Side-impact Collisions

Intersections are the most dangerous places on the road. Side-impact collisions occur most at intersections and the injuries are more severe at the red lights verse the stop signs. Side impact collisions are among the deadliest type of accident faced by motorists.

What is a Side-Impact Collision?

A side-impact collision is more deadly than any other type of accident with the exception of rollovers. Our vehicles are better designed to protect us from front- or rear-end collisions. While new-car technology — including side-curtain airbags — have made us safer, we are still at greater risk of injury in such T-bone collisions. The amount of protection on the side of a vehicle is much less than the front and rear ends thus why so many more fatalities happen and should make you look twice when you are at red lights.

Who is at Fault for a Side Impact Crash?

Additionally, fault can be more complicated to determine during a side-impact collision – particularly those occurring at intersections. A wreck happen as one vehicle exits a parking lot or private drive, the vehicle already on the road typically has the right-of-way. But most occur at intersections, often because a red-light runner failed to yield the right of way. In such cases, witness statements and video surveillance – either from traffic cameras or nearby businesses – can be critical in proving fault and protecting your rights. Also if they are saying they are at fault make sure to get them to write it down if you can and especially if the police do not come. Always get the police to come when feasible.

Increasing importance is being placed on a new vehicle’s ability with withstand side impact. Traditionally, front and rear crash testing have been the focus. Front and rear crumple zones offer drivers and occupants additional protection. Strengthening vehicle structure and improvements to side-curtain airbags seek to do the same for side-impact collisions and it looks like drivers over the coming years can expect more protections there from auto makers, but will it be enough?

Other side-impact crashes are U-turns and other illegal maneuvers, stop light and stop sign violations, false assumptions of the other motorist’s intentions, misjudgment of speed, or driver inattentiveness.

Statistics on Side Impact Accidents

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports about one-fourth of vehicle deaths in the United States occur as a result of side-impact crashes. The height and size of the striking vehicle also has significant bearing on the survivability of such collisions. Crashes with SUVs, trucks and large commercial vehicles are much more likely to be fatal, than ordinary cars crashing into one another.

Injuries from Side Impact Collisions

Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries commonly result from side-impact collisions. Not until 2003 did the IIHS begin testing new vehicles in side-impact collisions. Previously, government testing had not accounted for the vastly different sizes of today’s vehicle. The agency also began using smaller crash-test dummies to represent women and teenage children. Such occupants are more likely to suffer head injuries as shorter victims are more likely to make head contact with the striking vehicle. This reminds me of the “you can learn a lot from a dummy.” TV campaigns in the 1990’s.

Traumatic Brain Injury & Side Impact Crashes

Occupants in a side-impact or rollover collision are more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury than victims of other types of traffic crashes. Motor-vehicle accidents are the most common cause of TBI injuries after fall accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, they are the leading cause of fatal TBI injuries nationwide.

The symptoms of brain injuries may be relatively slow to present themselves, however the consequences may last a lifetime. Even a minor brain injury may result in short- or long-term changes in thinking, language, emotions and sensations. A TBI may also increase the risk of being diagnosed with epilepsy or Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

Severe TBI may result in either a closed or penetrating head wound. Such injuries are measured using the Glasgow Coma Scale. Those with a score of 3 to 8 are classified as having suffered a severe brain injury. Other classification systems include the Abbreviated Injury Scale, the Trauma Score and the Abbreviated Trauma Score.

More than 5 million Americans live with a TBI-related disability. These injuries typically impact the entire family because of the memory loss and other types of losses associated with a TBI.

These are often very serious cases and it’s not unusual for an insurance company to move aggressively to settle to minimize their exposure. Please consult with us first 865-888-8888 or someone else before you maybe foolishly settle a case. In addition, you should not provide any statements, sign any documents or accept any payments until you’ve had the opportunity to speak to an experienced personal injury law firm.