Getting into a car accident is always a frightening experience. It occurs so fast, you may not even be fully sure of what happened until after the collision. Or you may realize too late that there’s no time to swerve and avoid it, so you brace for impact. While there are many ways a driver may be involved in an accident, the type of collision can affect the injuries sustained, as well as rebuttable presumptions regarding fault. Side-impact collisions are no exception.
What is a side-impact collision car accident?
As the name states, a side-impact collision refers to the type of crash where a motor vehicle hits the side of another car. However, not all accidents are created equal — and depending on the type of collision, the driver or passenger may be prone to specific types of injuries. It’s also crucial to be aware of the differences, since Florida law establishes responsibilities to all motorists precisely to prevent these types of accidents. Anyone who’s found to have breached these laws would be held liable for injuries and property damage.
Types of Side-Impact Collisions
All side-impact collisions are the result of someone’s negligence. This could be either from the part of one driver or both of them, if they’re equally distracted. There are two types of side-impact crashes.
A side-swipe accident occurs when a motor vehicle hits another car while traveling in the same direction. It typically happens when a person changes lanes without looking in the rearview mirror and over their shoulder to check for blind spots. While this may be considered simply an oversight, it’s actually illegal. Florida Statutes 316.089 establishes that all vehicles must travel within a single lane. If a driver needs to move to a different lane, they must first make sure that they can do so safely.
T-bone accidents occur when a car hits another car that’s traveling perpendicularly. For example, a motor vehicle going east-to-west crossing an intersection and hitting a car that’s traveling north-to-south. These types of accidents can cause serious injuries — especially if the impact is on the driver’s side of the car, or if the crash was on the other side of the vehicle while there was a passenger. While federal regulations require motor vehicles to provide side impact protection, each year, motorists are severely hurt in these types of accidents.
Common Injuries from Side-Impact Collision Car Accidents
Side-impact collisions can result in extensive injuries in all parts of the body — with the most serious occurring if the collision was at a right angle. The most common ones include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Lung injuries
- Broken ribs
- Pelvic fractures
- Injuries to internal organs
- Amputated limbs
In addition to the physical injuries, individuals involved in side-impact collisions also often deal with mental anguish — such as flashbacks and PTSD. They can also accrue financial losses due to substantial medical bills and time missed from work.
How is fault determined in a side-impact collision car accident?
Determining fault in a side-impact accident depends on the circumstances. Either one of the drivers could be to blame for the accident. The crash could also be the result of the negligence of a third party. The possible scenarios are the following:
1. The Driver Who Hit Your Car
There are many circumstances that could cause the other driver to be negligent. These include distracted driving — such as texting or eating while behind the wheel — driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, running a red light, or failing to yield to traffic.
2. Your Own Negligence
All of the negligent acts that could be ascribed to the other driver could also apply to you. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be doing what would be considered to be irresponsible behavior. Something as relatively harmless as being lost in thought or changing the radio station could result in inattention to the road.
3. A Third-Party
This could include a manufacturer who placed a defective car in the stream of commerce, a mechanic who failed to properly service your vehicle, a doctor who failed to warn about a medication’s propensity to cause impairment, or the Department of Transportation for failing to install stop signs, fix traffic lights, or place appropriate signage.
How can an attorney help in a side-impact collision car accident?
Since there are so many variables in every case, an attorney can help you gather all relevant evidence — such as surveillance video, contacting witnesses, hiring an accident reconstruction expert, deposing doctors who’ve provided you with treatment, and asking you all the right questions to get all the pieces of the puzzle. Not only will an experienced car accident attorney help you figure out how to best move forward, they will also know all elements to keep in mind when negotiating a possible settlement — such as exacerbation of previous injuries, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and future medical bills, to name a few.
Call Clark Law If You’ve Been in a Car Accident in Tampa Bay
If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. At Clark Law, we have experienced attorneys who regularly represent clients involved in motor vehicle accidents, and we can help you determine the best next step.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.