Every type of vehicle accident is unique, depending upon the impact location. Situations where the impact occurs along the driver or passenger side are generally known as side crashes, right-angle collisions, T-bone crashes, broadside collisions, or side-impact crashes.
Although the people sitting closest to the point of impact are more at risk of serious injuries or death, every person in the vehicle can suffer negative consequences. After all, the side of a vehicle is its most vulnerable, least protected or reinforced point.
What causes these types of crashes? In most cases, one car doesn’t see another and either fails to yield or pulls out into traffic. It’s not surprising to hear about a side-impact crash taking place at an intersection or four-way stop. At the same time, a T-bone collision can just as easily occur when one vehicle is exiting onto a roadway with a “blind curve.”
The Human Price of Side-Impact Car Accidents
Aside from damages to vehicles, right-angle crashes can take a serious toll on the human body, sometimes leading to driver or passenger death.
Figures from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHS HLDI) indicate that about 17 percent of all fatal crashes in the United States are of the side-impact variety. This makes the side-impact crash the third leading cause of roadway collision death, behind frontal and rear-impact types. It also means that of the 1,188 highway deaths logged in Pennsylvania in 2016, approximately 202 could be attributed to side-impact collisions.
Of course, not all side-impact crashes are fatal. Some right-angle collisions leave drivers and passengers with physical conditions which may persist for years, or even a lifetime. One research piece published in the International Association of Travel and Safety Sciences examined common injury types when side-impact crashes occurred between vehicles of mismatched weights. The authors found that injuries to the neck, torso, head and face, and upper extremities were most likely, especially when sedans were hit along the side by pickup trucks.
Additionally, data suggests that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) such as concussions are frequently associated with all types of vehicular accidents. TBIs can lead to lifetime issues and may even cause an individual to be unable to work for an extended period of time.
Although anyone can be hurt or killed during a crash, children are particularly at risk during broadside collisions if they are seated next to the impact site. A study from Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children concluded that the proper place for any youngster is in the center of the vehicle’s backseat, rather than against one of the sides, to limit injuries to the head, trunk, and neck.
Reducing T-Bone Accidents’ Negative Outcomes
In addition to paying attention to the road and avoiding driver distraction, motor vehicle operators can make specific choices that may lower the likelihood that they would be unable to walk away from a side-impact crash.
- Purchase a vehicle with side-impact safety features. Manufacturers do not make side airbags and related add-ons standard. For this reason, you should always ask about features when considering a new or used automobile. Top new car picks from The Drive in the mid-level category include the Nissan Maxima, Honda Accord, Kia Optima, Subaru Impreza, and Chevy Volt. However, you should always conduct due diligence on the specific generation, year, and model.
- Insist that all passengers use their seatbelt, not just those in the front. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), you could reduce the risk of injury for everyone in your car by up to 50 percent just by wearing seatbelts on every trip. Simply put, they save lives. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a side-impact or rear collision: You’re giving yourself a stronger chance of coming out with fewer medical problems by wearing your seatbelt.
- Restrain young children in up-to-date, safe car seats and booster seats. Having a modern, approved car seat for a young child is a must. If you’re not certain how to best secure your car seat, many police stations and automobile repair shops offer free help. You should also register your car seat with the manufacturer so you get immediate updates on recalls.
“I’ve Been a Victim of a Broadside Crash. What Happens Next?”
While it would be easier on everyone if all insurance companies automatically covered your side-impact crash vehicular damage and medical costs, it doesn’t always happen that way. In fact, plenty of accident victims are left with mounting bills, struggling to pay their creditors and return to their pre-crash lives.
In this situation, you can best serve your family’s needs by making contact with a knowledgeable attorney like those who work at Wapner Newman. A free consultation with a legal professional will help you determine a recommended course of action, giving you a direction and greater understanding of your rights.