There is usually a risk of incurring an accident once you are on the road. Vehicle accidents should not necessarily be a result of your fault but can be due to someone else’s error. There are several types of accidents, which differ, according to the nature of the collision. Once you are involved in an accident, you should find a personal injury attorney to help claim compensation from the at-fault party. San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm offers the best legal services to clients who have been injured in a car accident.

Definition of Side Impact Collision

A side-impact collision occurs when a vehicle hits another side or near side at a 90 degrees angle. The front end of one vehicle should hit the side of the other to meet the criteria of a side-impact collision. This type of accident also goes by the name T-bone since it forms a “T” after the accident or a broadside accident.

A side-impact collision can also occur when two vehicles hit each other from their lateral side. This kind of accident is also referred to as a sideswipe accident and is usually on a multi-lane highway.

Causes of Side Impact Collision

Side impact collision is typical in intersections and a multiple-lane highway where there are several vehicles involved. The mere fact that a car is in an intersection or on a highway cannot cause an accident. Here are the common causes of a side-impact collision that you should know about.

Running a Red Light

When a motorist runs a red light, there are chances of crushing another vehicle that has the right of way, causing a T-bone accident. Injuries can be quite severe in this kind of an accident, depending on the speed of the driver who was running the red light.

Speeding

When a vehicle is speeding, there is less chance to stop and prevent an accident. For instance, if the car is speeding in a neighborhood, it would require 120 feet to brake. However, while the vehicle is at speed, it is inevitable to avoid an accident within the 120 feet braking distance, which, as a result, leads to a possible T-bone collision.

Distracted Driving

If a driver gets distracted by a cellphone, a drink, a snack, or engaging with the passenger, he or she does not give enough attention to the road. Therefore, it would be hard to avoid an accident if a vehicle is coming from the other side. Although a distracted driver might realize that a car is oncoming, it might be too late to brake due to the lack of enough distance as described above.

Failing to Yield

Unfortunately, some drivers operate as if they always have the right of way. Drivers should observe specific rules, especially when they have to yield to other vehicles and offer them the right of way. This sort of situation occurs when a driver is on a flashing yellow light or red light and fails to yield to the oncoming vehicle when turning left. Ideally, the car at the stop should ensure that no oncoming vehicles are moving to the left when entering an intersection.

Uniquely, injuries are sustained by the occupants in the vehicle that fails to yield.

Intoxication

It is hard to make the right decision when driving under the influence of alcohol or any other drug. One does not have a clear vision or reaction time and can end up making irresponsible decisions such as shifting lanes without any care or misjudging stop-lights or safe turns. Eventually, when a driver is in such a situation, it would be hard to evade a side-impact accident.

Rear-End Collision

A rear-end collision can cause a vehicle that is standing on a traffic stop to fail to give way to oncoming traffic. This usually happens when a car suddenly comes to a halt, and the vehicle following it hits it from behind. This will push the other vehicle into the traffic and might end up being hit by the oncoming car.

Over Correction

If a child or an animal runs in front of a vehicle, the driver might swerve to avoid hitting it. As a result, this will lead to a sideswipe collision with the car occupying the other lane. Such an accident can turn out fatal if the car was on speed.

Reckless Lane Changing

Whenever one wants to change from one lane to the other, he or she must give the right signal to the vehicle at the back. However, if you fail to provide a sign, the car occupying the lane that you want to change will not give enough space for your movements. This can easily lead to a sideswipe accident if the other vehicle does not have enough time to brake. It can also lead to a multiple collision if this happens on a busy highway, leading to numerous fatalities.

Drowsy Driving

Other than intoxication, being drowsy can be a significant risk while driving. One cannot make a reasonable decision whether in an intersection or on a multiple-lane highway. Therefore, one can quickly swerve from one lane to the other or fail to yield way at an intersection.

Obstruction

If a driver approaches an intersection between two buildings, his or her view might be obstructed, and one cannot see what’s happening on the highway. This usually occurs within a city center where the driver has to turn onto a road from a parking lot or an intersection located between two buildings. Since one cannot easily see what’s going on the highway, one will blindly enter the highway and can lead to a T-bone accident.

Defective Brakes

Sometimes you might have made the right decision to stop your vehicle at an intersection only to realize that your brakes are faulty. In such a situation, it is hard to maneuver your car if you are approaching a red stop sign and can end, causing a T-bone collision with the vehicle that has the right of way.

Poor Weather Conditions

If you are driving in rain or snow, your vehicle can swerve from one lane to the other without your control. This will eventually lead to a sideswipe accident if the other car is in a similar situation. You can as well lead to a T-bone collision if you lose control of your vehicle at an intersection.

Types of Injuries Sustained from a Side Impact Collision

There are risks of sustaining injuries if you are involved in a side-impact accident. Such an accident can lead to several types of injuries, depending on its extent and the circumstances surrounding the collision. The injuries that one sustains vary between mild and severe. Here are the types of injuries sustained from a side-impact accident.

Whiplash

Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs after a rapid, forceful, back-and-forth movement of the neck like in cracking a whip. Such an injury causes neck sprain or strain, which can get better within a couple of weeks. If you are experiencing chronic pain, the complication can last longer. It is advisable to seek medical intervention in such an accident to avoid experiencing worsened symptoms later on.

Fracture

Fractures usually occur by breaking a bone. In a severe case, the bone punctures the skin leading to an open or compound fracture. Symptoms for such an injury include deformity, intense pain, numbness, and problem moving the limb. If one suspects having a fracture, he or she should seek medical care immediately and get an X-ray to check if the bone is broken. In severe fractures, you might need surgery to put the plates in place.

Knee Injuries

Knee injuries vary from sprains, strains, fractures, dislocations, and overuse injuries. This kind of injury needs a proper physical examination and, in some cases, an X-ray or MRI. When it comes to treatment, it can involve physical therapy, immobilization, surgery, or RICE (Rest, ice, compression, and elevation).

Scrapes, Cuts, and Bruises

Scrapes are wounds that occur on the layer of the skin when scraped by something. If the object penetrates the skin, it leads to a cut. On the other hand, bruises occur when the skin contacts an object causing an injury to settle beneath the skin and ending near the skin. The kind of treatment required in these injuries differs according to the extent of the situation. It might seem easy to handle such injuries but will still lead to additional expenses.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI occurs as a result of a violent blow on the head. An object usually penetrates the brain tissue leading to the injury. TBI varies from mild to severe and leads to varied damages to the brain. The injuries can cause long-term complications or death. Anyone who’s going through TBI should seek emergency medical care and extensive treatment to deal with the situation.

 Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries can be classified into four, including to the point of contact. This includes cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral. Cervical spinal cord injuries occur in the head and neck region just above the shoulders. The thoracic injury occurs in the upper chest, mid-back, or abdominal muscles, while lumbar occurs in the hips and legs. Finally, sacral injuries happen in the hips, back, or pelvic region.

Spinal cord injuries require extensive medical intervention, which might include long-term rehabilitation. Such injuries might also lead to long-term effects such as incontinence, paralysis, and lack of coordination.

Damages to the Internal Organs

Damage to the internal organs also counts as part of the injuries sustained in an accident. Common types of losses of the internal organs include abdominal aorta rupture, ruptured spleen, kidney damage, bowel, and broken ribs. Such injuries are life-threatening and require immediate treatment. They can lead to long-term effects depending on the extent and type of damages that one has incurred.

Loss of Limb

Severe injuries on the limbs require amputation. Such situations occur when the limb is extensively damaged or might lead to infection if left untreated. Victims who undergo these cases need prosthetics to maintain the usage of the lost limb.

Recoverable Damages in a Side Impact Collision

There are chances of suffering some costs resulting from your treatment and rehabilitation following your side-impact collision. Such expenses are legally titled as damages and are recoverable from the at-fault party. Recoverable damages are divided into three parts. This includes compensatory, general, and punitive damages.

  1. Compensatory Damages

This is the kind of damages that can be tied to a dollar amount. This means that they are easy to calculate since they are straightforward. These damages include:

Medical Expenses

These are the expenses incurred in the treatment and medication of the victim. Your attorney should provide valid receipts and a doctor’s statement to prove this kind of loss. A car accident victim can manage to recover both past and future medical costs in a lawsuit.

Lost Wages

These are the wages that one loses while under treatment or rehabilitation. It also counts for the wages that one lost after failing to achieve a specific level of economic output due to the injuries sustained from the accident. Auto accident victims can recover both past and future lost wages.

Property Losses

Since your vehicle was involved in an accident, you need compensation for its damages. Therefore, your insurance company should do an account of all the expenses required in its repair or replacement if it is severely damaged.

  1. General Damages

General damages are the kind of damage that one cannot tie a dollar amount. They are not easy to calculate since they involve a lot of complexities. These damages are as follows:

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering refer to any kind of physical pain or discomfort that might result after an accident. It might also include post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly known as PTSD.

Loss of Consortium

Loss of consortium is a legal term describing the loss of a spouse’s physical companionship, sexual relationship, or simply a partner. This will affect the victim and makes it worth compensating.

Loss of Enjoyment

A car accident can significantly affect your life. The kind of injuries that you sustain from the accident can cause your life to be difficult and hard to enjoy like before. Some of the situations that explain the loss of enjoyment are the inability to handle your day to day activities and participating in hobbies. Such cases leave you entitled to compensation from the at-fault party.

  1. Punitive Damages

This is a rare type of damage that one can recover from a car accident. It does not necessarily aim to compensate the victim but is meant to punish the at-fault party. Punitive damages are quite significant compared to the compensatory and general damages and can cost up to five times their value. For a victim to be eligible for this kind of damage, one must prove that the at-fault party actions were of gross negligence hence the need for compensation.

  1. Wrongful Death

If the victim dies due to the car accident, the survivors of the victim are eligible for compensation. This is a different kind of compensation that calls for a specific type of damages. Before you learn about the specific costs to recover, it is essential to determine who is eligible for this kind of compensation. Ideally, wrongful death can be filed by close relatives to the victim, commonly referred to as survivors and representatives of the deceased estate. This includes the deceased:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Siblings
  • Parents
  • Extended relatives
  • Stepchildren
  • Children or people who were under the custody of the deceased

Now that you know who is eligible for compensation, you should determine what kind of damages you can recover. The sort of recoverable damages in a wrongful death are as follows:

  • Pain and suffering or survival claim of the deceased before death
  • Medical expenses that resulted from the injuries that led to the demise of the victim
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of the deceased expected income
  • Loss of inheritance due to the death
  • Loss of services that the deceased is responsible for providing
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of guidance, care, and nurturing.

Please note, for a survivor to get compensated for the wrongful death, he or she must prove that the deceased died as a result of the accident.

Determining Fault in a Side Impact Collision

You should determine fault in a side impact accident if you want to consider who is at fault for the accident. It might be pretty clear that driver error is the cause of your accident, but you must have substantial evidence that the other driver was at fault. Here is a comprehensive view of what you should consider when determining fault in a side-impact collision.

Circumstances of the Accident

For any auto accident to occur, any of the drivers involved in the accident must have undermined the set rules and regulations. Therefore, you must give an account of what happened to determine whether the at-fault party is genuinely responsible for the accident. You will have to record a statement with the police if they arrive at the scene, which includes information from the accident’s witnesses.

Traffic Signals

The question about obeying traffic signals can be a significant answer to the at-fault party in a T-bone accident. Of course, one of the drivers would have disobeyed the traffic signals and failed to yield the way to oncoming traffic. This is achievable through a comparison of the traffic signal program and the time that the accident occurred to determine whether it proves the nature of the accident.

Vehicle Defect

If the accident occurred as a result of vehicle defects such as brake failure, the manufacturer, or the party responsible for the maintenance of your vehicle, should be held accountable for the accident. Although the defect might be directly involved with the maintenance company, the extent of your injuries might consider another party as responsible for your injuries. For instance, if your airbags failed to deploy, the car manufacturer should be held accountable for the accident.

Vehicle Damage

The vehicle damage location can provide a clear picture of who is at fault for the accident. In a broadside accident, one vehicle must have been damaged at the rear while the other should have been damaged at the lateral side. In such a case, the car with the lateral damage probably failed to yield to the right of way while the one with rear damage had the right of way. In such a situation, there are high chances that the vehicle with the lateral damage is at-fault in the accident.

Proving whether a particular driver is at fault using the location of the vehicle’s damage can prove to be a hectic process unless there is other evidence such as the witness statement and traffic footage.

Crashworthiness

This is a vital concept of a vehicle defect case. It explains the ability of a vehicle to prevent injuries in case of an accident. If a vehicle has effective crashworthiness, the injurious force should be evenly distributed to ensure that the vehicle can withstand the force. Therefore, if the car did not meet the required level of crashworthiness, the manufacturer should be held responsible for the injuries sustained in the accident. 

There are several other factors that the investigating officer and your attorney should consider while determining who is at the fault of an accident. These factors are as follows:

  • The angle of the steering wheel
  • Sudden acceleration
  • Anti-lock braking system
  • Police report
  • Witness statement

Find a San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm Near Me

Going through a personal injury lawsuit can be complicated and painful. It requires a professional personal injury attorney who can represent you in the court. A reliable personal injury attorney should be well-versed with legal matters related to your case and have the experience needed to deliver remarkable service. The San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm offers the best legal services to clients who intend to claim compensation after a car accident in San Diego, CA. Contact us today at 619-478-4059 and let us help you.