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Who Is at Fault When Side-Impact Accidents Cause Severe Injuries?

Damaged car door after a side-impact traffic accidentA side-impact or broadside collision is a type of automobile accident in which one car strikes another directly on the side. The cars strike at a perpendicular or 90-degree angle from one another, making a “T” shape, which is why another name for this kind of crash is a “T-bone” collision. Side impact accidents are often the most terrible and dangerous kind of crashes, causing severe harm the occupants of the vehicle that was struck.

Here’s what you need to know about side impact collisions, including how they happen, the kinds of injuries that can result, and how to get legal help if you’ve been hurt.

How T-Bone Accidents Happen

There are as many reasons for a car accident to happen as there are drivers on the road, but many side impact accidents can be boiled down just a few causes, including the following:

  • Distracted driving. Texting or interacting with apps on the phone, taking calls, talking with passengers, eating or drinking, and reading are just a few of the most common distractions that can cause a driver’s attention to wander.
  • Drunk or drugged driving. Over 10,000 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2015, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control. And the use of drugs, either legal or otherwise, was a factor in about 16 percent of crashes that year, as well.
  • Excessive speeding. Speed limits are designed to protect lives, but many people go faster than is safe. Greater speed not only leaves less time to react in an emergency, but also adds a great deal of force and lethality to a crash.
  • Failure to yield. Either accidentally or willfully ignoring a traffic control device, such as a traffic light or stop sign, is one of the most frequent causes of side impacts. Worse, these accidents often happen at full speed, as neither driver has time to react.

Side impacts can also happen due to bad weather or road conditions, sudden hazards such as pedestrians, animals, or objects entering the roadway, or just plain reckless driving.

Common Injuries in Side Impact Crashes

Modern cars are designed with lots of safety features, many of which aren’t visible until they’re needed. However, many of these features are most effective for front or rear impacts. Unless the car has side “curtain” airbags, the only thing protecting the occupants is the car door—and that’s not much protection at all.

The person on the side of the car that gets hit faces the greatest risk for severe injury. However, every occupant of the vehicle faces serious injury, too, due to the extremely high forces involved in a typical side impact. Some of the most common injuries suffered in an accident can include:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Concussions
  • Whiplash
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Thoracic and chest injuries

Pelvic injuries, broken limbs, cuts, lacerations, and contusions or bruising are also very common after a side impact crash.

Liability After a Side Impact Accident

Broadside accidents aren’t always as clear-cut as they seem when it comes to who is responsible for the crash. Determining who is at fault requires a thorough investigation of the facts, including witness accounts, police reports, photographs, and other evidence so that you can make your case in a court of law. For example, if a driver blasts through a red light, he or she may slam directly into the side of a crossing vehicle who has the right-of-way and be found at fault. However, it’s just as likely that the driver who fails to yield will enter the path of another vehicle in the cross-traffic and be struck on the side, taking the brunt of the force yet still potentially being legally responsible for the crash.

After you’ve been hurt in a car accident, Wayne Wright LLP will use all of our legal tools and bring decades of experience to your case so that you can get the compensation that you’re owed for your medical bills, rehabilitation costs, car repair or replacement, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. We work hard to stand up for the rights of those who have been injured due to the negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing of others, and we’d like to help you, too.

To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation about your car accident with an experienced legal professional, contact Wayne Wright LLP by phone, use our contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box right now.