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Most Common Types of Car Accidents in Minnesota

Every year, tens of thousands of people are involved in car accidents across the state of Minnesota. In 2021, at least 63,751 auto accidents were reported statewide. While no two accidents are identical, they can share similarities, including the way the crash is categorized.

These are the most common types of car accident categories seen in Minnesota.

Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end car accidents occur when one car strikes the back of another vehicle in front of it. These are incredibly common, accounting for about 29 percent of all auto collisions. That’s about 1.7 million rear-end collisions every year.

Though they are often considered minor fender benders, they can cause serious and potentially fatal injuries. Whiplash and other back and neck injuries are among the most commonly cited rear-end car accident injuries.

Head-on Collisions

An accident is classified as “head-on” when the fronts of two vehicles collide. Also known as frontal impact crashes, they account for about 2 percent of all car accidents annually. However, they are the most dangerous, accounting for 58 percent of car accident fatalities.

Head-on collisions can happen when a motorist drives the wrong way down a one-way street, enters an opposing lane of traffic while navigating a curve in the road, or attempts to pass a slower-moving vehicle. Drunk, distracted, or fatigued drivers are more likely to lose control of their vehicles and potentially hit another vehicle head-on.

T-Bone Collisions

A T-Bone collision occurs when one vehicle broadsides another. The front of one car drives directly into the side of a different vehicle. In some cases, this can cause the struck vehicle to roll over or spin.

Often, T-bone accidents happen when a distracted driver runs a red light and strikes a vehicle moving through the intersection. T-bone and other side-impact collisions accounted for about 23 percent of car accident fatalities in 2020.

Single-Vehicle Collisions

Not all car accidents involve multiple vehicles. Every year, thousands of car accidents happen when a vehicle strikes a fixed object. Single-vehicle accidents happen when cars strike traffic poles, trees, guard rails, or drive off embankments. In 2020, there were 21,199 fatal single-vehicle accidents reported nationwide, accounting for about 55 percent of all traffic accident fatalities.

Multivehicle Collisions

Multivehicle collisions, or chain-reaction accidents, occur when three or more cars are involved in a wreck. Typically, one vehicle rear-ends another, which sets off a chain reaction of rear-end accidents.

However, not all multivehicle collisions involve rear-end crashes. Any type of initial wreck can cause a multivehicle accident. Most chain-reaction car accidents happen at intersections, in parking lots, and on interstates.


Rollovers occur when a vehicle’s tires leave the ground, causing it to tip onto its side or roof. In some cases, a vehicle can do a 360 and roll over completely, landing back on its tires. Annually, only about 3 percent of car accidents are rollovers, but these crashes account for about 30 percent of car accident fatalities.

While most rollovers involve SUVs and light trucks, any vehicle can potentially roll over. Some common causes of rollovers include making sharp turns at high speeds and collisions.

Merging Car Accidents

Failing to yield the right of way is a leading cause of avoidable car crashes. Many of these accidents happen when vehicles are merging. Merging accidents can happen when motorists cut off other vehicles in traffic, fail to use the zipper method of merging, fail to signal while merging, or refuse to let other vehicles merge into traffic.

Most merging accidents happen when vehicles enter or exit interstates but can also occur when vehicles attempt to enter roadways from parking lots or driveways.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer at Milavetz Law P.A. Today

No two car accidents are the same. If you were involved in a wreck, working with an attorney that has extensive experience handling different types of car accident cases is critical.

At Milavetz Law P.A., we have represented clients in all types of car accident cases since 1963. We have seen how the unique circumstances of each crash can impact our clients and their personal injury claims. We rely on these experiences and the insight we have gained to achieve favorable results for our clients.

Contact our car accident attorneys at one of our 12 law offices located across the state. We offer a free consultation, so call to get started on your car accident case today.

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305 North 5th Avenue, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 339-0140

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Content Reviewed by:

Alan Scott Milavetz