How to Get Compensation for Injuries in a Side-Impact Collision Claim

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

June 7, 2022

Side Impart Car Accident in Colorado Springs

Side-impact collisions frequently result in large insurance claims. Here’s how you can get the money you need for your injuries, pain, and suffering.

Side-impact collisions, also known as broadside or T-bone collisions, occur when the front of one car collides with the side.

Each year, these types of collisions account for 25% of all car accident deaths.

Side-impact collisions are most common at intersections, where drivers blow past stop signs and run red lights. Even at low speeds, these collisions frequently result in serious injuries to the passengers of the broadsided car.

You might be entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver if you or a family member was injured in a car accident.

This page explains how to get the compensation you deserve and explains how to understand the dynamics of side-impact car accidents.

IN A SIDE-IMPACT COLLISION, WHO IS AT FAULT?

The foundation of any successful personal injury claim is proving who is to blame for a side- impact collision. You must show the other motorist was negligent, which means they did something improper or failed to behave appropriately to establish guilt.

The first stage in determining the other driver’s guilt is to look into how the accident occurred.

FAILURE TO STOP AT STOP SIGNS

It is unlawful to “roll” past a stop sign. It is against the law to fail to come to a full stop at an intersection. If you’re lawfully at the junction at the time of the crash, the traffic law infraction is instant evidence of the other driver’s carelessness.

FAILURE TO COMPLY

When stop signs are present at a four-way junction, one motorist must yield to the other. It might be difficult to determine who should go first when two or more cars arrive at the crossroads simultaneously. Most states’ traffic regulations require the motorist on the left to take the lead in these instances.

Running a red light is not only unlawful, but it is also strong proof of irresponsibility. A broadside crash may be devastating since most cars accelerate up to pass through a signal just before it turns red.

Drivers in a turning lane must wait until it is safe to cross lanes of traffic before turning. A motorist who cuts across traffic will almost always be held liable for an accident.

MAKING A RIGHT TURN INTO ONCOMING TRAFFIC

Before turning right at a red signal or stop sign, most drivers glance both ways. That isn’t always enough. Drivers often fail to see rapid cars approaching from the side until it is too late.

Before making a right turn, drivers are obliged by law to wait until it is safe to enter the traffic flow. While the motorist already in the traffic lane may share some of the guilt for speeding, the driver who fails to yield to the incoming car normally bears the brunt of the blame.

AGGRESSIVE DRIVING AND IRRESPONSIBILITY

Reckless conduct and aggressive driving often go hand in hand. Many motorists utilize their cars as “equalizers.” As a scare technique, they overlook other cars which are lawfully at an intersection while they’re trying to make a point. When reckless or aggressive driving causes an accident, the reckless or aggressive motorist is held responsible.

MOBILE PHONES

It is unsafe and unlawful to talk on a mobile phone or text while driving. Cell phones divert the driver’s attention, concentration, and focus away from the road. When a motorist is chatting or texting, he or she is distracted, and the subsequent collisions are often fatal.

DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED (DUI): A driver’s reflexes, vision, and mental skills are all impaired when they are inebriated. Inebriated drivers often fail to see cars approaching from the side. If they spot other cars, their inebriation leads them to misinterpret the speed and placement of the incoming driver. Another case of clear carelessness is DUI.

FAILURE OF THE MECHANICAL SYSTEM

Side-impact crashes are caused by equipment failure, a less common but equally severe reason. Travelling into oncoming traffic may be inevitable when a motorist cannot stop due to brake or steering problems. If the car was not properly maintained or the driver knew the car had issues but did not remedy them, the driver may still be considered negligent.

CONDITIONS ON THE ROAD AND WEATHER

Severe weather, such as sudden freezing rain, may make it difficult for a car to safely

stop. Sliding through a junction past a stop sign or traffic signal invites a side-impact collision.

ACCIDENTS INVOLVING THE T-BONE MAY RESULT IN A VARIETY OF INJURIES.

There is a larger “crumple zone” between you and the point of contact when your car is struck from the front or back, such as in a rear-end accident. Your bumpers, trunk, engine, and seats may all absorb a significant amount of stress.

When your car is broadsided, however, the individual on the struck side is highly exposed. Even with airbags, the only way to halt the other car before it strikes you or your passenger is via the car door and window.

The individual is forcibly shaken from side to side upon collision. Although airbags and seatbelts may assist, the human body is only capable of absorbing so much impact. When the force is greater than the body’s ability to withstand it, problems such as whiplash, fractures, organ damage, and even death may result.

By spinning or smashing the car into other cars, guardrails, trees, or other immovable objects, side-impact accidents often trigger secondary collisions. When your car rolls over or spins and collides with another car, airbags deployed in the initial hit provide little protection.

T-bone accidents often result in the following injuries:

TBI (TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY)

The victim’s head may collide with the car frame or glass in a side accident, causing the brain to contact the skull’s interior. The individual may suffer from a moderate concussion to a skull fracture, with long-term cognitive consequences depending on the collision’s severity. Severe brain injuries may be deadly.

INJURIES TO THE BRAIN STEM AND SPINAL CORD

The human spinal cord connects to the brain stem. Nerve damage, lifelong paralysis, or death may all result from spinal cord injuries. Until testing shows otherwise, trauma sufferers are considered to have spinal cord damage.

FRACTURES TO THE RIBS, CLAVICLE, LEGS, ARMS, WRISTS, AND HANDS:

The power of impact may easily fracture the victim’s ribs, collarbone, legs, arms, wrists, and hands. Fractures of the pelvis, hips, and thighs are frequently treated surgically with rods, plates, and screws inserted inside.

Internal bleeding and injuries

Punctured lungs, aortic rips, and organ ruptures are all life-threatening injuries that need emergency surgery. Internally injured victims must be taken to the hospital right away.

Back injuries are prevalent in driver-side impact accidents, as are soft tissue injuries. The power of the hit may rupture or herniate the discs in and around the spinal cord, which are positioned around the neck, mid-back, and lower back.

Car accidents may sprain and strain muscles, ligaments, and tendons all across the body. Whiplash injuries are caused by jolting and straining of the neck and shoulder from side to side and forward and backwards.

CUTS, BRUISES, AND SCRAPES

Flying glass and shards of shattered metal may pierce the face and other body parts, causing serious cuts. Airbags may cause burns to the scalp and face.

Airbags may save lives; however, when a side airbag deploys, it blows outward into the driver’s face and ear, causing a punctured eardrum. The force is strong enough to pierce, burn, and lacerate the eardrum. The deployment of side airbags may also cause tinnitus (a painful or irritating ringing in the ear).

EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT YOUR CLAIM

You’ll have a fair sense of what caused the accident after the crash. Although it may be obvious to you that the other motorist was at fault, you must prove it to the other driver’s insurance company before they will pay your claim.

It is beneficial to speak the insurance company’s language while interacting with them. Attorneys and insurance firms often use the following terms:

Negligence occurs when a driver fails to behave properly or does something that no reasonable motorist would do.

Duty of Care refers to every driver’s legal need to drive safely and prevent causing injury to others. For instance, failing to stop at a red light.

The word “liability” denotes “responsibility.” In most cases, the at-fault driver or car owner is responsible for the accident victim’s losses.

Property damage, medical and therapy costs, out-of-pocket medical expenses, replacement services, consortium claims, lost wages, and pain and suffering are all possible damages for car accident victims.

Direct and Proximate Cause is an action that causes a specific outcome that would not have occurred otherwise. For example, if the at-fault motorist hadn’t run a red light and smashed into the side of your car, you would not have suffered a shattered pelvis.

Solid proof is required to show the other driver’s carelessness. The evidence must demonstrate:

The at-fault motorist owed it to the public to drive safely. The at-fault motorist failed to uphold his or her duty of care.

Your injuries were caused directly and proximally by the driver’s violation of their duty of care.

Failure to drive safely is considered negligent conduct and a violation of a driver’s duty of care. The at-fault motorist is held accountable for your injuries where a breach of duty is the direct and proximate cause of a side-impact collision.

WHEN THEY HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CRASH

The majority of side-impact crashes result from one careless motorist, usually one who ran a red light or failed to stop at a stop sign. What if the other driver’s insurance company holds you responsible?

Is it possible that their insured didn’t yield because he couldn’t see you? Were you driving without headlights in the rain or after dusk? Whatever the insurance company comes up with, they will use it as a justification to reduce or reject your reimbursement.

Please don’t give up. If the insurance company dismisses your claim or seeks to reduce your payout, call a personal injury lawyer right once to preserve your rights.

Most jurisdictions have comparative negligence rules, which means you may sue the other motorist for damages even if you were partially at fault for the collision. If you are partial to a fault, your compensation will be reduced in proportion to your share of the responsibility. Depending on the circumstances, your attorney may be able to assist you in proving that the other motorist was entirely to blame for the crash.

COLLECT A VARIETY OF EVIDENCE

If you have well-organized proof and documentation, your injury claim will proceed much easier and have a better conclusion whether you have an attorney or not.

The following items may be used to back up your claim:

According to the police report: It’s fair to assume that the police will arrive at the site of a side-impact collision, whether to coordinate fire and rescue efforts or clear traffic. The investigating officer will prepare an official police accident report.

Witness testimonies and contact information, a diagram of the crash, and a list of traffic tickets issued to the other motorist are all included in the police report, which is useful information for your claim.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Photographs and videos recorded at the accident site shortly after it occurred are persuasive evidence. When authorities are investigating deadly car accidents, they often take photographs.

Use your phone or similar device to picture the autos from as many different angles as you safely can if you are physically able. Take photos of the junction, including any traffic lights and yield or stop signs. Skid mark photographs are also highly significant.

Videos with sound may record the other driver’s confessions of guilt and may also be persuasive proof of drunkenness. Photographs might also show beer bottles, drug paraphernalia, or open liquor containers in or near the other driver’s car.

STATEMENTS OF WITNESSES

Make a list of all witnesses and their contact information—Takedown whatever evidence they have that the other motorist was at fault.

Witness testimonies may be very useful in determining whether or not there is a problem. Make a note of any witnesses who observed the other motorist run a red light or slide through an intersection. Request that the witness writes down everything they saw and heard and sign and date their account.

If you or witnesses overheard the other motorist say anything along the lines of “I didn’t see him coming” or “I’m sorry, it’s my fault,” make a note of it. Liability is proven through statements admitting blame for the collision.

MEDICAL FILES

Never deny medical assistance on the spot. After the accident, you should have a comprehensive medical examination as quickly as possible. Obtain copies of all your medical records from paramedics, hospital physicians, and any other medical and rehabilitation professionals that treat you.

OTHER

Keep careful notes and documents after the disaster. Make a list of everything you remember about the accident, the circumstances leading up to it, and what occurred just after the other driver t-boned your car.

Keep track of every communication you have with the insurance provider throughout time, noting the date, time, who you talked with, and the subject of the discussion. Clean copies of any communication with the insurance company, including letters, forms, and emails, must also be kept.

GETTING THE MOST MONEY FOR YOUR INJURIES

Even if the accident was not your fault, you should tell your insurance carrier. Your insurance provider should be able to assist you with some of your immediate costs. More significantly, your insurance provider will defend you if the other driver accuses you of causing the accident.

In a no-fault insurance state, injured drivers must first depend on their own policy’s med-pay or personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. You don’t have to stop there, however. If your medical bills exceed your no-fault coverage, you may still file an injury claim with the at- fault driver’s insurance carrier.

If you weren’t in a no-fault state when the accident happened, claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. Medical care, counselling, and rehab costs

Out-of-pocket payments for pharmaceuticals Lost earnings

Pain and Suffering

CLAIMS MANAGEMENT ADJUSTERS

Your claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company will be assigned to a personal injury claims adjuster and given a number. If you have a property damage claim, it will almost certainly be processed by a separate adjuster.

The adjuster should treat you with kindness and respect, but don’t let your guard down. Insurance company workers are taught to look for grounds to refuse or minimize claim payouts. While preparing for talks, try to think like an adjuster.

The claims adjuster will grill you with questions and attempt to get you to say things that may jeopardize your claim. Give a recorded statement with caution. You do not need to provide a statement to get compensated. Above all, never comment while under the influence of medication or upset.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE 12 INJURY COMPENSATION BOOSTING TIPS.

Remember that if you don’t feel comfortable answering questions or if the claims adjuster is bullying you, you may call an attorney right away.

TAKING LEGAL ACTION TO RECOVER YOUR DAMAGES

Keep an eye on the limitations period. A timeframe for resolving an accident or initiating a lawsuit varies by state. If you miss the deadline, you will lose your opportunity to sue the at- fault motorist for damages.

Launching a personal injury lawsuit may be time if the insurance company refuses your claim or simply provides a low-ball settlement.

Not the insurance company, but the at-fault motorist must face legal action. If your injuries are serious or debilitating, you’ll need the assistance of an attorney to get adequate compensation for your losses.

If your losses are small but the insurance company refuses to cooperate, filing a case in small claims court may be your best option. The payout limitations and requirements vary by state, but the essential steps for initiating a small claims case are the same.

Small claim courts were created to make it simpler to get compensation without needing to engage an attorney.

WHEN WILL YOU REQUIRE THE SERVICES OF AN ATTORNEY?

If you are one of the fortunate few who escapes a side-impact collision with just minor injuries, you may be able to settle your claim directly with the insurance carrier.

A fair compensation figure will include the entire cost of all your medical bills, out-of-pocket expenditures, lost pay, and a reasonable amount for pain and suffering, assuming you’ve recovered from soft-tissue injuries and only missed a few days or weeks of work.

The unfortunate truth is that most side-impact accidents end in severe injury or death.

Serious injury and wrongful death claims are complicated and costly. To get the maximum potential compensation for victims and their families, these cases need the expertise of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Look for sources of compensation other than the at-fault driver’s insurance with the help of a skilled attorney.

Resolve wrongful death claims on behalf of the estate to safeguard the heirs.

When several wounded claims are competing for limited funds, you can: Defend charges of comparative negligence;

Get your fair share of compensation when multiple injured claimants are vying for limited money.

Assist children who have been injured in car accidents.

Every step of the way, the insurance company will oppose you. There’s just too much on the line for you to do it alone. Finding out what a personal injury attorney can do for you is free.

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