Around 40 percent of all car accidents happen at intersections, according to estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Crashes often occur at intersections because these are the locations where two or more roads cross each other and activities such as turning left, crossing over, and turning right have the potential for conflicts resulting in crashes,” NHTSA reports.
When an intersection accident occurs, the people involved in the crash often suffer serious injuries.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in an intersection accident in eastern Missouri, southern Illinois or Kentucky, the car accident lawyers at The Cagle Law Firm can help.
Our St. Louis personal injury attorneys have extensive experience with intersection accidents, and the St. Louis personal injury attorneys at The Cagle Law Firm are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a select group of lawyers who have obtained million or multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for injured clients.
Causes of Intersection Accidents
NHTSA indicates that 96 percent of intersection accidents occur as a result of an error on the part of least one driver. Because intersections are places where traffic crosses paths, drivers must respect the rules of the road, pay attention to other cars, pedestrians and bikes, and yield the right-of-way as required.
Unfortunately, some drivers don’t make careful, responsible choices at intersections.
Some of the top mistakes that drivers make that cause intersection accidents include:
- Failure to look. According to NHTSA, 44.1 percent of accidents at intersections result from inadequate observation by drivers. A driver may not take the time to check for oncoming traffic before entering an intersection, may enter the intersection even if something is obstructing the view, or may not see other cars, bikes, motorcycles or people.
- Faulty assumptions. NHTSA reports that faulty or bad assumptions are a factor in 8.4 percent of intersection accidents. A driver may incorrectly believe that oncoming traffic will stop at a yellow light or that a bike rider will yield, for example. These are just a few of the many errors in judgment that drivers make at intersections.
- Blocked sight lines for turns. According to NHTSA, 7.8 percent of crashes at intersections happen because a driver’s view is blocked and he or she enters the intersection anyway. For example, a driver might be next to a big truck that blocks a view of the oncoming traffic but decides to turn even though he or she is essentially blind to what might be coming.
- Illegal maneuvers. In 6.8 percent of intersection accidents, NHTSA reports, an illegal maneuver is at least partly to blame. When a driver breaks any safety law or does something illegal, this could be viewed as “negligence per se.” This means that an injured car accident victim is not required to specifically prove negligence to make a claim for damages.
- Distracted driving. NHTSA reports that a distraction inside the vehicle is a factor in 5.7 percent of intersection accidents. This could include a cell phone, a GPS device, the car’s stereo or even other passengers. Teenagers, in particular, are far more likely to get into accidents if they have passengers with them, while all drivers are 23 times more likely to crash if they are using cell phones and four times as likely to crash when using any handheld wireless devices.
- Misjudgment of distance or speed. NHTSA indicates that a misjudgment of a gap in traffic or of another driver’s speed is a factor in 5.5 percent of intersection crashes.
NHTSA also indicated that intersection-related accidents were 335 times as likely as regular crashes to involve a driver turning with an obstructed view, while crashes caused by inadequate surveillance are six times as likely to occur at intersections compared with crashes at other locations.
Injuries from Intersection Accidents
Since most intersection accidents happen when cars are turning or crossing paths, many of the accidents are side-impact collisions. One car strikes the side of another as the vehicles approach each other in the intersection. Other crashes may include head-on collisions with improper left turns or if cars cross lanes and hit directly, or sideswipe collisions if a car strays from its lane in making a turn. Rear-end collisions are also common at intersections.
Because so many intersection accidents are side-impact crashes, the injuries from intersection collisions can be very serious. A University of Michigan study indicated that side-impact crashes – or “T-bone” crashes – may be even more dangerous than head-on crashes. This is because the hood of the car can crumple in a head-on crash, absorbing some of the impact. The side of a car has less ability to crumple and absorb impact, making it more likely that the force of the crash will transfer directly to the accident victims.
Although most of the newer cars have side air bags, they provide only limited protection.
Some of the serious injuries that motorists often experience as a result side-impact, head-on and other types of intersection collisions include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury, including paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Whiplash and other neck injuries
- Back injury
- Punctured lungs and lung contusions
- Fractured ribs
- Injuries to the diaphragm
- Bone fractures, especially to the pelvis or to the femur
- Damage to the spleen
- Damage to pulmonary vessels
- Damage to the aorta
Hurt in an Intersection Accident? Find Out How The Cagle Law Firm Can Help
There is a financial cost to intersection accidents when injuries or deaths occur. Victims often need medical treatment and may also require a lifetime of ongoing medical care and assistance. They may be forced to miss work while healing or may be unable to ever return to work because of permanent disabilities from the crash.
There are also non-economic losses caused by intersection accidents. If an accident victim dies, the surviving family members are left without the love and companionship of the victim. This could lead to wrongful death damages, such as for compensation for the loss of companionship. Victims who survive intersection accidents often experience pain and suffering and emotional distress, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
At The Cagle Law Firm, we know that the damage done by a car accident can be overwhelming. Our goal is to make sure you get the money you need to compensate you as fully as possible for all of your losses.
Wherever you are located in Missouri, southern Illinois or Kentucky, the skilled personal injury lawyers at The Cagle Law Firm are committed to providing exemplary legal representation. Contact us online or call toll free 1.800.685.3302 or locally 314.276.1681 for a free case evaluation.