Types of Vehicle Crashes and Settlement Value

At the bottom of this page is a list of different types of vehicle accidents. We give example settlements and verdicts in these types of car crash cases to help you better understand the range of expected outcomes for that type of accident.

There are many different ways to get hurt and killed in a motor vehicle. Our car accident injury lawyers have seen every conceivable - and inconceivable - type of car accident. In the big picture, the type of accident is not the driving force behind the value of the case or the likelihood of success at trial. What matters are the injuries and the unique facts of the case.

Still, there is wisdom in understanding the science and other litigation experience with specific types of car accidents. Why? Because there are specific things you have to do in a case to prove liability depending on how the accident occurred. There are different, specific types of questions you want to ask the defendant, in depositions and interrogatories and such that depend on just how the accident occurred.

There is also a question of the value of the case. Insurance companies bake into their settlement formula the type of accident and, to a lesser extent, juries do too.

Insurance companies do this more where there are many different possible outcomes for the victim based on the diagnostic testing.

What do we mean by this? Take a broken leg in a car accident. A broken leg pretty much is what it is. It does not matter whether it occurred from a head-on collision or a rear-end accident and it does not matter how much property damage there is. The consequences of that particular injury generally fall in line with what the doctors see on an x-ray.

Contrast that with injuries like a herniated disc or a traumatic brain injury. Insurance companies question whether the diagnostic findings support the injuries in almost every case. So if the property damage is significant and the injuries are biomechanically consistent with the accident that occurred, the insurance company is more likely to find a connection between the crash and the injuries. 

If the case goes to a jury, you can expect the jurors to demand a logical nexus between how the accident happened and the injury claim. Still, they are not going to put quite the fine point on it as the insurance companies do. 

Looking at case value by type of accident is a productive exercise in trying to determine the settlement value of your case.  But if you are trying to find the best comparable to try to better understand what cases like your might settle for, you are better off looking at the case valuation analysis based on the type of injuries the victim suffered. 

Head-On Accidents

Head-on accidents are classified as collisions between vehicles moving in opposite directions. Head-on collisions are generally the most dangerous of all types of auto accidents. When 2 cars moving in opposite directions collide, the force of the impact is significantly greater than other types of collisions. Fortunately, head-on accidents are not very common, accounting for only 3% of all collisions involving more than a single vehicle. 

Side Impact Accidents

Side-impact accidents include any collision in which the primary point of impact is on the side of the vehicle (as opposed to the front or back). Side impact accidents include both “broadside” impacts as well as “sideswipes.” Side-impact accidents are the 2nd most hazardous accident type. Approximately 33% of all accident fatalities are the result of broadside collisions. The increased danger of these accidents is primarily because the side of a vehicle gives drivers and passengers the least amount of protection from the force of a collision.

 Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents occur anytime a moving vehicle strikes a pedestrian which includes someone walking or riding a bike, scooter or another non-motorized vehicle. Pedestrian accidents are typically very dangerous and often deadly for the pedestrian with little or no risk of injury to the driver.

Again, the reason for this is fairly obvious: even traveling at low speeds cars can easily crush bones, tissue, and organs when they strike unprotected pedestrians. Accidents with pedestrians occur more frequently in highly urban areas (such as downtown Baltimore) where there are large numbers of pedestrians. Other high-risk situations include construction sites and walking or biking on roadsides without sidewalks.

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