Car Accidents

Car Accident Types, Causes, and Legal Implications Explained

Automobile accidents occur on a regular basis everywhere there are cars.  Although they regularly occur, one never knows when a car accident will occur.

Generally, every “accident” is caused due to one or more driver’s failure to abide by the rules of the road.

The “Rules of the Road” always apply

The rules of the road are the same rules students learn in driver’s education courses. These rules are the subject of a written test to get a Learner’s Permit.  The Maryland Driver’s Manual is found here. To obtain a driver’s license, there is also a road test to determine whether you understand and follow the rules of the road.

Most licensed driver know the rules of the road. However, when one decides not to follow the rules of the road, that is when car accidents happen.

In Maryland, the rules of the road are codified in the Transportation Article of the Maryland Code.  These statutes establish the various duties that drivers of automobiles have in certain situations. You can read these statutes in full here.

Following these rules, you will never cause a crash.  If you steadfastly follow the rules of the road, you will significantly decrease your chances of being in a motor vehicle accident. Also, if you practice safe driving you will probably never be sued over a car accident.

Rear end accidents frequently injure drivers

When someone hits the back of your car with the front of their car, this is known as a “rear end” accident, or is also known in the personal injury world as a “rear-ender.”

The cause of a rear-end accident is almost always a driver not paying careful attention while driving.  All it takes is a second or two of not paying attention to slam in to the back of someone’s car.

Texting while driving, or operating a smartphone while driving often deprives a driver’s attention from the road, causing a rear end accident to occur when the vehicle in front has to quickly stop for one reason or another.

Following a car too closely, and not leaving the proper space in front also significantly contributes to causing rear end accidents.

While many drivers who rear end another car own up to their mistake to their insurance company, many drivers don’t

Some driver’s claim that the car they hit in front of them actually backed up into their car, causing the damage. Although this occasionally is actually what happened, this is usually not usually a successful defense to a rear end accident and insurers don’t give it much credence when their customers tell them that.

Other rear end drivers claim that the vehicle they struck made a sudden and unexpected stop.  That might have been a good defense in the time of horses, carriages or steam engines, but it does not hold much weight now.

Cars have brake lights which warn all drivers behind them that they are slowing or stopping.  Drivers behind the slowing or stopping car have an obligation to slow or stop their vehicles without striking the car in front of them.  If they strike the car in front of them, rear ending them, then they were following too closely, or not paying attention.

A rear end accident accident is avoided by leaving plenty of room, and being ready for any car in front of you to come to a complete stop at a moments notice.

Lane change accidents hurt careful motorists

Lane change accidents occur when drivers going the same direction on a roadway with multiple lanes collide into one another.  Typically one driver doesn’t see the other driver before attempting to change lanes and crashes into another car.

Other times, drivers mistakenly think if they turn on their signal and start to move over, all other cars will move out of their way. This sometimes occurs in merge lanes when one car is trying to merge onto a highway and strikes a car that is already on the highway.  The car merging onto a highway generally has to yield to any cars already on the highway.

Lane change accidents are frequently disputed with regard to responsibility.  Many times, both drivers think the other was at fault for one reason or another.  Although many people believe the damage to the car “proves” who was at fault for the crash, it rarely does.

In a lane change case, it is especially important to gather the names of any witnesses to the crash should their testimony be required at a later time.  It is also especially critical to preserve any dash cam video of the car accident.  If you’ve been the victim of a rear end accident, call Benjamin D. Stirling, Esq. at (410) 929-9988 for a free consultation to discuss your case.

Running a red light car accidents and t-bone car accidents are caused by negligence

Traffic signals have a very important role in regulating traffic and promoting safety.  Their sequences are carefully designed by civil engineers to move as many cars as possible through intersections, while at the same time, trying to reduce the amount of car accidents.

An intersection is a dangerous place.  Traffic signals keep cars from hitting one another as they drive over the same road at right angles.  When a driver disobeys a traffic signal it is very dangerous.  It is typically due to impatience of the driver, and lack of regard for fellow motorists.

When someone runs a red light, the ramifications can be tremendous.  Often, drivers run red lights because they don’t want to get stuck at a light.  They see their light turn yellow, so they speed up to make it through the intersection before it fills up with cars going across it.  It’s probably worked for them before without consequences.

But this time, let’s say they’re a little farther back from the light then they were the other times.  And lets say, that there is someone sitting at a red light who is late for an appointment, and that person takes off quickly once his light turns green.  That is how you have have a horrible T-bone car accident crash due to someone running a red light.

The injuries sustained are often debilitating and permanent, or worse.  Many times, the driver’s door is directly struck by the front end of a red light runner, causing serious injuries. Below is a photo from an injury case which was settled for more than three times the pre-litigation offer after filing suit in Baltimore City:

Steps to prevent avoid red light car accidents and what to do if you’re in one

Drivers should remember to always slowly enter an intersection that has just turned green. Also, drivers should try to look both ways as much as possible before entering the intersection if possible to ensure that there is no speeding red light runner approaching.

If you’ve been in an accident due to a driver running a red light, do your best to get any witnesses’ names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses before leaving the scene, if possible.  Often times, the people that run red lights will simply tell their insurance company they had a green light, so the more proof that your light was the color you said it was, the better.

Obviously a dash cam is the ultimate proof in a case such as this, and careful drivers should make sure to have one running at all times!

Driver making a left turn from the opposite direction car accidents injure many safe motorists

A fundamental rule of the road is that you always need to yield the right of way to cars traveling in the lanes going the opposite direction if you intend to make a left turn across their lanes to get to your destination.

Some roads are extremely busy, and impatient drivers dangerously cut across oncoming traffic to make their left turns.  If they misjudge the timing of their risky left turn, there will be a serious car accident.  These left turn car accidents often involve severe impacts between vehicles and upon the human bodies inside them, regularly causing serious injuries.

Sometimes these dangerous left turn car accident drivers claim they had a green arrow giving them the right of way.  Sometimes this is claimed, even when there is not even a green arrow at that intersection. These crashes often times involve multiple vehicles, so make sure to get witness information and preserve your dash cam footage.


Although every car accident is unique, patterns do occur. This is not an exhaustive list of all types of car accidents, and every factual situation concerning an auto accident deserves in-depth consideration and legal analysis.

If you’ve been in a car accident recently and would like a free consultation, please contact Benjamin D. Stirling, Esq. at (410) 929-9988 to discuss your rights.