Side impact accidents are second only to head on collisions in frequency, according to the National Safety Council, and are responsible for approximately 25 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in the United States. During a side impact accident, one vehicle strikes another in a perpendicular motion. In the split second after impact, a whip-like snapping motion tosses the driver back and forth and from side to side. The accident may also result in secondary collisions with other automobiles and stationary objects.
Causes and Liability in a Side Impact Accident
Side impact collisions, sometimes called broadside, or t-bone collisions, occur where the side of one vehicle is impacted by the front or rear of another vehicle, forming a “T.” Damage to the vehicles and injuries suffered by the occupants are likely to be severe; however, they can vary, depending on where the vehicle is struck, the speed at which the collision takes place, vehicle type, and safety features present. Both vehicles are typically turned from their original directions of travel, and as with any crash, increased speed may increase crash severity. The vehicle which is struck may be spun or rolled over, if the collision is severe enough.
Side impact collisions frequently happen at intersections because of someone’s failure to yield the right of way. Common causes are running a red light or failing to see or obey a stop sign. Other common reasons for side impact accidents include:
- Turning across lanes of traffic
- In accurately gauging oncoming traffic when turning right at an intersection
- Reckless, aggressive, distracted, or impaired driving
- Steering or brake failure
- Inclement weather
Proving who’s liable for a side impact accident lies in showing a driver’s negligence, something an experienced Colorado Springs attorney can help you do.
Injuries Caused by Side Impact Accidents
Many drivers and passengers involved in a side impact collision experience injuries to different parts of their bodies, regardless of where the impact is on the side of the car. Some common injuries from a side impact collision can include:
- Leg injuries- The vehicle doors can cave in toward your body causing lacerations or leg bones to be crushed
- Arm injuries- If the door becomes crushed, you could receive lacerations, broken bones, or, depending on the position of your arm at impact, a severed arm
- Rib injuries- Ribs can easily be broken or crushed at impact
- Hip injuries- Hips can be broken, dislocated, or crushed
- Shoulder injuries- Common shoulder injuries include muscle tears, dislocation, severe lacerations, and broken or crushed bones
- Back, neck and head injuries- These can be some of the most severe injuries including, pinched nerves, slipped discs, whiplash, strained, sprained, or broken neck, concussion and traumatic brain injury.