In part one of our two-part motor vehicle accident glossary, we set out definitions for common motor vehicle accident and insurance-related terminology. This blog summarizes common types of motor vehicle accidents and accident-related injuries.

As stated in part one, motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) are a leading cause of death and serious injury in Alberta. MVAs are a traumatic experience and can require lengthy involvement with multiple parties after the accident, including insurance companies. This glossary is intended to help those dealing with the aftermath of an accident better understand the terminology they will encounter during the process.

Types of Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents can be caused by many factors, including driver error or intoxication, poor road conditions, and mechanical problems. MVAs can cause costly property damage, serious personal injury, or death. Some common types of motor vehicle accidents are set out below.

Head-On Collision

An accident occurring when two vehicles collide head-on, typically when one vehicle is attempting to pass another on a two-lane road. Head-on collisions are extremely serious as they often happen at high speeds. They are the second most common type of motor vehicle accident, accounting for about 20% of all collisions.

Hit and Run Accident

A hit and run is a collision where one driver leaves the accident scene without providing their contact/insurance information or helping injured passengers.

Multi-Vehicle Accident

An accident involving two or more vehicles.

Rear-End Collision

An accident where one vehicle hits the rear of another. These accidents usually occur when a vehicle is following too closely behind another and is unable to stop in time when the lead vehicle slows down or stops. Rear-end collisions are the most common type of motor vehicle accident, accounting for nearly 40% of all collisions in the province.

Rollover Accident

An accident where a vehicle flips over onto its side or roof. They can be caused by a collision with another vehicle or object. Rollovers can also occur when the vehicle swerves or makes a sudden change in direction.

Side-Impact Collision

A collision where one vehicle hits another from the side. They often occur when a driver fails to yield or runs a red light. This type of accident may be known as a “t-bone” collision if one vehicle drives directly into the side of the other vehicle.

Side-Swipe Collision

A collision that occurs when two vehicles are trying to occupy the same space on the road, usually when one driver is trying to change lanes. Side-swipe collisions are the third most common type of motor vehicle accident, accounting for about 10% of all collisions.

Single Vehicle Accident

An accident involving only one vehicle. Single vehicle accidents occur when a vehicle hits a stationary object, such as a tree, pole, or guardrail. They can also happen when a driver loses control of their vehicle and veers off the road. 

T-Bone Collision

A collision where one vehicle drives directly into the side of another (usually into the door), forming a “T” shape. This is one of the most dangerous types of collision as a vehicle door does not offer much protection to the occupants inside.

Traffic Collision

As per the Calgary Police Service, a collision occuring when a motor vehicle contacts another object on a highway. Another object can be (but is not limited to) another motor vehicle, a bicycle, a pedestrian, or a fixed object.

Types of Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries

Motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) can cause a wide variety of injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to amputations and life-threatening or fatal wounds. Some of the most common motor vehicle accident injuries are set out below.

While some of these injuries may seem minor, they can worsen over time and cause long-term pain and suffering. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible to ensure you receive the proper treatment for your injuries and increase your chance of making a full recovery.

Burn Injuries

Injuries that occur when a vehicle catches fire or a victim comes into contact with hot pavement. It can also happen when a person’s skin is scraped along the road at high speed (“road rash”), as when a cyclist or motorcyclist is thrown from their bike.


Brain injuries caused by a direct blow to the head or by the brain being shaken inside the skull. Concussions can lead to headaches, dizziness, nausea, and difficulty concentrating.

Fractures (Broken Bones)

Breaks in the bone ranging from small cracks to complete breaks. Fractures can occur anywhere in the body but are most common in the arms and legs. Broken bones are a common type of injury caused by motor vehicle accidents. Symptoms of a broken bone include pain, swelling, and bruising. 

Head Injuries

Injuries to the head and skull. These range from mild to severe, including concussions, skull fractures, and traumatic brain injuries. Symptoms of a head injury can include swollen bumps on the head, cuts on the scalp, headaches, sensitivity to noise and light, confusion, dizziness, balance issues, and nausea.

Internal Injuries

Injuries where the organs have been damaged by the impact of the accident.


Deep cuts that can be caused by a variety of things, including broken glass or metal.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Injuries to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. They often occur in crashes with little or no visible damage to the vehicles involved. Soft tissue injuries are the most common injury caused by motor vehicle accidents.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Injuries occurring when the vertebrae in the spine are damaged. Spinal cord injuries can be catastrophic, leading to loss of function, paralysis, and other serious complications.


A type of neck injury caused by sudden and forceful movement of the head. Rear-end collisions are a common cause of whiplash injuries. Symptoms of whiplash include neck pain, stiffness, dizziness, and headaches.

Contact Cuming & Gillespie LLP, Leading Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers in Calgary

The knowledgeable and compassionate personal injury lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP have more than 20 years of experience successfully representing injured clients in serious personal injury claims. We have recovered $175 million for our clients in the last decade. Our team is dedicated to helping you recover from your motor vehicle accident injuries so you can move on with your life. To schedule a free consultation, please call 403-571-0555 or contact us online.