Side Impact Collision Claims
By Sean Lally, Staff Writer
Side impact collisions can be catastrophic. This type of crash, also known as a T-bone, broadside or right-angle collision, tends to be devastating partially due to the ubiquitous lack of protection on the side of most vehicles. Cars are generally equipped with protective layers at both the front and back – think bumpers – but when it comes to an automobile’s side, there’s just the door and little else between you and oncoming traffic. Side impact airbags help, but they are not enough.
The severity of the injuries and resultant damage can also be exponentially worse when one vehicle outweighs the other. According to research published by the International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences, the “greater weight, stiffer structure, and higher ride height” of light truck vehicles give them an edge when it comes to broadside collisions with passenger cars. The beefiness of trucks means that passenger vehicles take on substantially more damage and more severe occupant injuries. Thus, the paper concludes, “There is strong justification for injury prevention experts and policy makers to step up motor vehicle crash injury prevention advocacy by implementing evidence-based policies to reduce rates of injury.” And though the research was conducted in Canada, its observations and conclusions are relevant here in the US.
But until policy catches up to the facts on the ground, we are left with the risks of driving as they stand. Thus, it’s a good idea to prepared for the worst. If you happen to be the victim of a right-angle collision, there are a few basic principles to bear in mind. Perhaps most importantly, you want to be sure to visit your doctor. Avoiding medical attention can be a major handicap when it comes to obtaining compensation for your injuries – not to mention that skipping appointments can be harmful to your health.
Giving Ammo to Insurance Companies
Any gap in your medical records could provide insurance companies (yours or the other driver’s) with the ammunition they need to reduce the value of your claim, or even worse, to deny the claim altogether. Sadly, insurance companies (even your own) are not always looking out for your best interest. Instead, they will do whatever is in their power to serve their bottom line, even if that means giving you a pathetically low offer.
For this reason, you consult with a personal injury attorney with experience in side impact collisions. Your attorney will be able to guide you through the process of collecting and filing evidence. They will also be knowledgeable about the various kinds of side impact collisions.
A skilled attorney will understand, for instance, the difference between a sideswipe and a broadside collision. The former refers to a crash where the driver door of one car connects with a passenger door of another vehicle. These generally occur when a person is changing lanes, merging with traffic, or veering out of a lane due to intoxication, mobile phone use, fatigue or other forms of distraction. T-bone accidents, by contrast, occur primarily at intersections. In this type of crash, a person generally fails to pay attention to the rules of the road, ignoring a red light or the proper right-of-way rules. As a result, one vehicle rams, head first, into the side of another vehicle.
Depending on the type of accident, you could end up with injuries ranging from brain trauma to organ damage. You could also suffer from eye injuries, face injuries, spinal cord injuries, arm and shoulder injuries, or pelvic injuries, to name a few possibilities.
Since traffic laws vary from state to state, an attorney can be key to understanding the nuances of your situation and how they relate to pertinent statutes and insurance policies. This special knowledge can give you a leg up if you choose to (and are able to) obtain remuneration from the other driver. If the other party was at-fault, you may be able to recover damages, both economic and noneconomic.
This means you may be able to receive compensation for medical bills, loss of income (present and future), decreased earning capacity, vehicular damage and any other costs directly associated with the accident. In addition, you could receive compensation for intangible damages, including a decrease in quality of life, severed relationships, humiliation, life-altering injuries and any other effects that can’t be quantified numerically.
If you’ve been injured in a side impact collision, you may want to consult with an attorney to get a better sense of your options moving forward.