A side impact car accident, also called a broadside or T-bone accident, occurs when the front of one vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle at almost a 90-degree angle. These collisions often cause severe injuries or death to drivers and passengers alike because there is a lack of structural protection on the sides of vehicles for its occupants, meaning the struck vehicle has a smaller buffer zone for the impact of the collision. Even with occupant safety protections like side impact air bags, the results are often catastrophic.
One of the most dangerous types of accidents, the IIHS reports side impact collisions result in 23 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths and 25 percent of all motor vehicle deaths annually. The NHTSA also found the number of deaths from these accidents increased 20 percent from 31 to 51 percent due to an increased number of SUVs and higher speed limits. Broadside accidents killed 5,866 people in 2016 and injured tens of thousands more in Lake Elsinore and beyond. In 2019, a woman died, and three others were hospitalized during one T-bone collision in Lake Elsinore at Corydon and Cereal Streets. These accidents can occur from any situation, but often happen when a driver negligently runs a red light or stop sign at an intersection, drives aggressively, misjudges speed when turning, or drives under the influence. If you have been hurt in a broadside collision contact an experienced Lake Elsinore Side Impact Car Accident Attorney to see if you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
What Are Common Side Impact Accident Injuries? Because side impact accidents are unexpected and the occupants of vehicle struck by the oncoming vehicle are largely unprotected from impact, they often cause serious harm. If the occupants survive, there may be a broad range of injuries including:
- Head injuries including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs);
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Neck injuries including whiplash and other soft tissue injuries;
- Back injuries such as herniated disks;
- Severe lacerations and bruises;
- Dislocated joints;
- Fractures; and
- Internal injuries and internal bleeding.
Many of these injuries are life-threatening and will require emergency care, hospitalization, extended medical care, and a long period of recovery when the victim may be unable to work or engage in day-to-day life activities.
How Do I Win My Side Impact Car Accident Case? Victims must establish someone’s negligence caused their injuries in order to be eligible for compensation in a personal injury case. This means proving a defendant owed them a duty of care, breached it through act or failure to act, and caused their harm through the breach. However, if you can establish through eyewitness accounts, evidence such as skid marks, or traffic cameras that the other driver broke a law such as the speed limit, it creates a presumption they acted negligently.
There are many causes of side impact car accidents in Lake Elsinore, but some are more common than others. Typical scenarios involve traffic violations and may include:
- Failing to stop at stop signs
- Poor lighting or failing infrastructure – traffic signals and stop lights can fail during a power outage or because of downed power lines, maintenance, or power outages. The city or county should immediately work to station officers for directing traffic or install temporary stop signs. Failing to do so often causes an immediate spike in broadside accidents at intersections.
- Running a red light
- Failing to yield – if more than one car arrives at a four-way intersection simultaneously, most state laws require yielding to the vehicle to the left before proceeding. A failure to do so resulting in a side impact collision creates a presumption of negligence. Motorists in oncoming vehicles are also expected to yield to vehicles turning left.
- Turning right into oncoming traffic – drivers must wait to attempt a right turn into the flow of traffic until it’s safe; this means yielding to oncoming vehicle already in a lane of traffic.
- Distracted driving
- Driving while intoxicated
Once a driver’s negligence is established, they are liable for damages a victim can prove unless a valid legal defense exists. Establishing a traffic violation or causation can be tricky, so it’s advisable to speak with an experienced Lake Elsinore Side Impact Car Accident Attorney to avoid potentially costly legal mistakes when litigating a claim for compensation.
How Much Can I Recover? Due to lack of occupant protection and the violent nature of side impact collisions, it’s no surprise severe injuries are common. Victims lucky enough to survive often face astronomical medical bills, heavy property damage, and long-term care expenses. It’s even possible that some people will never be able to return to work or need expensive accommodations to go about daily life.
Victims may receive an award of damages to make them whole for injuries inflicted through negligence. These may be economic injuries such a property damage or medical expenses, or they may be mental and emotional trauma from the incident like pain and suffering, permanent disability, or loss of consortium (companionship). In particularly egregious cases, courts may award victims additional damages to punish a wrongdoer’s vile, reprehensible behavior; these completely discretionary punitive damages are difficult to prove and best tackled by an experienced Lake Elsinore Side Impact Accident Lawyer.
Contact a Lawyer If you or a loved one were involved in a broadside collision accident, you know how quickly your life can be turned upside down by someone else’s negligence. Don’t delay – speak to the skilled Lake Elsinore Side Impact Car Accident Attorneys at Walton Law, APC today to protect your health, your rights, and your recovery. We have years of experience providing personalized, dedicated representation for victims like you and delivering results; we’ve recovered millions in compensation on their behalf. Contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (866)-338-7079 or through our online Contact Page to schedule your free initial case consultation today. The no risk, no obligation consultation is completely confidential, and you don’t pay until we win your case. Let our team of attorneys review the facts of your unique situation and use our knowledge and resources to fight for the compensation you deserve starting today.