Automobiles collide all too often on the U.S. highway system. They occur in a wide variety of scenarios and involve several different aspects in most cases. The term “accident” implies that the collision could not be averted when the drivers were not aware of each other, or someone made a bad driving decision. They can also occur at varying rates of speed, with the more serious collisions typically happening at a higher rate. That does not mean that injury does not occur in a low-speed “fender bender” collision, as whiplash and back injuries can easily be suffered by passengers even at slower speeds. The significant difference tends to be the amount of physical damage done to the vehicles along with severe or fatal injuries. However, there are a few aspects of a collision that can establish a distinct difference between the two.
Level of Intent
The mere term that a highway mishap is an accident infers that the collision could not be averted and no one purposely intended to cause the collision. These types of incidents do occur and are the most common problems. Collisions where no one is injured and the vehicles can be driven away from the scene with only the exchange of names, and insurance information are relatively frequent. These types of collisions should still be reported to local jurisdiction police stations within four days according to Washington state law so an official accident report can be generated. Drivers who are involved in a crash scene that causes personal injury or impedes the highway cannot leave the scene, and those who are mobile should contact emergency services immediately. Police will conduct an investigation concerning what transpired and potential fault for the accident, including if the act was intentional.
Circumstances of the Collision
All accidents are unique in detail, such as specific injury and driver actions while traveling, but certain types of collisions are crashes instead of accidents for the most part. A crash can often involve multiple cars in congested traffic, and the rate of speed is also typically increased as well. These collisions can result in intentional damage, gross negligence by particular drivers, and other issues such as road rage. The circumstances can also impact the availability of compensation for injuries and property damage as well even in pure comparative negligence state like Washington. Drivers who intentionally cause a crash are barred from receiving any financial compensation while other drivers will be discounted by their comparative negligence percentage if a case goes to court.
Number of Vehicles
While most accidents generally involve two vehicles, collisions that include three or more vehicles are usually classified as crashes. This is especially true if the incident involves commercial trucks or larger vehicles such as a motor home. There may be no presence of intentional action by a driver, but the increased speed alone or the gross carelessness of a driver can result in a very serious situation for all passengers. There is often a fine line between a crash and an accident, but certain entanglements while in highway transit can always be considered a crash.
It is important to remember the details of all collisions have a major impact on how personal injuries are compensated, and it is always vital to have an experienced personal injury attorney representing the case for those who are seriously injured and need maximum financial compensation.