Common Types of Car Accidents in California (2024)

Car accidents are a leading cause of accidental injuries and deaths in the state each year. Whenever these accidents happen, the drivers involved could potentially suffer life-changing injuries and face expensive economic losses. It’s important for all drivers to know what to do after experiencing an accident, from proving fault and identifying the party or parties responsible for their damages to their options for collecting compensation for those damages. Every car accident claim is unique, but every driver in this situation needs legal counsel they can trust to recover as fully as possible.

Car accidents happen in many ways, and while it is impossible for any driver to always be able to anticipate the actions of others on the road, knowing the most common types of car accidents can help a driver minimize their risk of experiencing an accident.

Most Common Types of Car Accidents

The first steps you take after a car accident can impact your recovery in various ways. No matter how your accident happened, you need to know that California law requires drivers to call 911 and report any accident that results in property damage, injury, or death. Do not leave the scene of an accident until responding police officers allow you to go. Doing so could lead to a hit-and-run charge carrying severe penalties.

If you believe another driver is to blame for your accident, you should take time to gather evidence from the scene of the accident if you are able to do so safely while you wait for first responders. Photos of your injuries, the damage to your vehicle, and the positions of the vehicles on the road are especially important. You may have other opportunities to gather evidence depending on the type of accident you experienced. A few of the most common types of car accidents in the state include:

  • Rear-end collisions. These accidents happen when one driver hits another driver from behind. A driver is expected to leave room between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them so they have time to react if the vehicle in front of them suddenly stops or slows down.
  • Sideswipe accidents. This type of accident involves a driver hitting another driver along the side of their vehicle, swiping the side of it. Depending on the velocity and angle of impact, this type of accident has the potential to cause severe injuries to the occupants of the struck vehicle.
  • Head-on collisions. These accidents happen when one driver hits another driver face-to-face. These accidents can happen if drivers perform illegal turns, swerve outside of their lanes into opposing traffic, or mistakenly drive the wrong way down one-way roads.
  • Accidents from speeding. Any accident is more likely to result in catastrophic or fatal injuries if one of the drivers is speeding. Across the United States, speeding is a top contributing factor to the number of fatal accidents reported each year.
  • Drunk driving accidents. Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is illegal across the United States, but unfortunately, this behavior continues to be a leading cause of serious car accidents each year. The driver responsible for a DUI accident faces penalties such as heavy fines, jail time, and loss of their driving privileges. These penalties can increase significantly when the DUI driver has caused catastrophic or fatal injuries to others.

These are only a few common examples of the different types of accidents reported in the state each year. No matter how your accident occurred, proving the other driver’s fault will be an essential first step toward recovery. The sooner you connect with an experienced car accident attorney, the better your chances are of maximizing the compensation you secure through your recovery efforts.

FAQs About Common Types of Car Accidents in California

What Is the Leading Cause of Car Accidents?

Across the United States, distracted driving consistently ranks as the top-reported cause of all vehicle accidents. Any time a driver does not pay full attention to operating their vehicle, they put themselves and others at grave risk. Even momentary distraction behind the wheel has the potential to cause a devastating accident, especially at higher speeds.

What Are the Most Common Types of Car Accidents?

Rear-end collisions are the most common type of car accident in the country. This type of accident happens when one driver slams into the rear end of another driver’s vehicle. This can happen for many reasons, including following too closely or the leading driver suddenly braking unexpectedly. Drivers are expected to leave room between their vehicle and a vehicle in front of them, so the driver who hits another driver from behind is almost always at fault for this type of collision.

How Do I Prove Liability for a Car Accident?

Proving who is at fault for your recent accident is a vital first step toward recovering your damages. An experienced car accident attorney can help gather the evidence you may need to prove fault, such as traffic camera footage, the other driver’s cell phone records, and witness testimony from anyone who saw the accident happen. Expert witness testimony could be important if liability for an accident is contested in any way.

Can I Claim Compensation if I Share Fault for a Car Accident?

California upholds the pure comparative negligence rule, so it is possible for a plaintiff in a car accident claim or any other personal injury suit to bear partial liability for the incident and still receive recompense for their damages. If you are concerned about bearing partial liability, it is crucial to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. They can help minimize your fault percentage and preserve the compensation you win from the other driver.

Will the Other Driver Go to Jail for Causing My Accident?

If the other driver who caused your accident did so through negligence, they face liability for your damages but are unlikely to face criminal charges. However, if they caused the accident through any type of illegal misconduct, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will more than likely face criminal prosecution from the state along with their liability for civil damages.

The right attorney can make a tremendous difference in your experience with a car accident claim. The team at Belgum, Fry & Van Allen has successfully represented many car accident victims in their recovery efforts, and we can leverage this experience on your behalf. If you are ready to learn what our team can do for you in the aftermath of a car accident, contact us today and schedule a free consultation with us.