Over 6 million road accidents occur every year in the U.S. While the majority of these incidents are relatively straightforward collisions or fender benders, there are some more unusual accidents that happen on the roads too.
Understanding the risks on the road can help you to avoid accidents and injuries. Furthermore, being aware of the different types of car accident can help you to determine your rights if you are affected by a traffic-related accident.
To ensure you’re fully prepared for anything you may encounter on the road, take a look at these 10 types of uncommon and catastrophic car accidents…
1. Car Fires
Although vehicle fires are relatively rare, they can have devastating consequences. A fuel leak, overheating or faulty electricals can all cause a car fire. If so, an auto accident lawyer may be able to help you make a compensation claim against the vehicle manufacturer or a company that has worked on the vehicle. However, there are other reasons why car fires can occur.
When a car accident or collision occurs, the damage to your vehicle can affect the fuel system. This may result in gas igniting, which then spreads to other parts of the vehicle. This is why it’s essential to move away from your vehicle following a car accident, providing it’s safe to do so.
If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one due to a car fire that was caused by an auto accident, you may be able to take legal action. By determining who was responsible for the incident, a car accident lawyer can help you to make a claim against them.
2. Rollover Car Accidents
When a vehicle flips or rolls, it tends to cause serious injuries to drivers and passengers. Although fewer than 2% of road traffic accidents involve rollovers, they account for around 35% of fatalities on the road. Due to this, a significant number of wrongful death compensation claims arise due to rollover vehicle accidents.
These types of incidents usually occur in one of two ways. Firstly, a vehicle may roll because it becomes unbalanced when the driver loses control, such as taking a corner too fast. Secondly, a major impact could cause the car to flip and roll before landing on its side or roof. In both types of accident, the consequences of a rollover can be serious and catastrophic.
3. Airbag Injuries and Death
Although airbags are designed to protect drivers and passengers in the event of an accident, they can sometimes cause or contribute to injuries. As airbags deploy rapidly, it’s not uncommon for them to cause abrasions or even burns. However, more serious injuries and even death can occur if an airbag is deployed too quickly or with too much force.
In addition to this, faulty crash sensors can cause airbags to deploy at inappropriate times, which contributes to the number of related injuries and fatalities. If the airbag deploys unnecessarily when you are driving, for example, the impact and loss of visibility could easily cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
Alternatively, if an airbag fails to deploy when it should, drivers and passengers could sustain injuries due to being unprotected at the time of an incident. Although it’s relatively rare, if an airbag doesn’t deploy when it should, it can lead to fatalities. In such instances, it’s important to seek advice from a car accident attorney, as it’s likely you’ll be able to take legal action against the person or company responsible for the malfunction.
4. Sinkhole Car Accidents
When cavities form below the ground, it reduces the stability of the roads, highways, and structures above surface level. Even though there may be minimal visible signs of sinkhole being present, the ground above it can give way at any time. This means that anything above the sinkhole at the time of collapse will inevitably be drawn into the sinkhole itself. Sadly, this type of incident typically results in death or catastrophic injuries.
If the ground erodes beneath carriageways, road or car lots, sinkhole car accidents can occur. In addition to sustaining impact injuries, drivers and passengers are at risk of drowning due to the presence of water and liquid within the sinkhole itself.
Due to the risk to life sinkholes present, government bodies and highway maintenance firms are required to undertake rigorous testing and monitoring. If they have failed in their duty and you have lost a loved one due to a sinkhole car accident, you can seek legal assistance to make a wrongful death claim.
5. Car Accidents with Trains
Collisions and accidents typically involve road users, such as car drivers, truck drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. However, there are other types of transport vehicles that can be involved in these incidents.
As many roads intersect with railways, there are times when cars come perilously close to moving trains. While level crossings are designed to prevent collisions, a failed signal or faulty crossing could cause a car and train to collide.
Unfortunately, the results are usually devastating when this type of incident occurs. The sheer weight of a train means the impact is likely to cause death or very serious injury to anyone in or near the car. Furthermore, the impact could cause the train to derail, which is highly likely to cause harm to its driver and passengers.
While many train-related accidents occur on level crossings, these aren’t the only type of car accidents with trains which take place. A considerable number of roads and highways run parallel to railways and a high number of railways bridges run over busy roads. If a train crash or malfunction occurs and a carriage is derailed, it can cause debris to land on the road next to it or beneath it.
If drivers are unable to avoid the sudden debris thrown into their path, the original train accident could lead to subsequent car collisions and injuries. An accident injury lawyer can help survivors to take action against the people responsible for this type of incident, which could help to prevent future tragedies occurring. In addition to this, an auto accident attorney can assist families in taking legal action following a no-fault fatality on the road.
6. Self-Driving Car Accidents
Self-driving vehicles are already being used on the roads, although they are still being trialed in many areas. While many people maintain that self-driving vehicles could reduce the number of car accidents by eradicating driver error, self-driving car accidents have already been reported.
As self-driving vehicles become more prevalent, we can expect to see more accidents and injuries associated with these types of cars, bikes, and trucks. However, the use of tracking and monitoring technology in self-driving cars could make it relatively easy to determine the specific cause of an accident. With this information, auto accident lawyers are able to ascertain who is legally responsible for the incident and begin legal proceedings against them.
7. Tesla’s Electronic Door Issues – One Fatality Reported
One of the most unusual car accidents in recent years occurred in early 2019 when Tesla’s electronic doors were cited as contributing to a catastrophic incident. In the immediate aftermath of an accident, the driver of a Tesla Model S was unable to exit his vehicle and subsequently died in a car fire.
As well as being inoperable from the interior of the vehicle, emergency services were reportedly unable to gain access to the vehicle from the outside. This meant that the driver could not be freed from the vehicle before flames took hold.
Tesla isn’t the only manufacturer to use electronic doors on its vehicles, although they may the most high profile. In some cases, manufacturers design cars so that they lock automatically, as this increases stability in case of an accident. However, it’s vital that doors unlock swiftly following an incident so that everyone inside can exit the vehicle. Indeed, most modern cars have automatic unlock features that deploy following an impact.
In the case of Tesla, however, many vehicles feature flush fitment exterior door handles. This adds a further complication to the issue of safety, as the electrical system must keep working in order to extend the door handles. If this fails to work properly, anyone outside the vehicle is unable to gain access and help the people inside.
Clearly, this kind of catastrophic failure can have traffic consequences. When vehicle design or construction results in accident injury or death, manufacturers should be held responsible. As well as taking action following a wrongful death, injury survivors can make a claim against vehicle manufacturers for the harm they’ve suffered.
8. Objects Falling From Vehicles Causing Car Accidents
In addition to carrying passengers, vehicles can be used to transport a considerable number of objects too. From bags of grocery shopping and vacation suitcases to tons of agricultural equipment and thousands of products; there are a wide variety of things that can fall from vehicles.
When this happens, it’s not unusual for a car accident to occur. If something falls off of the vehicle in front of you, for example, it could hit your vehicle directly and cause you to sustain serious injuries. Alternatively, if an object falls into the road, you may be unable to avoid it. In some cases, a driver will swerve to avoid a falling object only to collide with another, unrelated vehicle.
As the risk of falling objects on the highway is so high, there are strict guidelines regarding maximum load weights for vehicles. In addition to this, all objects being transported are required to be affixed securely to minimize the risk of accidents.
Despite this, a significant number of incidents still occur due to objects falling from vehicles. As a result, auto accident lawyers routinely deal with these types of claims. If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by objects falling from a third-party vehicle or if you’ve lost a loved one due to this type of road traffic incident, a vehicle accident lawyer may be able to help you take action against the person responsible.
9. Trailers Causing Car Accidents
Hitch and towing accidents cause thousands of injuries and fatalities every year, so it’s essential that extra care is taken when a trailer is attached to a vehicle. If a trailer is overloaded, it’s easy for it to topple over and cause a serious multi-vehicle collision. Alternatively, failing to ensure the lights on a trailer are working can mean that other vehicles on the road are unable to predict how the trailer is going to maneuver, which often leads to collisions.
Furthermore, inexperienced or careless drivers may attempt to tow trailers that are too heavy for the towing vehicle. Similarly, weak or faulty towing equipment can cause trailers to become detached on the highway, which can cause cataclysmic accidents.
While trailer accidents are less common than car-on-car collisions, they do tend to cause very serious injuries. If the driver of the towing vehicle is at fault or if the trailer has malfunctioned in some way, those affected by the incident should be able to obtain compensation for the harm they’ve experienced.
10. Tire Debris Causing Car Accidents
Any type of debris on the road can cause an accident but tire debris is particularly dangerous. If a tire becomes detached from a vehicle, for example, it can cause the driver of that vehicle to lose control. In addition, the tire itself can collide with other vehicles on the road and cause severe injuries and fatalities.
If a tire does detach from a vehicle, it may fly into the air and hit other cars at a high speed. The weight of a tire means it can easily break a car window or windshield and cause serious harm to the people inside the vehicle.
Alternatively, tire debris on the carriageway itself can contribute to vehicular accidents. If you collide with tire debris, for example, it could cause your vehicle to veer across the highway and into stationary objects or other road users.
Getting Legal Advice After A Car Accident
Following any type of car accident, it’s important to seek legal advice. By consulting with an auto accident lawyer, you can determine who is legally responsible for the incident. In addition, a car accident lawyer will be able to assist you in making a claim for car accident compensation if someone or something else is responsible for the incident.