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Intersection Accidents

Intersection design and traffic controls in California play a critical role in ensuring the safety of drivers navigating crowded intersections. Despite efforts to minimize accidents, the majority of serious and fatal car accidents occur at or near intersections.

If you were involved in a car accident at an intersection, you may be eligible for compensation. Common causes of such collisions include attempting to make a left turn too far into the intersection, making the turn too soon as the signal changes, or running a red light.

Irresponsible driving by others can result in serious accidents, injuries, and fatalities. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), over half of all motor vehicle accidents leading to injury or death occur at intersections and are caused by driver error, such as failing to stop at red lights or yielding to other drivers.

What Causes Intersection Accidents?

It’s important for drivers to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings at intersections, to avoid these and other causes of intersection accidents. Proper vehicle maintenance and road upkeep can help reduce the risk of accidents at intersections. The most frequent cause of intersection accidents in California is a driver’s error, such as running a red light, not paying attention to their surroundings, or making a left turn without checking for other cars, pedestrians, or cyclists. Left turn accidents at intersections account for the majority of head-on or T-bone collisions.

Intersection accidents are not limited to cars and often involve other vehicles, such as motorcycles, bicycles, scooters, buses, and large trucks.

Some of the most common causes of intersection accidents include:

  • Driver distraction: Drivers who are distracted by their cell phones, navigation systems, or other passengers can fail to pay attention to traffic signals and road signs, causing an accident.
  • Impaired driving: Alcohol and drug use can impair a driver’s judgment and reaction time, increasing the risk of an intersection accident.
  • Reckless driving: Speeding, tailgating, and aggressive driving behavior can increase the likelihood of an intersection accident.
  • Running red lights: Drivers who run red lights or stop signs can cause serious accidents at intersections.
  • Vehicle malfunctions: Defective brakes, tires, or other vehicle parts can contribute to an intersection accident.
  • Poor road conditions: Poorly maintained roads, inclement weather, and other environmental factors can create hazardous conditions at intersections and increase the risk of accidents.

While some intersection accidents can be caused by unforeseen circumstances, such as sudden obstacles in the road or inclement weather, most can be prevented by following traffic laws.

Types of Intersection Accidents

There are several types of vehicle collisions that occur at intersections, including:

  1. T-bone Accidents – The most common type of intersection collision occurs when one car crashes into the side of another vehicle. This often happens when a vehicle fails to yield while making a left turn and collides with a car driving straight through the intersection.
  2. Rear-End Accidents – These occur when a rear driver misjudges the front driver’s intention to proceed through the intersection and collides with the front driver from behind.
  3. Right-Turn Accidents – This type of accident is common when a driver making a right turn strikes a pedestrian or bicyclist who is crossing the intersection and fails to yield.
  4. Head-On Collisions – Although less common, these can occur when a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, overly fatigued, or driving aggressively at a high speed.

What are the Common Injuries from Intersection Car Accidents?

Car accidents at intersections can result in a range of injuries, from minor bruises to life-threatening conditions like paralysis or death.

Injury can be life-altering, with common ailments including:

  • Fractured bones
  • Concussions
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Neck injuries
  • Lacerations and abrasions
  • Airbag injuries
  • Spinal cord damage

Immediate medical attention is crucial after a car accident to prevent the worsening of injuries. The time required for recovery depends on the type and severity of the injury, as well as the quality of medical care received.

A skilled San Diego car accident attorney can help ensure that you receive proper medical treatment for your injuries and recover any lost wages from time off work.

In California, drivers who are hurt due to another driver’s negligence are protected by law.

Determining Who is at Fault in an Intersection Accident?

Determining fault in an intersection accident can be complex and depends on various factors such as traffic laws, road conditions, and the actions of each driver involved in the accident. In general, fault is assigned to the driver who failed to obey traffic laws or acted in a reckless or careless manner that directly led to the accident.

For example, if one driver runs a red light and collides with another vehicle that had the right of way, the driver who ran the red light would likely be found at fault. If both drivers were acting negligently, such as both running red lights, the court may use the comparative negligence standard to determine the degree of fault for each driver and allocate damages accordingly.

It is important to gather as much evidence as possible at the scene of the accident, including eyewitness statements and photographs, to support your claim and determine fault. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate the process and ensure that your rights are protected.

To determine fault in an intersection accident, California uses a comparative negligence standard. This means that the court will consider the degree to which each driver contributed to the accident when determining the amount of damages that each driver should pay. If you were partially at fault for the accident, your award would be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you.

What if the Other Party is Under-Insured?

In California, it is mandatory for drivers to have auto insurance, but some drivers may still not have enough coverage in the event of an accident.

Although insurance companies must offer underinsured and uninsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, it is not mandatory for drivers to take this option.

If you do have UM/UIM insurance, you can turn to your own insurance company for compensation after an intersection accident. On the other hand, if you don’t have this coverage, you may still file a claim against the at-fault driver. However, drivers without insurance often lack the financial resources to pay for damages, making it challenging to receive compensation from them.

When Do I Need to Call an Attorney?

If you have been involved in an intersection accident, a personal injury attorney can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights. An experienced attorney can provide valuable assistance in several ways, including:

  • Investigating the accident: Your attorney will gather evidence to determine fault and build a strong case for compensation. This may involve interviewing witnesses, reviewing police reports, and collecting other relevant information.
  • Negotiating with insurance companies: Insurance companies are often more concerned with protecting their own interests than with fairly compensating accident victims. A personal injury attorney can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to ensure that you receive the maximum settlement possible.
  • Representing you in court: If an insurance settlement cannot be reached, your attorney can represent you in court and fight for your rights. They will have the knowledge and expertise needed to present your case effectively and ensure that your rights are protected.
  • Protecting your rights: Personal injury laws can be complex and difficult to navigate on your own. A personal injury attorney will have a thorough understanding of the law and can help ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process.

Working with a personal injury attorney after an intersection accident can help you recover the compensation you deserve and bring closure to a difficult situation.

If you were injured or lost a loved one in an intersection accident in California and the other driver was at fault, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and other expenses. To maximize your compensation, it’s recommended that you speak with a car accident lawyer.

HHJ Trial Attorneys can provide more information on intersection collisions and compensation.


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