Intersection Accidents

The Federal Highway Administration reports approximately 2.5 Million intersection accidents each year. In fact, 40% of all collisions between motor vehicles involve intersections, making them the second most common type of crash after rear-end collisions. 50% of serious injuries and 20% of fatalities occur because of intersection crashes. What’s more, approximately 165,000 intersection crashes occur because of red light runners.

In general, these collisions are due to the very nature of intersections which is the location where two or more roads come together. The actions of drivers, including left turns, right turns and disregard for traffic lights or stop signs controlling direction of travel through an intersection creates a greater opportunity for collisions.

The most common cause of intersection collisions is inadequate driver “surveillance.” This means a driver traveling through an intersection is simply not paying enough attention. In Pennsylvania, a driver traveling through an intersection must exercise reasonable care when traveling through an intersection, even if they have an uncontrolled right-of-way and a driver must “see what is there to be seen.” Claims that a driver did not see the other vehicle until the moment of impact or that the other driver “came out of nowhere” are not excuses that will exonerate the offending driver from a finding of negligence.

Other common causes of intersection collisions are speeding, turning with an obstructed view, incorrect assumptions about the other driver’s intentions, an illegal maneuver such as a U-Turn or other distractions such as use of cellular phones or GPS devices. Occasionally, an intersection collision is caused by broken traffic control devices, in which case the local municipality may be held responsible.

The most common places that one vehicle strikes another vehicle are:

  • the front fender
  • Front or rear doors, or
  • the rear fender

The location of the impact may enable us to determine the fault of the other driver who should have had a clear view of the struck vehicle before impact.

While intersections controlled by stop signs are usually easier to determine the at fault driver, it is intersections controlled by traffic lights that prove a more difficult scenario. Typically, in those crashes, each driver will claim that they “had the green light.” Without independent eyewitnesses, it is more difficult to prove fault.

Serious injuries and fatalities often result from intersection collisions. When the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another vehicle, which provides the least protection to occupants unlike the front or rear which can crumble and absorb crash energy, the results can be catastrophic. If an impact occurs near a door, the occupant inside can be struck with incredible force and sustain blunt force trauma and crushing injuries.

Other frequently seen injuries in intersection crashes include lacerations from flying glass of side windows shattering on impact, head and brain injuries from striking interior parts of the vehicle or windows, paralysis, fractures, neck and back injuries and shoulder injuries from the sideways forces of the impact.

Experience intersection collision attorneys are familiar with the countless excuses offered by drivers who cause these crashes. We know how to investigate and disprove these claims by those who fail to accept responsibility. Experienced attorneys will look at traffic light patterns maintained by the local municipality and carefully question the drivers to determine which version of the collision is more credible. Often, accident reconstructionists are consulted to help prove the fault of the other driver. However, it is recommended that you immediately contact us following an intersection collision so that we can begin to investigate the facts soon after the crash. We will seek out any eyewitnesses and evaluate any physical evidence found at the scene and examine the vehicles to determine impact location. Because these types of collisions are more difficult to prove, the other driver’s insurance company will use that as a sword to try to minimize your recovery. We will fight the insurance company every step of the way to ensure that you recover proper compensation for your injuries.