent drivers are typically the main cause of crashes. Some other common causes of collisions include:
- Distracted driving is any activity a driver does that distracts him or her from paying attention to the road and driving safely. Some of the most common types of distracted driving behaviors are texting and driving and talking on hands-free and handheld cell phones at the wheel; however, even eating and talking with passengers can cause a driver to be distracted while driving.
- Impaired driving is the act of driving a car while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While drunk driving is legally defined as having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher, any amount of alcohol or drugs can alter a driver’s mind and impair his or her ability to drive safely.
- Reckless driving is typically considered speeding. However, in Virginia, reckless driving is considered anything over 80 miles per hour or exceeding the posted speed limit by 20 miles per hour. When motorists drive this way, they often run red lights and stop signs, which can lead to very serious crashes.
- Drowsy driving is when a driver continues driving even though he or she is tired. Most drivers who are battling fatigue don’t realize driving while tired can be just as dangerous as driving impaired or distracted.
- Teenage driving can be a factor in crashes because teen drivers typically lack the wisdom of seasoned drivers. As a result, teen drivers might make poor decisions behind the wheel that can lead to wrecks.
- Elderly driving can also be a factor in collisions because as drivers age, they may suffer from vision changes, slower reflexes, and confusion—all things that can cause seasoned drivers to crash.
- Defective car parts and tires are a reality. When car manufacturers and tire manufacturers create products that are defective and dangerous, they put the public at risk for crashing and suffering serious injuries and fatalities.
Although there are many causes of car accidents, the end result of crashes is trauma. Sadly, most people involved in collisions suffer injuries that range from minor to severe in nature.
Types of Serious Injuries Auto Accident Victims Suffer
Car crashes can result in any of the following injuries:
- Severe brain injuries from car accidents typically happen to motorists when they hit their heads on hard objects inside or outside of the car. Brain injuries may include concussions, contusions, hematomas, skull fractures, and open head or closed head traumatic brain injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries can be the result of a blow to an occupant’s spine. When this occurs, spinal nerves can be damaged which may lead to paralysis, bladder dysfunction, muscle weakness, and other adverse health effects.
- Broken bones often result from car accidents due to the force of the impact. Broken bone injuries can include broken arms, hands, wrists, hips, pelvises, ribs, legs, and ankles. However, any bone in the body can break when a certain amount of force is present.
- Limb amputations can occur in forceful and high speed collisions. Sadly, drivers and passengers could lose their arms, hands, legs or feet in crashes, causing lifelong disabilities and challenges.
- Serious burn injuries can result in the event of a car fire. When victims of vehicle fires sustain third degree burns, they may suffer pain, nerve damage, scarring, disfiguration, and other adverse health effects.
- Wrongful death can occur when a loved one is killed by a reckless or negligent driver. When families have suffered the tragic and untimely death of a loved one, they have the right to pursue a legal claim.
Every year there are millions of people who suffer serious injuries in car wrecks and survive; however, they are left to live with physical problems that can cause them disabilities and serious mental and financial issues. This is why recovering after a car crash is crucial to a victim’s overall health and well-being.
Recovering After a Car Accident
After suffering an injury, there’s no question that you will want to make the best physical recovery possible. Recovering after an auto accident can include working with medical professionals to treat your physical injuries, working with psychologists to treat your emotional injuries, and working with legal professionals to help you make a financial recovery. At Shevlin Smith, our attorneys can help you seek the following recoveries:
- Medical damages. It is important to your overall recovery that you work with doctors, physical therapists and psychologists. Accordingly, you should be entitled to collect for these expenses, such as hospital bills, surgeries, doctor’s visits, physical therapy, counseling, and other treatments or rehabilitation.
- Lost income. In the event your car accident injury causes you the inability to work or perform the same type of work as you did before the accident, you should be entitled to recover for your lost earnings.
- Pain and suffering. Many physical injuries can cause severe pain, agony, and emotional trauma. The more severe the injury, the more damages a victim can collect. These damages are based on the seriousness of the injury and pain suffered as well as future pain and suffering.
- Out-of-pocket costs. When a car accident causes you to spend any money out-of-pocket, such as fees for an ambulance ride, in-home services, or other expenses related to the accident and your injury, you deserve to be reimbursed for those costs.
Depending on the seriousness of your injury, you may be able to recover compensation for the past, present, and future damages listed above.
To learn more about pursuing a car accident injury lawsuit in order to obtain a fair and just financial recovery, don’t hesitate to call our Fairfax car accident and personal injury attorneys at (703) 591-0067. We will provide you with a free consultation to answer your questions and explain how we can help protect your legal and financial recoveries.