Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer: How Do Side-Impact Car Crashes Affect a Personal Injury Case?
It’s the crash you really don’t see coming. Someone doesn’t stop at a red light, or a driver blows through a stop sign. Suddenly, you’re hit in the intersection. There’s rarely time to react, to get out of the way, or to deflect the blow.
Side-impact car crashes are statistically some of the most dangerous types of collisions. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, they accounted for 25 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2016. That’s below frontal impact crash deaths, but above all other types.
As Macon injury attorneys, we often represent clients facing massive medical bills after even low-speed T-bone collisions—think 30 miles per hour or less. So why are side-impact collisions so dangerous? And how can a Macon car accident lawyer make sure you don’t suffer anymore from another driver’s recklessness?
What makes a T-bone wreck so dangerous?
Just think about how your car was built. In front and rear-end wrecks, you’re protected somewhat by the car itself—your bumpers, the engine and significant crumple zones. A car door offers a lot less protection and absorbs a lot less force, even with airbags, though we’ll discuss that later on. Injuries are typically most severe on the side that was hit, though people on the opposite side can be badly hurt as well. Common injuries include:
- Concussion or traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord damage
- Herniated discs
- Cuts or soft tissue damage
In many cases, it’s quite apparent why the crash occurred and who’s at fault. Side-impact crashes usually happen because one driver ran a red light, failed to stop at a stop sign, or otherwise failed to yield and follow traffic rules. Sometimes there’s an additional impairment at play, such as distracted driving, speeding, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
But it’s also possible for both drivers to think they had the right of way when the wreck occurred. That’s why, if you’re able, you’ll want to make sure you share your version of events with the responding officer and take down the names and contact information of any witnesses.
How can safety features help?
Unfortunately, there’s often little you can do at the moment to avoid a side impact collision. Even if you drive defensively and never assume you’re safe to enter an intersection just because your light is green, you can still be struck by a reckless driver. So it’s worth considering how reliable your car is if such a crash were to occur.
Side-curtain airbags offer superior protection, both by helping distribute force more evenly and by protecting your head from being struck by the other vehicle. But they’re not enough on their own. Your car, truck or SUV also needs to have a sturdy structure. Look for a car with an excellent side-impact rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety performs independent testing geared toward real-world conditions.
If you are injured in a side-impact collision, a personal injury lawyer in Macon, GA, can help. At Buzzell, Graham & Welsh, we specialize in Georgia personal injury law, and we’re ready to help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation.
This is part of a new series from Buzzell, Graham & Welsh on questions to ask a personal injury lawyer. Read our previous post on who pays medical bills after a car wreck.