Often called a “broadside” or “T-bone,” side impact car wrecks occur when the side of the victim’s vehicle is hit by the front or rear of another vehicle, generally forming a “T.” Anyone sitting on the impact side is likely to sustain more serious injuries than in a front- or rear-end collision. This is due to one or more of the following:
- There is less protection offered to the injured victim by a vehicle door than the engine or a trunk.
- In older vehicle models, there may be no side-collision safety features (airbags or door reinforcement) found on newer cars.
- Many times there is also little warning in a side-impact collision
According to studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), side-impact wrecks are especially deadly for young children. Plus, in the last 20 years, deaths caused by broadside crashes have increased 20% according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). This rise from 31% to 51% is due to relaxed speed limits on thoroughfares and freeways and a greater number of heavier SUVs on the road since 1999. Today, 29% of all vehicle occupant fatalities occur in T-bone vehicle wrecks.
Common Injuries from Side-Impact Collisions
While injuries in a side-impact wreck differ in severity depending on the speed and force of impact, the following are the most frequent injuries reported in U.S. insurance claims.
Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – A concussion can be caused by either violent shaking of the head or a direct blow to the skull. More violent brain injuries occur if the victim’s head strikes a part of the collapsing vehicle “cage” in a T-bone accident. The severity of such brain injuries can range from mild to severe. More serious TBIs result in impaired thinking, degraded language function, lower sensation recognition, and decreased emotional stability. Though 75% of annually reported TBIs are concussions (mild TBI), a severe TBI produces conspicuous – often lifelong – neurological and cognitive debilitation.
Thoracic (chest) Trauma – A lot of upper-body injuries caused by a broadside accident occur in the chest to the pulmonary (heart) and/or lung functions, restricting the flow of air and/or blood. In more severe chest trauma injuries, there can be direct lung, bronchial, heart, and esophageal injuries which can endanger the victim and require emergency, life-saving medical treatment. These injuries can be even more life threatening if any of the victim’s ribs are broken or damaged in the wreck.
Abdominal injuries – Liver, kidney, and spleen damage from side-impact trauma are also common in a T-bone accident, and it is not unusual for victims to suffer piercing injuries to the lower gastrointestinal organs from vehicle debris.
Broken Arms/Hips/Legs – The force of a broadside car wreck can shatter even the thickest bones in the largest of victims. Connective cartilage and muscles in hips and knees are also acutely susceptible to debilitating injury.
Even though today’s new vehicles have side-impact airbags that surround drivers and passengers in reinforced “safety cages,” these protective enhancements cannot completely insulate passengers from serious injury in side-impact collisions – especially young children.
Side-impact crashes can cause vehicle occupants to severely jar their heads and necks, producing whiplash injuries. These same forces can toss passengers about like rag dolls – anywhere in the vehicle. Sometimes the G-forces of the accident can be so strong that passengers are ejected from the vehicle, sometimes even when they are belted in, but most certainly if they are not wearing safety restraints.
When Injured in a Broadside Vehicle Wreck, Protect your Compensation Rights
Side-impact car crashes usually occur at intersections when drivers run red lights or stop signs. Broadsides come with a significantly higher chance of causing serious bodily injury damage when a smaller car is T-boned by a larger vehicle with a higher bumper. The speed and size of the striking car determine the severity of your injuries.
In 9 out of 10 instances, someone’s negligence is the cause. That driver’s insurance company will likely oppose your claim for damages, such as your medical bills, totaled-out vehicle, and pain and suffering. They might offer you a mere pittance compared to what you need – and are entitled to by law. In such instances, a seasoned law firm such as Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law can defend your compensation rights, investigate the wreck, and aggressively press your claim.
If you and/or your family have been injured in a side-impact “T-bone” vehicle accident and you need help, call our Houston auto accident attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law today at toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 or fill out our online form to arrange a free consultation.