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What are the 3 Types of Collisions That Occur in a Car Crash? - The 3 Collision Rule in Car Accidents

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The 3 Collision Rule in Car Accidents

The 3 Collision Rule in Car Accidents

Sep 30, 2021

Car accidents can involve various types of scenarios resulting in injuries. From hit-and-runs to rear-end collisions to multi-car crashes and rolloversmotor vehicle accidents can occur in any number of ways. If you’re injured in a car accident, the first thing that comes to mind is likely not Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of motion.

However, those three distinct laws actually play a significant role in the science of what is known as motor vehicle collision theory. According to Newton’s three laws of motion:

  1. An object at rest remains at rest, and an object in motion remains in motion at constant speed and in a straight line unless acted on by an unbalanced force.
  2. The acceleration of an object depends on the mass of the object and the amount of force applied.
  3. Whenever one object exerts a force on another object, the second object exerts an equal and opposite on the first.

Although you may not realize it, these three laws actually play a role in how a car accident impacts each involved object (including the car itself). The driver, the passengers, the physical objects inside, the vehicle itself, and even the internal organs of those involved in a car accident are all affected according to Newton’s laws of motion. As a result, whenever a car accident occurs there are actually three different types of collisions that happen.

Each and every car accident can actually be multiplied by three – as there are three distinct types of collisions that occur within every vehicle. This is commonly referred to as the ‘three collision rule,’ and although it might be a term you’ve heard in the past, it’s commonly misunderstood.

Let’s take a look at what those three types of collisions entail, review what sorts of injuries can occur as a result, and then discuss how to file a personal injury claim with Dordulian Law Group in pursuit of maximum financial compensation for your car accident injury.

What are the Three Types of Collisions That Occur in a Car Accident?

You might be wondering how (or why) to “multiply” each car accident by three. Essentially, this comes down to what’s known as kinetic energy – the energy that is built up in a moving object. When a car accident occurs, one car’s kinetic energy will suddenly transfer to the opposing vehicle or object it strikes. Moreover, every object within that vehicle will also transfer its kinetic energy to the opposing object it strikes. This explains how the three distinct types of accidents occur – as the three potential objects (vehicle, human, internal) involved must transfer their kinetic energy through the force of the crash.

Let’s look at the three types of collisions which occur in every car accident in more detail.

Type One: Vehicular Collision

Type One: Vehicular Collision
A vehicular collision is simply one where a vehicle strikes another object. In most cases, this involves one car striking another car in a traditional motor vehicle accident. However, it could also entail a vehicle striking a tree, an animal, a pedestrian, or a piece of property. At the point of impact, the vehicle suddenly decelerates as a result of the force of the collision (according to Newton’s Second Law – that the greater the mass of the object being accelerated, the greater the amount of force needed to accelerate the object). In other words, as a vehicle’s weight increases, so does the force of the crash. Additionally, depending on the speed of the crash, the force will likely cause part of the vehicle’s physical frame to be crushed.

Today’s cars are equipped with airbags, reinforced structures, and other safety features designed to help absorb the kinetic energy sustained as a result of a motor vehicle collision. That said, the human body doesn’t have such advanced protections, and is therefore vulnerable to a variety of injuries (which we’ll discuss in greater detail below).

Type Two: Human Collision

Type Two: Human Collision
The term ‘human collision’ refers to the effect on the occupants inside a vehicle (specifically moving in the same direction and the same speed as the car until contact is made which stops the forward motion). This highlights the importance of seatbelts, as a driver or passenger without a proper restraint will not stop traveling in forward motion until meeting the force of another object (e.g. a steering wheel, windshield, etc.).

While the vehicle’s kinetic energy is diminished through the first type of collision (vehicular), the human body will continue traveling within the vehicle at the same speed and direction as the car until an object causes that forward motion to stop (e.g. a seatbelt/airbag).

In addition to potentially sustaining an injury as a result of striking an object directly, drivers and passengers are at risk of sustaining an injury from a physical item within the vehicle. During a human collision, any physical possession like a phone, camera, water bottle, etc. will continue traveling at the same speed and direction as the vehicle until another object stops that forward motion. In many cases, the driver or passengers are that very object – meaning your cell phone may use your body as a sort of crash pad under Newton’s laws of motion.

Type Three: Internal Collision

Type Three: Internal Collision
Car accident injuries aren’t always physically discernable. In many cases, internal organ injuries can occur as a result of a high-speed or other severe type of car crash. Just like the vehicle and physical objects within it will continue traveling in motion after a crash, so do the internal organs of the driver/passengers. That’s why the third type of collision is known as the internal collision – referring to the internal organs that are still moving in the midst of a car accident.

Even after the body comes to a complete stop, this third type of collision is still in progress. The internal organs keep on moving after the body has officially stopped its forward motion. As a result, the internal organs may not stop moving forward until striking other organs or perhaps even the skeletal system. This is, unfortunately, how a number of serious injuries occur as a result of car accidents.

Given the potential for internal injuries, car accident victims are strongly encouraged to seek medical attention immediately following a crash – even if you feel okay and do not have any visible trauma. For more information, please visit our recent blog on the Top 10 Steps to Take After a Car Accident.

What Types of Injuries Can Occur From the Three Types of Crashes?

Car accident injuries can vary dramatically from person-to-person and crash-to-crash. Let’s review some of the most common injuries resulting from the three types of crashes discussed above.

Vehicle Collision Injuries

  • Back injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Spinal injuries
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Concussion (MTBI)

Human Collision Injuries

  • Facial lacerations
  • Contusions
  • Bruising
  • Collarbone injuries
  • Lower extremity injuries

Internal Collision Injuries

  • Internal bleeding
  • Organ injury
  • Organ failure
  • Broken ribs
  • Ruptured spleen
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal aorta aneurysm

Of course, some injuries within one of the above mentioned categories may actually be sustained by a driver or passenger during a differing type of collision. But these are the most common injuries reported after the three distinct types of motor vehicle crashes under Newton’s laws of motion.

What Types of Damages are Recoverable After a Car Accident?

If you’re injured in a car accident as a result of another’s negligence or carelessness, you shouldn’t be responsible for covering the ensuing financial losses – many of which can be substantial. At Dordulian Law Group (DLG), our experienced team of car accident attorneys will fight to help you recover all applicable damages as a result of your collision. This includes both economic and non-economic damages – the latter of which typically requires a skilled and experienced attorney like Sam Dordulian in order for recovery to be successful.

Some of the most common types of damages recoverable after a car accident include:

Economic Damages

  • Hospital or medical expenses
  • Physical therapy costs
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Property damage

Non-Economic Damages

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Psychological distress

Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.

DLG: California’s Best Car Accident Lawyers

DLG was founded by former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Sam Dordulian. With over 100 jury trial victories and a 98% success record, Dordulian offers car accident victims a level of experience that simply can’t be found at most other firms.

Injured car accident victims throughout California consistently choose DLG due to our experience and proven results. With DLG, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your claim is in the best and most experienced hands available:

  • More than $100,000,000 successfully recovered in settlements and verdicts
  • Over 25 years of experience
  • A 98% success record
  • Former Deputy District Attorney for L.A. County
  • More than 100 jury trial victories
  • In-house Chief Investigator/retired LAPD detective
  • Former auto insurance defense attorneys fighting for you

Contact us today online or by phone at 818-322-4056 for a free and no obligation consultation. We’ll review the facts of your car accident case, launch a thorough investigation led by our in-house Chief Investigator and retired LAPD Central Traffic Division detective, Moses Castillo, and develop an aggressive but precise legal strategy in pursuit of maximum financial compensation for your injuries.

With our No Win/No Fee Guarantee, you never have to worry about whether or not you can afford the absolute best legal representation available. There are no upfront costs or out-of-pocket expenses, and you don’t pay a penny until we successfully recover a maximum financial damages award for your car accident injury.

Suffering a car accident injury can lead to years of chronic pain and medical expenses. Choosing the right attorney can help ensure you make a complete recovery – physically, emotionally, and financially. That’s why you need a skilled, trusted, and proven car accident lawyer like Sam Dordulian to help ensure you recover all applicable financial compensation needed to make that full recovery.

Don’t settle for an inexperienced or unproven firm that could put your car accident claim in jeopardy and leave you with mounting expenses – medical bills, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, etc. Choose the experts at DLG who have the experience and proven results you deserve, allowing you to focus on what’s most important – your physical recovery and overall well-being. Let us handle the stressful details and fight to recover you a maximum financial damages award while you focus on getting back on your feet and making a fresh start.

For a car accident injury, the best call you can make is to the experienced lawyers at DLG.


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