What happens in a side-impact collision? Side-impact crashes are also called T-bone or broadside accidents. These accidents occur when the front of a vehicle collides into the side of a different vehicle. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 25% of all traffic fatalities each year are caused by side-impact collisions. These accidents most frequently occur at intersections when drivers run red lights or fail to stop at stop signs. Even when these collisions occur at low speeds, severe injuries can happen to the occupants of the car that is broad-sided. If you have been seriously injured in a side-impact collision because of the actions of another driver, you may be entitled to compensation. The legal team at DiCindio Law can review what happened in your case and provide you with an honest analysis of the options that might be available to you.
What are the causes of side-impact collisions?
Side-impact crashes frequently result from the carelessness or recklessness of one or more drivers. Some of the most common causes of these types of accidents include the following:
Distracted driving, including texting while driving, talking on the phone, eating or drinking, or taking your eyes off of the road:
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Trying to make it through a light before it turns red
- Failing to yield
- Inattentive driving
- Drowsy driving
- Making an unsafe left turn
- Failing to yield the right-of-way at four-way stops
Side-impact collisions can happen when drivers fail to obey traffic laws or engage in careless or reckless driving behaviors. When they occur, the people in the car that is impacted frequently do not have any time to react before the collision occurs.
Common injuries in side-impact collisions
Side-impact crashes can cause serious injuries. Cars do not have as much protection along their sides as they do in the front or rear. When vehicles are struck from behind, the trunk helps to absorb some of the impacts. Similarly, vehicles that are struck from the front have the engine compartment and hood to absorb some of the forces of the collision. When a vehicle crashes into the side of a vehicle, only the door stands between the occupants and the striking vehicle. While newer vehicles might have side airbags, they are often insufficient to absorb all of the forces that are released in these types of crashes.
Because of these issues, people who are occupying cars that are involved in side-impact crashes may suffer multiple, serious injuries, including the following:
- Whiplash injuries
- Fractures to the upper extremities
- Fractured ribs
- Fractures to the lower extremities
- Serious traumatic brain injuries
- Burns, bruises, and lacerations
- Organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
Other injuries are also possible in side-impact crashes. If you have suffered serious injuries or have lost your loved one in a side-impact collision, you may be entitled to recover damages from the at-fault driver through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
What to do after a side-impact collision
In the immediate aftermath of a crash, it can be difficult to know what to do. Keeping the following tips in mind can help you if you are involved in a side-impact crash.
You should always stop at the scene and park your vehicle in a safe location. Call 911 and wait for help to arrive. Check everyone involved for injuries, and provide help to any people who are injured. If you can, photograph the damage to both cars and the scene, making sure to get photos of nearby traffic control devices, stop signs, speed limit signs, weather conditions, and other relevant information. If any witnesses saw what happened, take down their names and contact information.
Make sure to exchange information with the other driver. You should provide your name, driver’s license information, registration, and insurance information. You should also get the same information from the other driver. Document the make, model, and license plate of the other vehicle. When the police arrive, tell them what happened, but do not apologize or accept blame. Make sure to go to the hospital or your doctor for medical attention. Some injuries might not show symptoms for hours after an accident, and getting immediate treatment can help you to identify and treat your injuries to help to improve your chances of fully recovering from them.
Do not make any statements to the other party’s insurance company or sign any documents. Insurance companies try to get statements that they can use against you. The insurance company might also ask you to sign a medical release and tell you that it needs the information to verify your injuries. Do not agree to do this. The company can use the release to dig through your medical history so that it can try to blame your injuries on some other event. When you are contacted by a company, politely explain that you want to consult with an attorney before you will give any statement or sign anything. Once you have an attorney, all of the communication will be directed to him or her.
The importance of an attorney following a side-impact crash
Attorneys understand how insurance companies defend against claims. Since side-impact crashes often cause severe injuries, the claims typically involve large sums of money. This means that the insurance company will likely aggressively defend against your claim. Having the help of an attorney who can anticipate the different defenses that might be raised can help you to avoid making costly mistakes and build a strong case of liability. Attorneys may thoroughly investigate what happened and work with experts to demonstrate the liability of the other driver and the extent of your injuries and losses.
Potential damages in a side-impact crash
The damages that might be available to you will depend on your injuries, how long it will take you to recover, and the extent of your losses. In a personal injury lawsuit following a side-impact crash, the available damages might include both economic and non-economic damages. Your economic damages might include things like your medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, out-of-pocket expenses, wage losses, and property losses. Your non-economic damages might include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, disfigurement, disability, and emotional anguish. Your attorney can help to value your claim so that you can have a general idea of what it might be worth.
Contact DiCindio Law
A side-impact crash can cause devastating injuries and losses. If you have been injured in this type of collision, you need to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. Call DiCindio Law today to schedule a consultation at 610.430.3535.