Kentucky Law Blog

Mark’s Notes on Legal Topics of Interest

Types and causes of accidents and motor vehicle injury

Some people behind the wheel of a car do not worry about an accident; perhaps they have unusual confidence in their driving skills. The truth, however, is that nearly all people traveling on America’s highways and roads are vulnerable to a motor vehicle accident and injury.

No matter how carefully a person drives or meticulously obeys traffic laws, innocent drivers and passengers receive injuries and sustain property damage each day in motor vehicle crashes. Even a good driver cannot always avoid the consequences of another driver’s bad decisions. In addition to potential hazards caused by other motorists on the road, drivers can encounter adverse weather conditions such as a sudden storm that turns traffic lanes into ice-skating ribbons. 

Does Kentucky collect vehicle crash data? 
The transportation department of Kentucky maintains a data repository of motor vehicle accidents collected from statewide incidents in a number of areas and publishes an annual Kentucky Traffic Collision Fact Book. From the most recent publication, issued for 2017, crash data represents an estimated 138,987 motor vehicle accidents that include 934 fatalities.

Data analysts collected information about the primary causes of accidents:
• Driver inattention/distraction/cellphone use = 60,457 (153 deaths)
• Speed/unsafe speed for conditions/reckless driving = 24,762 (297 deaths)
• Ignoring traffic control or rules/yield failure/tailgating = 40,907 (150 deaths)
• Improper passing/overcorrecting/weaving = 4,633 (136 deaths)
• Fatigue/unconsciousness/illness/emotional instability = 2,685 (35 deaths)
• Alcohol impairment/substance abuse = 5,543 (163 deaths)

Investigators are sometimes unable to determine the cause of an accident. A police officer may accuse a person of driving a vehicle “not under control” in this case; police may issue this charge—also called reckless driving—most often in conjunction with single-car accidents.

What are some primary motor vehicle injuries?
There are multitudes of injury types possible in a motor vehicle accident, ranging from mild to severe; those with moderate injuries can sometimes develop life-long disabilities or suffer fatalities when the person does not realize the full extent of an injury. Adrenaline can mask pain. Unseen injuries, such as a brain hemorrhage or internal bleeding can slowly build up to become life-threatening conditions. Injury categories can include burns, brain and head trauma, neck and spine damage, broken bones, and severe soft tissue damage such as large contusions or deep lacerations.

Are there accident compensation rights for victims? 
People in accidents—whether drivers or passengers—may experience confusion, injury or require emergency medical attention and long-term treatment. Accident victims need to understand their right to seek compensation for possible damage, including lost wages, property loss, pain and suffering, and medical expenses caused by a motor vehicle accident. Family members can step in and get help for injured accident victims who cannot advocate for themselves.

On behalf of Mark Knight Attorney at Law