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What are factors that lead to catastrophic crashes?

Catastrophic crashes

When catastrophic crashes occur on Montana roads, we often hear about it in the news. But rarely do we ever acknowledge that it could happen to us or our loved ones. Catastrophic crashes are far worse than minor fender benders. People who are injured in these types of crashes often don't walk away from them. Some even succumb to their injuries.

Any type of crash can result in serious or fatal injuries, but there are certain factors that increase that likelihood. Here's what you should know.

Speed increases the likelihood of a catastrophic accident

It's simple physics; the faster a driver travels, the more damage will be inflicted when a crash occurs. In addition, speeding drivers lack the control to safely operate a car and the ability to react to obstacles in the road.

In 2019, 57 out of 184 traffic fatalities in Montana were speed-related. Here are some examples of how speed causes severe injuries and deaths:

  • Highway crashes. Montana has a maximum speed limit of 75 mph on its rural freeways, 65 mph on urban freeways, 70 mph on divided roads and 65 mph on undivided roads. This is enough to result in a catastrophic crash, but few drivers actually obey the posted speed limits. We often see drivers barreling down the highway at speeds of 100 mph or greater.
  • Head-on collisions. The combined impact of two cars colliding together in opposite directions makes head-on collisions the most dangerous type of crash. Luckily, head-on collisions are typically rare. They often occur when drivers are inattentive, driving too fast for conditions or driving drowsy.
  • High-speed rear-end collisions. High-speed rear-end collisions often happen when drivers are legally stopped at signalized intersections or in highway traffic jams. Drivers who speed or are inattentive often hit stopped drivers at full speed. The injuries often go beyond whiplash and involve head injuries, broken bones and spinal cord injuries.

Where you get hit increases the likelihood of a severe or fatal injury

The front end of a car offers some degree of protection in a frontal collision by absorbing some of the impact. Unless you have side airbags installed in your car, there's not much protection between you and your door. When a T-bone crash occurs, your car is hit from the side by another driver. These types of crashes often occur at signalized intersections when a driver runs a red light or stop sign and hits a driver who has the right of way. Sometimes, drivers who run through signalized intersections are the ones who get hit.

Another point of contact that often leads to severe injuries or deaths is the front corner (driver or passenger's side) of a car. When this type of collision occurs, the impact just misses the part of the front end that absorbs most of the impact. These are called "corner crashes" and were shown in an ABC News video after several cars failed crash tests in 2012.

"That side of the vehicle that's struck is pushed in towards the occupant and your restraints tend to move out of the way," said Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Contact an experienced Billings attorney if you were hurt in a catastrophic crash

If you or a loved one was injured in a catastrophic crash, you may be dealing with high medical costs and months of physical therapy. Moreover, you may need an operation to recover from a severe injury. Meanwhile, you're unable to work and engage in certain activities for several months. Don't count on the other driver's insurance company to readily compensate you. Montana is an at-fault or "tort" state, which means you must prove that you weren't at fault for your crash.

The legal team at Braukmann Law, PLLC will do that for you. We'll conduct an in-depth investigation into your crash and get to the bottom of what happened. We'll also deal directly with the insurance companies and fight to maximize your compensation. To find out how we can help you, contact us online and set up your free legal consultation.

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