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Understanding the language surrounding car crashes is essential, whether you’re navigating the aftermath of an accident, dealing with filing an insurance claim, or deciphering a police report. Even the most experienced drivers may find themselves perplexed by the terms and descriptions used to categorize different types of crashes.

By exploring common terms used to describe certain types of collisions, you can better understand the implications of your crash and navigate your claim.

Types of Crashes and What They Mean

Car accidents are often referred to by specific terminology that can tell you about the crash. These titles often refer to the impact of the collision, which can indicate the possible severity and type of injuries.

  • Fender Bender: A fender bender is a minor collision between vehicles, often occurring at low speeds, such as in parking lots or slow-moving bumper-to-bumper traffic. Fender benders usually result in minor damage to the vehicles involved and rarely result in serious injuries.
  • T-bone or Side-Impact: This type of crash occurs when the front of one vehicle collides with the side of another, so the vehicles form a “T” shape. These can be particularly dangerous, as the side of a vehicle offers less protection than the front or rear. In 2022, Louisiana drivers were involved in 420 severe side-impact collisions.
  • Rollover: A rollover accident is when a vehicle flips onto its side or roof. These can be caused by sharp turns at high speeds, high-speed collisions, or “tripping” (when a vehicle’s tire hits something that causes it to tip or roll).
  • Hit-and-Run: A hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver in a collision leaves the scene without stopping to identify themselves or offer aid to the injured. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 24% of pedestrian deaths in 2021 occurred due to hit-and-run accidents.
  • Multi-Vehicle Pileup: Multi-vehicle pileups involve more than two vehicles. For example, if two vehicles collide, and then a third vehicle collides with the crashed vehicles. Pileups often occur on highways where speeds are high, and can involve dozens of vehicles in a chain reaction. These crashes can be triggered by factors like poor visibility, slippery road conditions, or one driver’s sudden braking.
  • Rear-End Crash: Rear-end crashes occur when one vehicle hits the vehicle in front of it. These are common in stop-and-go traffic and can lead to whiplash injuries.
  • Head-on Crash: A head-on crash occurs when two vehicles moving in opposite directions collide front-to-front. For example, when one vehicle swerves out of its lane into oncoming traffic, or when a driver proceeds the wrong way down a one-way street. These are often severe due to the combined speed of the vehicles. In Louisiana, there were 270 head-on collisions resulting in injuries or fatalities in 2022.
  • Side-swipe: A side-swipe accident occurs when two parallel cars touch sides. This typically happens when one vehicle tries to change lanes without noticing the other vehicle beside it, often because that driver failed to check their mirrors or blind spot.
  • Run-off-Road Crash: A run-off-road crash occurs when a vehicle leaves the travel lane, crashes into a roadside object, vehicle, or pedestrian, or falls into a body of water.
  • Fixed Object Collision: A fixed object collision involves a vehicle colliding with a stationary object, such as a tree, guardrail, or traffic sign. Louisiana reported 1,443 serious or fatal crashes that did not involve another motor vehicle, indicating that the collision may have been with a stationary object.
  • Single-Vehicle Accident: This refers to an accident where only one vehicle is involved. It could be due to various reasons, such as the driver losing control, vehicle failure, or hitting a pedestrian, animal, or static object like a tree or pole.

A crash can fall into more than one of these categories. For example, a hit-and-run accident can involve a driver running another vehicle off the road in a side-swipe, or a rear-end crash can become a pile-up.

What to Do if You’re Involved in a Crash in Louisiana

If you’re involved in a crash in Louisiana, you can take several actions to protect your rights. Immediately after a collision, seek medical attention for your injuries. This ensures you receive appropriate treatment and documents your injuries and how they occurred.

You must also file a police report if the accident resulted in injury, death, or more than $500 in property damage. This report documents the incident and will be useful as evidence if you file an accident claim for compensation.

The aftermath of a crash can be complex, extending beyond immediate implications. No matter what type of accident you’re involved in, consulting with a Baton Rouge car accident lawyer from Dudley DuBosier is crucial. We can answer your questions about the insurance claims process and help you understand your rights after a crash.

Dudley DeBosier Will Advocate for Your Rights

Car crashes can be stressful, and the associated legal procedures can often compound that stress. Understanding your rights and the necessary steps toward a claim can be confusing, especially when juggling medical appointments or vehicle repairs. Our seasoned attorneys can help you understand the nuances of your case, liaison with insurance companies, and help you achieve a fair settlement for your injuries.

Contact our team today to schedule a free continuation and explore your legal options.

This content has been reviewed by Chad Lederman, Director of Legal Operations at our New Orleans office.

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