Common Car Accident Scenarios – Causes & Determining Fault

Determining causation and who is at fault after a car accident is critical to recovering money for your injuries and property damage. In some cases, this is straightforward. However, many crash scenarios make it harder to unravel what happened and who is to blame. 

An Oklahoma City car accident lawyer can help you prove another driver’s negligence and fight for fair compensation.

At Laird Hammons Laird Personal Injury Lawyers, we have 95 years of combined experience investigating car crashes. We help Oklahoma City, OK, accident victims hold negligent drivers accountable. 

Contact our office at (405) 497-0480 for a free consultation with an Oklahoma City personal injury attorney to discuss your case.

How Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You After a Car Accident in Oklahoma City, OK

How Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You After a Car Accident in Oklahoma City, OK

After an accident, you deserve a legal advocate who will fight for your best interests and ensure you are treated fairly by the insurance company. Since 2009, Laird Hammons Laird Personal Injury Lawyers has tirelessly represented countless accident victims in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. We have recovered in excess of $100 million in compensation for our clients. 

When you hire an Oklahoma City car accident attorney at our firm, you can depend on us to: 

  • Conduct an independent investigation into your crash
  • Work with experts and gather evidence to prove liability
  • Defend you against insurance company strategies 
  • Handle all paperwork and communications
  • Aggressively negotiate on your behalf to seek maximum compensation
  • Argue your case before a jury if a fair settlement is refused

We will put our 95 years of combined experience to work on your behalf. Contact our law office today for a free case review with an Oklahoma City personal injury lawyer to explore your legal options.

Common Car Accident Scenarios in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The following are some of the most common car accident scenarios in Oklahoma City. The driver likely at fault is usually easy to determine, but there are many exceptions in each scenario.

Single-Vehicle Accidents

A single-vehicle crash can be caused by anything from driver error to poor road conditions or mechanical failure. While the driver is often assumed to be at fault, determining liability can be more complex. If external factors played a major role, other parties may share financial responsibility for the crash. 

For example, if road defects caused the accident, a government entity responsible for road maintenance may share liability. If the car malfunctioned, a repair shop or manufacturer may be liable. 

Cases involving product liability or a government tort claim are notoriously complex. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you investigate your crash and gather the evidence necessary for your claim. 

Rear-End Collisions

About 32% of all auto accidents are rear-end crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These accidents happen when one car strikes the back of another vehicle, often when the lead vehicle is stopped or slowing down. 

In most instances, the driver of the following vehicle is considered at fault. Drivers are expected to always maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead. These crashes are often caused by speeding, tailgating, or distracted driving

However, there are exceptions to this general rule. It’s possible for the lead driver to be at fault or share some liability. For example, if the leading vehicle slams on the brakes, cuts off the other vehicle, or has non-functioning brake lights, the lead driver may share some of the fault. 

Head-On Collisions

Head-on crashes are rare, accounting for just 2% of car accidents, but they are usually very serious. About 10% of traffic deaths happen in head-on collisions. These accidents have a higher rate of serious injury, too, including catastrophic injuries. 

Head-on collisions typically happen when a vehicle crosses the centerline or median and crashes into an oncoming vehicle. This can occur when a driver loses control of the vehicle or falls asleep at the wheel. They can also involve wrong-way driving. Fatigue, driving under the influence, speeding, and distracted driving are common factors. 

Fault generally lies with the driver who veered into oncoming traffic. However, this isn’t always true. 

The head-on crash may have been part of a chain reaction, such as an initial crash that forced the vehicle into oncoming traffic. The driver may have swerved to avoid a pedestrian just before the collision. A careful investigation may be needed to determine the circumstances leading up to the crash and who is to blame.

Side-Impact (T-Bone) Accidents

Side-impact collisions, often referred to as T-bone or sideswipe accidents, occur when the side of one vehicle is struck by the front or rear of another vehicle. These types of accidents frequently happen at intersections. Sideswipe accidents are commonly caused by failure to yield, speeding, or running a red light or stop sign. 

The sides of a car have less protection and absorb less force in a crash compared to the front and rear. This means occupants are at a much higher risk of serious injuries. Sideswipe accidents are responsible for about 23% of car occupant deaths

The driver who ran a stop sign or traffic light or failed to yield will generally be held liable for the crash. Fault in T-bone accidents hinges on determining which driver had the legal obligation to yield. Evidence such as traffic camera footage, witness statements, and police reports can be crucial.

Left-Turn Accidents

More than 60% of intersection accidents involve left turns, and they are the critical pre-crash event in 22% of these accidents. The key factor in determining fault in left-turn accidents is typically the right of way. Generally, the vehicle traveling straight has the right of way.

In many cases, the driver making the left turn is found to be at fault, as they are responsible for waiting for a clear path before completing their turn. 

These accidents are usually attributed to: 

  • Misjudging the speed of other vehicles
  • False assumption of another’s behavior
  • Inadequate surveillance
  • Obstructed view

However, there are exceptions where the oncoming driver or even a pedestrian may be partially or fully at fault. For instance, if they were speeding, driving under the influence, or ran a red light, they may be responsible.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation With an Experienced Oklahoma City Car Accident Lawyer

Have you been seriously hurt in a car accident in Oklahoma City, OK? A personal injury attorney can help you determine liability and build the strongest case possible. 

With 95 years of collective experience, Laird Hammons Laird Personal Injury Lawyers is ready to help you. Contact our law office today for a free consultation with an Oklahoma City car accident lawyer to tell your story and learn more about how we can help.