Last Updated on January 29, 2024

What Are Auto Collisions?

Collisions can happen in an instant, but leave behind lasting damage.

When two or more vehicles violently strike or sideswipe one another, the impact forces both structural and personal consequences. From crumbled metal and shattered glass to long-term trauma and financial loss, motor vehicle accidents change lives forever.

While no one expects disaster when pulling out of the driveway, awareness and education can help motorists minimize risks. If a crash in New York has impacted you or a loved one, call the Porter Law Group at 833-PORTER9 for a free consultation to determine if you can claim compensation.

Types of Collisions

There are three main types of motor vehicle collisions:

Rear-end Collisions

These occur when one vehicle crashes into the back of another vehicle in front of it. They can range from minor fender benders to major collisions causing severe injuries. Common causes include:

  • Tailgating
  • Distracted driving
  • Not obeying stop signals

Head-on Collisions

Head-on collisions happen when two vehicles moving in opposite directions on the same road crash into each other. These frontal impacts are usually very dangerous and lead to serious injuries. Possible causes include:

  • Veering into oncoming traffic
  • Drowsy driving
  • Driving under influence

Side-impact Collisions

Also called T-bone accidents, these occur when one vehicle strikes another at a perpendicular or side angle. They can result in harm to one or both colliding vehicles. Reasons for such collisions include:

  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Blind spots and poor visibility

Common Causes of Collisions

The most common causes of motor vehicle collisions involve some form of driver negligence or errors. Specific dangerous driving behaviors that lead to increased accident risks include:

Driver Negligence

Dangerous, illegal, or negligent driving behaviors cause many collisions. Common forms of unsafe driving contributing to accidents include:

  • Speeding – Traveling over posted speed limits violates NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law 1180 and is considered a traffic infraction. At higher speeds, drivers have less time to react, extend stopping distances, and increase crash severity. Recent statistics show speeding contributes to over 12,330 collision fatalities in 2021 in the U.S.
  • Distracted Driving – Driver activities like texting, phone calls, adjusting music, eating, or attending to children can divert focus from the road. New York specifically outlaws cell phone use and texting while driving under Vehicle and Traffic Laws 1225-c and 1225-d, with violators incurring 5-point penalties.
  • Drunk Driving – Alcohol and drug impairment slow reaction times, impact coordination, and impair judgement leading to unsafe operation of vehicles in violation of NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law 1192. Over 30 crash fatalities a day in the U.S. involve intoxicated drivers. That's one death every 45 minutes.

Adverse Conditions

  • Slippery Roads – Wet, icy, or snowy roads reduce tire grip and make braking distances longer, leading to loss of control collisions.
  • Poor Visibility – Fog, smoke, heavy rain, or darkness diminish what drivers can see. Limited visibility heightens crash risks by obscuring hazards and other vehicles.
  • Mechanical Failures – Tire blowouts, faulty brake systems, or other vehicle defects may cause collisions without any driver error.

Results of Collisions

The outcomes of motor vehicle accidents range from minor vehicle damage to severe personal injuries:

Property Damage

Collisions often inflict harm to the vehicles, including damaged exteriors, broken glass, bent frames, disabled mechanical parts, and more. Minor accidents may have repairable damage, while major collisions can lead to total losses.

Personal Injuries

People involved in crashes can suffer major physical trauma such as:

  • Whiplash – neck muscle strains and sprains 
  • Concussions – traumatic head injuries causing brain dysfunction 
  • Broken bones – fractures from impact forces
  • Internal injuries – organ and tissue wounds
  • Traumatic brain injuries – long-term brain damage 
  • Spinal cord injuries – paralysis from vertebrae and disc trauma 
  • Death

Financial Impacts

Beyond physical harm, crashes can create major financial hardships:

  • Loss of income – Injuries from accidents often prevent victims from working for a period of time or permanently 
  • Medical expenses – Immediate emergency treatment, hospital bills, ongoing doctor visits and medications accumulate quickly after crashes 
  • Rehabilitative services – Many injured victims require physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy or other rehab services to facilitate recovery 

These monetary damages from losing income and paying for health care/rehab appointments further the hardship victims endure. 

Determining Liability and Legal Recourse After Collisions

After collisions occur, it's important to establish legal liability and fault. This guides injury victims in seeking potential compensation.

Determining Fault

There are a few main factors used to analyze right of way, negligence, and accident cause:

  • Police investigation – Official accident reports contain statements from involved drivers and officers' crash scene assessments.
  • Witness statements – Independent 3rd party witness accounts provide impartial Collision details.
  • Physical evidence – Analysis factors like skid marks, vehicle damage patterns and more help reconstruct what occurred.

Police and insurance investigators analyze these various liability determination elements. 

Liability Claims

When other parties are deemed at-fault for accident injuries, victims have certain compensation options:

  • Bodily injury claims – Seeks damages like medical costs, lost income, etc. for crash injuries 
  • Disability claims – Covers lost wages from permanent disabling injuries sustained 
  • Wrongful death claims – Compensates families who lost a loved one in fatal collisions 

Litigation Options

Common ways injury victims or families seek liability payouts:

  • Negotiating with insurance – Direct settlement talks with at-fault drivers’ insurers
  • Personal injury lawsuits – Formal court cases claiming damages from responsible parties 
  • Settlements – Agreed upon compensation payment if trial is avoided

Get Experienced Legal Help After Any Motor Vehicle Collision

If you or your loved one suffered injuries in a car, truck, or motorcycle crash in New York, the Porter Law Group can help protect your rights. Our attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only get paid if you win your case.

We commit to fully investigating accident details to build your strongest legal claim possible. Our lawyers work aggressively to negotiate with insurance providers or pursue court judgments if warranted to maximize your injury settlement. Contact us at 833-PORTER9 or email for a free consultation to see how we could help

Written By
Michael S. Porter
Personal Injury Attorney
Originally from Upstate New York, Mike built a distinguished legal career after graduating from Harvard University and earning his juris doctor degree from Syracuse University College of Law. He served as a Captain in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, gaining expertise in trial work, and is now a respected trial attorney known for securing multiple million-dollar results for his clients while actively participating in legal organizations across Upstate NY.
Legally Reviewed on January 12, 2024
Eric C. Nordby
Personal Injury Attorney
Eric, with nearly three decades of experience in personal injury litigation, holds a law degree with honors from the University at Buffalo School of Law and a Bachelor's Degree from Cornell University. His extensive career encompasses diverse state and federal cases, resulting in substantial client recoveries, and he actively engages in legal associations while frequently lecturing on legal topics.
This Article Was Professionally Reviewed
This page was Legally Reviewed by Eric C. Nordby on January 12, 2024. Our experts verify everything you read to make sure it's up to date. For information on our content creation and review process read our editorial guidelines. If you notice an error or have any questions about our content please contact us.
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