If you were hurt in a T-bone collision, you may be surprised to learn how common they are. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), this type of crash was the second leading cause of traffic fatalities in 2014 at 33 percent, resulting in 3,484 people dying in these wrecks. These crashes—also known as side impact or sideswipe accidents—occur when one vehicle rams into the side of another vehicle. Victims can suffer surprisingly serious injuries because there is only a door and a window protecting them. If you were hurt in one of these accidents, you need to pursue your legal option of holding the negligent driver responsible for compensating you.
Common Causes of Sideswipe Accidents
In this type of accident, either driver involved in a broadside crash could be the liable party. This may mean that you have to fight harder to prove that the other motorist is responsible for compensating you for your injuries. The major reasons these wrecks occur include:
- Failing to come to a complete stop. When a driver does not come to a complete stop at a stop sign or four-way intersection, he can sideswipe another vehicle if his vehicle rolls into the intersection when he does not have the right of way. If he was issued a ticket, this will be persuasive proof that he was the negligent party.
- Failing to yield. Similarly, driving through an intersection or a stop sign without stopping or not following the rules governing the vehicles’ right-of-way at a four-way stop can cause a driver to smash into the side of a vehicle legally in the intersection.
- Running a red light. A driver who runs a red light may be presumed to be at fault in causing a crash—making liability less likely to be disputed by his insurance adjuster. These wrecks are especially dangerous because the driver is frequently speeding to “make the light.”
- Turning left across traffic lanes. When a driver is turning left at an intersection or at a light, he must wait until he has the right-of-way to turn. Many side impact collisions occur when negligent drivers turn left—right into an oncoming vehicle.
- Making right turn errors. A negligent driver who turns right without making a final check for a legally approaching vehicle can be sideswiped when a motorist legally proceeding collides with him. This is one of those situations where the driver being hit is the one at fault.
- Reckless and aggressive driving. Reckless drivers often also drive aggressively, using their vehicle to make a dangerous point. Both types of driving result in the motorist making poor judgments that can result in a crash.
- Distracted driving. When a driver is focused on his cell phone, eating or drinking, or a GPS, he can make poor driving decisions that can cause him to negligently sideswipe another vehicle.
- Drunk driving. When a driver is intoxicated on alcohol or drugs, his reaction time and driving skills are impaired, increasing the chances that he will run a red light or engage in another unsafe driving practice.
- Weather conditions. If a driver fails to slow down for weather conditions such as fog, rain, ice, or snow, he can slide into a T-bone crash when he does not leave sufficient time to stop.
Types of Injuries Victims Suffer
With other types of crashes—such as head-on and rear-end collisions—there is usually additional car parts separating the victim from the other vehicle. While this does not mean a victim will not suffer serious injuries, the lack of protection in a T-bone collision explains why injuries can be so devastating. Some of the most common injuries victims suffer include:
- Face lacerations and abrasions caused by shards of glass and metal and airbags
- Fractured arms, legs, hands, and wrists
- Soft tissue injuries to the tendons, muscles, and ligaments
- Hip and shoulder dislocations and fractures of the hips or ribs
- Herniated discs and spinal cord injuries—some causing paralysis
- Internal organ damage and bleeding
- Eardrum puncture
- Severed spinal cord or brain stem resulting in paralysis or death
- Concussions, skull fractures, traumatic brain injuries, and other brain injuries
Were you or a loved one hurt in a side impact collision? Start an online chat to learn how the experienced attorneys at Kennedy Hodges, LLP, can help you pursue your remedies to hold the negligent driver responsible.