Broderick Law Firm, LLC

Side Impact Motor Vehicle Crashes

side impact car accident lawyer kevin broderick

Head-on collisions are the deadliest type of car accident. Rear end collisions are among the most common. You don’t hear a lot about side-impact motor vehicle crashes. But, this type of car crash is both common and dangerous.

In 2020, 23% of traffic fatalities involved side-impact collisions. That’s 5,475 vehicle occupant deaths across the country. Side-impact crashes also accounted for 30% of fatal collisions involving two or more vehicles. The largest number of side-impact fatalities involve cars, but side-impact collisions accounted for more than 25% of fatalities in pickup trucks and SUVs as well.

How do Side Impact Crashes Happen?

There are two common types of side impact crashes: Sideswipe collisions and T-Bone collisions.

Sideswipe Traffic Accidents

Sideswipe accidents account for a small percentage of traffic fatalities. But, that does not mean that they are uncommon, nor that they are not serious. Hundreds of thousands of sideswipe accidents across the United States result in tens of thousands of injuries each year.

A sideswipe accident can happen in virtually any context, but they are most common in situations where lanes are merging, such as an entrance or exit ramp on the interstate. This type of accident can also occur when a vehicle is attempting to change lanes, when a vehicle swerves to the side to avoid an obstacle or collision, and when multiple lanes of vehicles are turning in the same direction.

While these accidents may be minor, they can also be quite serious – especially when the accident takes place at high speeds or in heavy traffic, causing one vehicle to spin out or to collide with another vehicle.

Lane departure warning technology on vehicles has been shown to reduce this type of accident significantly. However, not all vehicles are currently equipped with that technology. And, technology alone will not solve the problem.

The most significant steps a driver can take to reduce the chances of a sideswipe accident are:

  • Be vigilant about surrounding traffic that may wander into your lane or be attempting to merge in
  • Pay attention to lane markers and make sure that you stay in your lane in traffic
  • Use your turn signal and give adequate warning when you are planning to change lanes or merge
  • Travel at safe speeds and allow adequate distance between yourself and the car in front of you to take evasive action without having to swerve into another lane if something unexpected occurs

T-Bone Collisions

We’ve already established that side-impact collisions cause a significant number of traffic fatalities around the United States, including Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Sideswipe accidents account for a small percentage of those traffic fatalities. The majority of side-impact traffic deaths involve T-Bone accidents. A T-bone accident is a motor vehicle collision in which the vehicles are perpendicular to one another when they make contact, forming the shape of a T.

T-Bone collisions account for a larger percentage of traffic fatalities than they do traffic crashes. In other words, a T-bone collision is more likely to be fatal than many other types of traffic accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, side airbags significantly reduce the risk of fatality in a side-impact collision. Their study revealed that head-protecting airbags reduced the risk of driver fatality by about 37%, and torso-only side airbags reduced the risk of fatality by about 26%. These declines were even more significant for drivers of SUVs.

However, like lane departure warning technology, side airbags are not universal. And, they only reduce the risk of fatality, they do not provide full protection.

Since a T-bone accident involves two vehicles traveling perpendicular to one another, it is probably no surprise that they commonly occur at intersections. To protect yourself and others from T-Bone crashes:

  • Always observe traffic signals, and don’t try to beat a red light
  • Make sure to check carefully for oncoming traffic before you enter an intersection – don’t rely on the fact that you have a green light as a guarantee that no one will enter the intersection
  • Always maintain safe speeds when entering an intersection

Who is Responsible for a Side-Impact Car Accident?

Most car accidents, including side-impact collisions, could be avoided. That is, these crashes occur at least in part because someone was negligent. That negligence may include being distracted in traffic, failing to observe a traffic signal, speeding, or some other lapse.

When a driver operates a vehicle negligently and a crash results, that driver is typically responsible for any damages caused by their negligence. So, if you have been involved in a side-impact accident with someone who drifted out of their lane because they were checking a text message or tried to beat a red light and accelerated into the side of your vehicle, or otherwise didn’t live up to their responsibility to drive in a manner that was safe for others on the road, you may be entitled to compensation. If you were partly responsible, you may still be entitled to partial compensation.

Attorney Kevin P. Broderick has devoted his legal career to helping injury victims secure fair compensation. He has extensive experience in representing car crash victims in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. To learn more about how Broderick law can help you pursue the compensation you need to rebuild after a serious car accident, call 978-459-3085 or fill out the contact form on this site right away.

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