Some accidents are much more likely to result in deaths than others. Odds are if a driver rear-ends you while you’re stopped at a traffic light, you’re not going to die. On the other hand, if a drunk driver crosses lanes and strikes your car while you’re both driving at 60 mph, the odds that both you and the drunk driver will die can increase significantly.
According to the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, 1,217 people died in traffic accidents in Tennessee in 2020. About a quarter of those traffic deaths (309) took place in the greater Memphis area. More than half of the passengers who were killed were not wearing seat belt restraints. According to Safer America, more than half of all fatal accidents nationwide involved just one vehicle. “In 2018, 95 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal car accidents were passenger cars or light trucks (vans, SUVs, or pickup trucks).”
What types of vehicle accidents cause fatalities?
Often, how an accident occurs indicates who is responsible for the death of another driver, a passenger, a pedestrian, or a bicycle rider. Some of the deadliest types of car and truck accidents include:
- Head-on collisions. These crashes involve the front of one vehicle striking the front of another vehicle. They are usually due to one driver being in the wrong lane or traveling in the wrong direction. Even when both cars are going at slower speeds, the collision can be deadly because the force of the collision is essentially the combined speed of both vehicles. The drivers and passengers in the front of the car are the occupants most likely to die. Survivors often suffer head trauma, spinal cord injuries, and broken bones. Head-on collisions usually happen because one driver was intoxicated or distracted. Head-on collisions may also occur because a driver is lost, unfamiliar with the roads, or isn’t decisive about making a turn.
- Multi-vehicle accidents. While most car accidents involve just one vehicle or two vehicles, some crashes involve multiple vehicles. Pileup accidents are usually due to a chain reaction (Car A strikes Car B which strikes Car C) or when numerous cars try to avoid another accident that already happened. These crashes are often deadly because the drivers have no way to get out of the way of other vehicles. Many multi-car accidents happen at angles or head-on which increases the likelihood someone may die. In some multi-car accidents, a vehicle can be struck in the front, in the rear, and on the side. Multi-vehicle crashes also increase the risk of fires and explosions.
- Vehicles that speed through turns are likely to roll over. Trucks, SUVs, and Jeeps are very prone to rollover accidents because their center of gravity is different than other passenger vehicles. Rollovers may occur when a driver tries to turn quickly in order to avoid an accident or avoid spilled cargo. Some drivers roll their cars or trucks because they’re speeding or not concentrating. The impact of a collision can also cause a rollover fatality. Rollovers are often deadly because the seatbelt can’t prevent injuries, airbags don’t function as well in rollovers, and the driver essentially strikes the ground when the roof of the vehicle hits the ground. In addition, drivers and passengers who are in a rollover accident often can’t get out of their vehicles. If the car ignites, the occupants have little chance of surviving.
- These accidents (also called T-bone accidents) involve the front of one car striking the side of another car. This type of accident often happens at intersections when one driver runs through a red light or a stop sign. They can also happen when one driver turns in front of another driver. Normally, the front of the car offers more protection than the side of the car because the front has a long hood while the side only has a door. The people in the car whose side is struck are most likely to die especially if the cars were traveling at high speeds. In most broadside accidents, the driver of the car whose front is damaged is usually the driver responsible for the accident.
- These accidents normally occur when one car tries to pass another car or when one or more cars are trying to merge into other lanes of travel. The passenger side of one car normally strikes the side of the other car. The reason these types of accidents are often deadly is that one or both cars tend to spin around making them susceptible to striking or being struck by other vehicles. Cars involved in sideswipe accidents may also roll over or veer into traffic lights, poles, barriers, and ditches.
In Tennessee, the families of anyone killed in a car accident due to the negligence of others or vehicle defects has the right to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the family. Wrongful death damages include payment of the funeral and burial bills, the loss of financial support the decedent would have provided the family members, and the loss of emotional support and guidance the decedent would have provided.
At Bailey & Greer, PLLC, our Memphis car accident lawyers have been fighting for injury victims for 35 years. We understand how absolutely devastating it is to learn that a loved one died in a car accident or any type of accident. We guide families through this very difficult time. We answer all your questions and work to hold the responsible drivers liable for your tragic loss.
To discuss which family members are entitled to compensation when a relative is killed due to negligence or a product defect, call our seasoned trial lawyers today. You can reach us at 901-475-7434 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment at our office in Memphis or Jackson. We handle wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis. We proudly serve clients throughout West Tennessee.
As founder of Bailey & Greer, R. Sadler Bailey has battled his fair share of insurance giants and wrongdoers and has achieved numerous multimillion-dollar results for the victims of catastrophic injuries and their families. What’s more, he has been involved in more than 40 appellate court decisions affecting Tennessee personal injury law, including many landmark appearances before the Tennessee Supreme Court.
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