Car accidents can occur anytime on the road, especially at busy or confusing intersections. Intersection accidents are a common type of collision that have several possible causes and many damaging outcomes. Getting into an accident at an intersection could have long-term physical, financial, and legal ramifications.
In this article, our Sadaka Law team discusses the most common causes of intersection accidents, types of intersection accidents, how much compensation you could expect to receive if you suffer injuries in an intersection collision, and more. We also cover what you should do immediately after an auto accident.
What Are Common Causes of Intersection Accidents in New Jersey?
Many factors can lead to an intersection accident. By themselves, they often contribute to reckless driving and putting everyone on the road at risk. Combined, they make up the primary causes of vehicle collisions at intersections.
Inattention and Improper Observation
Most accidents happen because drivers don’t properly observe their surroundings. When you get to an intersection, you must note who has the right of way, which direction cars are going, and any other factors (such as pedestrians trying to cross). Ignoring traffic could make you responsible for a wreck.
Incorrect assumptions are among the most common causes of intersection accidents. You must never assume that other drivers won’t make mistakes or will act correctly at confusing intersections. For example, don’t assume that everyone understands you have the right of way if you approach a four-way stop first.
Other assumptions may involve judging the speed of other vehicles. Many intersection accidents occur because drivers don’t give enough space and can’t stop in time, or they incorrectly assume that the car ahead of them will go when it’s their turn.
Distracted drivers are dangerous drivers—they can’t react to situations quickly or pay full attention to what’s going on around them. Internal distractions come from inside your vehicle, affecting how you drive. These distractions include:
- Texting, emailing, or phone calling
- Adjusting the radio or thermostat
- Eating and drinking while driving
- Talking to passengers in your car about non-driving-related topics
- Reaching for items in the backseat
Another common cause of intersection accidents is illegal driving. If you don’t operate your vehicle with the necessary knowledge and skill, you risk the safety of everyone in the intersection. Examples of illegal maneuvers include:
- Running a stop sign
- Making an illegal U-turn
- Using the wrong lane to turn
- Failing to yield
Types of Intersection Accidents
Intersection accidents may take several forms, depending on who is at the intersection and which direction drivers are going. The most common types of collisions at intersections include:
- T-bone accidents. This type of accident occurs when one vehicle smashes into the side of another vehicle, creating a T-shaped collision. T-boning can severely injure drivers, front-seat passengers, and passengers in the rear seats.
- Pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians are sometimes victims of an intersection collision. Unfortunately, drivers may pay attention to other cars but not to individuals trying to cross the street. Pedestrian accidents are often fatal.
- Bicycle accidents. An accident involving a bicyclist may be due to inadequate or no bike lanes, poor road conditions, or improper lighting at night. Drivers may also fail to yield the right-of-way to cyclists, or bikers may incorrectly assume they don’t have to abide by New Jersey roadway laws.
- Rear-end accidents: If someone tailgates you and you suddenly stop at an intersection, it could cause them to hit your rear bumper. Rear-end accidents are inconvenient to everyone on the road and can result in whiplash or other injuries.
- Head-on accidents. Head-on collisions often occur when someone tries to make an illegal left turn and smashes into an opposing vehicle’s front bumper. Depending on the speed, head-on accidents can be fatal.
Why Intersections Are Dangerous
When driving, it’s easy to think that intersections are some of the safest places on the road. After all, traffic lights and stop signs supposedly control them. But appearances can be deceiving—intersections can be hazardous if drivers don’t pay attention and follow state laws.
Not all intersections are the same, and some are more dangerous than others. The most common types of intersection include:
- Controlled: An intersection with a stop sign or traffic light to indicate who has the right of way and when.
- Uncontrolled: An intersection with no working traffic lights or stop signs but typically one with a “Reduce Speed Ahead” sign, a blinking yellow light, or other warning signage.
- Blind: An intersection with limited visibility due to large trees, natural structures, buildings, or parked vehicles.
- Traffic Circles: An uncontrolled, circular intersection where traffic flows freely without needing to stop, but drivers must yield to those already in the roundabout or traffic circle before entering.
Accidents constantly happen at controlled, uncontrolled, blind, and traffic circle intersections. Certain intersections in New Jersey are particularly dangerous. Some of the state’s most accident-prone intersections include:
- Spring Street and East Jersey Street in Elizabeth (12th most hazardous U.S. intersection)
- Paulus Boulevard and State Route 18 in New Brunswick (number one most accident-prone intersection in the city)
- State Route 4 and Interstate 95 in Fort Lee (one of the most congested intersections in the nation)
Who Is at Fault in an Intersection Accident?
Determining the at-fault party in an intersection accident can be challenging. You should always obey the rules of the road and pay attention to your surroundings to avoid causing a wreck. If you do any of the following, you could be responsible for personal injuries and property damage during an accident claim:
- Proceeding into the intersection out of turn
- Failing to stop for a stop sign
- Turning left without a green arrow
- Driving too fast through a blind intersection
What Injuries Can You Sustain From an Intersection Accident?
When you’re involved in an intersection accident, your vehicle isn’t the only thing that could face damage. You could suffer severe injuries that have life-altering, long-term effects on you and your loved ones. Common injuries related to car accidents include:
- Head and neck injuries
- Back, neck, and spinal injuries
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
What To Do After an Intersection Accident
Acting decisively after an intersection accident can save lives and minimize legal complications in the future. If you get into a collision, we recommend taking these steps:
- Seek immediate medical help if anyone is hurt.
- Call local law enforcement to investigate and file a report.
- Collect names and contact info from all parties involved.
- Record details of the accident scene.
- Contact an experienced intersection accident attorney.
Contacting your insurance company before talking with your lawyer could complicate matters and lead to worse legal fallout. An attorney specializing in intersection accidents can help you build your case and pursue fair compensation. The future can be stressful, but you don’t have to face it alone.
How much compensation can you expect from an intersection crash injury? It depends on the type of injury, its severity, and how it impacts your life. Some victims receive tens of thousands of dollars to help cover personal injuries and damages.
Injured in an Intersection Accident? Contact Our Team at Sadaka Law
Getting into an intersection accident can be scary, and knowing how to proceed can prove challenging. You can drive safely and avoid collisions by obeying roadway laws and paying attention while behind the wheel. You’ll also be more likely to receive compensation due to accident-related damages.
Have you been involved in an intersection accident and need legal guidance? At Sadaka Law, we’ve successfully helped clients in New Jersey file a claim and pursue compensation. Give us a call at (800) 810-3457 to set up an initial consultation.