Intersection Accidents and Injuries

Intersections are common accident sites, as high volumes of traffic bottleneck through them. Many fatal or injury-causing accidents happen at hectic intersections.

Because of their frequency, many insurance claims and lawsuits focus on intersection accidents. When an accident happens, you must allow a car accident lawyer to diagnose liability, evaluate your damages, and fight for a fair financial recovery.

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Why Intersection Accidents Happen

Intersections involve many different accident threats present all at once.

A nearly endless list of hazards and driver actions can cause an intersection accident, including:

Intersection Accidents and Injuries

  • Drunk driving: Drunk drivers are dangerous on any road, including those that lead to intersections. A drunk driver may not comprehend the various movements and signals at an intersection and may cause an accident.
  • Running traffic signals: Any motorist who runs a red light, turns dangerously without having the green arrow, or disregards any other traffic signal at an intersection is likely liable for a resulting collision.
  • Turning into oncoming traffic: Those who turn at an intersection without checking for oncoming traffic may cause a collision, especially if they do not have the right of way.
  • Vehicles that lack safety-related features: For example, if a vehicle does not have two functional rearview mirrors, someone may merge dangerously and cause an accident at an intersection.
  • Defective traffic signals: Broken traffic lights endanger any motorist or pedestrian who must proceed through an intersection. Additionally, flashing yellow or flashing red traffic signals at an intersection that should have traditional traffic lights pose an accident risk.
  • Failing to yield the right of way: Intersections often require motorists to yield the right of way, such as when you turn left on a green light. Motorists who fail to properly analyze the right of way, or do not yield the right of way, can cause serious accidents.
  • Speeding: Motorists who speed through an intersection may face a higher risk of running a red light, striking a vehicle turning into the intersection, striking a pedestrian, rear-ending a vehicle that stops for a red light, or losing control of the vehicle. Speeding kills more than 12,000 people annually, and statistics indicate that many fatal speeding-related accidents occur at intersections.
  • Vehicle-related hazards: A defective motor vehicle (such as one with tires low on air or worn-out brakes) may cause an intersection accident.

These are just a few of the most common reasons for intersection accidents. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in this type of collision, an attorney can fight for your financial recovery.

You must have a legal professional assess what happened and determine the cause of your accident. The question of who is at fault for your accident will determine how you file an insurance claim and who you seek compensation from.

Conditions That May Make an Intersection Unusually Dangerous

Not all intersections are the same, and some are significantly more dangerous than others.

An intersection may pose an abnormally high accident risk if:

  • It has a high traffic volume: Intersections that many motorists use may have more total accidents than less busy intersections. This may merely be a numbers game—the more vehicles that pass through, the more statistically likely an accident becomes. However, busy intersections may also cause frustration for drivers, making them more likely to rush or make dangerous driving decisions.
  • Many pedestrians frequent the intersection: Intersections, where motorists and pedestrians interact closely and frequently, may pose a high risk of vehicle-on-pedestrian collisions. This accident type can be especially serious, as pedestrians have little physical protection from larger, heavier motor vehicles.
  • It has blindspots: Intersections with visual obstructions, such as hedges, awkward traffic signals, or trees, may be notorious for being accident sites. A municipality must take all necessary action to remove visual hazards and reduce the risk of intersection accidents.
  • It has confusing signals: If an intersection’s traffic signals are unclear, outdated, inappropriate, or otherwise hazardous, the defective signals pose an unacceptable risk of contributing to accidents.
  • It has poor lighting: Poorly lit intersections can endanger motorists and pedestrians, especially at night.

Someone (or some institution) can prevent or fix each of these hazards. A municipality can remove visual obstructions and update traffic signals. A motorist can exercise patience and caution at a high-volume intersection. Pedestrians can do the same.

When an intersection accident happens, one of the first priorities is identifying the cause and establishing liability.

Who Is Liable for an Intersection Accident?

Your lawyer can diagnose liability for your accident once they’ve gathered all relevant facts and evidence.

Potentially liable parties include:

  • Motorists, whose negligence is the most common cause of intersection accidents (and traffic accidents in general)
  • Municipalities, who may be responsible for defective traffic signals and certain other hazards present at an intersection
  • Motor vehicle manufacturers and sellers, who may be liable if a defective vehicle leads to an intersection collision
  • Pedestrians, who may cause an intersection accident by entering traffic when they should not

Car accident lawyers make no assumptions about liability. Instead, they gather and review evidence and make a factual determination about who caused the accident. This is the approach your own lawyer should take, too.

Injuries That Can Result From Intersection Accidents

There are no injuries specifically associated with intersection accidents. There are, however, injuries common among auto accident victims, which include:

Whiplash

Whiplash happens when someone’s neck and head move rapidly back and forth in a whip-like motion. Though many associate whiplash with rear-end accidents, it may also result from other accidents.

Whiplash symptoms may not appear just after your accident, so seek out a medical provider as soon as possible.

Broken Bones

Broken bones can cause immense immediate pain and may result in lingering symptoms if broken bones do not heal properly.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Brain injuries are especially serious, as your brain plays a vital role in your bodily function and daily life. Some traumatic brain injuries never heal.

Your attorney may work with neurological specialists to diagnose brain injuries, develop a treatment plan, and determine the cost of necessary treatment for your brain injury.

Injuries That Affect Your Outward Appearance

Some accident-related injuries can affect your appearance, causing pain and potentially affecting your self-esteem and identity.

Such injuries include:

  • Cuts (including severe lacerations)
  • Burns
  • Severe scrapes
  • Amputation injuries
  • Eye injuries
  • Severely broken bones

Injuries that have a visual effect can cause immense pain and suffering. Your lawyer will consider the pain and suffering such injuries have caused you. They will also determine the cost of any procedures you will undergo to restore your pre-accident appearance.

Spinal Cord Injuries and Other Back Injuries

Broken vertebrae, sprains, herniated or bulging discs, and other back injuries can be immensely painful. A spinal cord injury may paralyze you, resulting in millions of dollars in lifelong care costs.

Other Damages That an Intersection Accident Victim May Suffer

Any injury from an intersection accident can cause both economic and non-economic damages, including:

  • Medical expenses: Your attorney will tally your accident-related medical expenses. The type and severity of your injuries will determine the cost of your intersection accident case.
  • Pain and suffering: Accident victims who experience lasting physical pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, or other forms of pain and suffering can seek compensation for these damages. Your lawyer will also consider the cost of any treatment you seek for these damages.
  • Property expenses: If an intersection accident caused damage to your vehicle, phone, clothing, or other property, your lawyer will include these property costs as they calculate a settlement target.
  • Lost income: Injuries may cause you to lose your income, whether you earn a salary or hourly wages. In addition to basic income, you may lose the opportunity to earn performance bonuses and promotions.
  • Diminished earning power: If you can eventually return to work, you may only earn a percentage of the amount you earned pre-accident. Disabling injuries may prevent you from working full-time hours or may cause you to change careers.

Your attorney will evaluate your damages one by one. Before entering settlement negotiations, your attorney will have a detailed record of your damages and their values.

Damages in a Fatal Intersection Accident Case

Thousands of intersection accidents each year are fatal. When a collision tragically claims one or more victims’ lives, the victim’s loved ones may take legal action against liable parties.

A wrongful death lawsuit may provide compensation for:

  • Your pain and suffering, including grief
  • Any pain and suffering the decedent experienced before passing away
  • The loss of a spouse’s companionship, comfort, and intimacy
  • The loss of a parent’s guidance and support
  • The loss of the decedent’s contributions to their household
  • The loss of the decedent’s income, which their household may rely upon
  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical bills for end-of-life care and other post-accident medical treatment

The legal process is the last thing you want to focus on after a wrongful death. An attorney can lead a lawsuit—a necessary step to obtain justice and restore the damages you’ve suffered—while you focus on your mental health and loved ones.

What Should a Victim Do After an Intersection Accident?

Every intersection accident victim should take measures to protect their health and any financial recovery they plan to pursue.

Protect your health by:

  1. Accepting or seeking medical treatment, which may mean going to the doctor now that you’ve (likely) left the accident scene
  2. Asking the in-charge medical professional to provide a written, detailed diagnosis of your injuries
  3. Obtaining a copy of any diagnoses, bills, and other medical documentation related to your accident-related injuries

If you take these steps, you add value to any case your lawyer will make. Your lawyer will use documentation of your injuries, symptoms, and medical treatment, and you can hand this documentation over when your lawyer takes over your case.

Take Steps to Protect Your Financial Recovery

To obtain a financial recovery, you must think proactively.

Protect any potential financial recovery by:

  • Hiring an attorney as soon as possible, as they’ll take over the insurance process and start legal proceedings if necessary
  • Refusing to provide on-the-record statements to insurers until you’ve retained an attorney
  • Documenting the physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms of accident-related injuries
  • Refraining from engaging in any strenuous activity, as insurers or other liable parties may use this to claim you aren’t as injured as you claim

Hire an attorney to shepherd you through the process ahead, protecting your rights and allowing you to focus on your health.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Will Fight for Your Financial Recovery

Car accident lawyers take on several roles for their clients, from advisor to negotiator to litigator when necessary.

Your attorney will:

  • Lead all case-relate communications, including those with insurance companies
  • Secure evidence from your accident as quickly as possible
  • Document your accident-related damages, including future damages
  • Calculate a fair settlement value
  • Negotiate a settlement with liable insurers (or other liable parties)
  • Complete any necessary trial

Once you hire a lawyer to lead your intersection accident case, you can return your attention to your health and daily life. Your attorney or their legal team will contact you if they need you to do anything.

Hire an Auto Accident Lawyer Before Your Case’s Filing Deadline Expires

Tatiana Boohoff, Seattle Car Accident Lawyer
Tatiana Boohoff, Car Accident Lawyer in Seattle

Most intersection accident cases come with strict filing deadlines. If you don’t allow your attorney enough time to file your case, you may forfeit your right to pursue financial recovery. This can leave you financially devastated, as it may force you to accept a lowball settlement or bear all accident-related costs on your own.

Consulting a personal injury attorney costs nothing, and there is no obligation to hire the firm following your meeting. You can learn about your rights and promptly begin the legal process soon after you consult the right law firm.

September 11, 2023
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