Side-impact collisions, often called T-bone collisions, can have devastating consequences physically, emotionally, and financially, as victims accumulate medical and hospital bills, suffer pain and are unable to work. Side-impact crashes happen most often at intersections and are the second deadliest type, after front-end collisions.
Since the sides of vehicles offer the least resistance to absorbing the force of a collision, they can lead to some of the most serious car accidents — even if side airbags are deployed. Side collisions can be fatal, accounting for 33 percent of all traffic fatalities in multi-vehicle accidents in 2014, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Even if victims survive, they often face catastrophic and devastating injuries such as paralysis, brain trauma, broken bones, amputations and disfigurement, and their lives may never be the same.
If you or a loved one has been injured or someone has died in a side impact collision, you may be entitled to financial compensation to cover medical, hospital and rehabilitative expenses, current and future lost wages as well as lost wage horizon, and property loss, as well as non-economic compensation for loss of life’s pleasures, disfigurement, and pain and suffering. However, your case must be handled correctly to prove the other driver was at fault, or you may never collect the compensation you are entitled to.
Our attorneys at Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters know the courts and the system and what you need to do to win a good settlement. Our experienced collision accident attorneys have helped hundreds of people file successful personal injury lawsuits. With decades of experience and an excellent reputation in the legal community, we are well positioned to handle even the most difficult cases and have successfully represented clients in vehicle crashes of all kinds.
Causes of Side-Impact Crashes
Side-impact crashes are often due to negligence. Typically, they occur when a driver…
- Fails to yield right of way at an intersection or makes an illegal maneuver such as running a red light or stop sign or making an illegal U-turn.
- Drives while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
- Drives while distracted: Texting, using cell phones or other electronics, fiddling with controls, eating, drinking, talking with a passenger, and other distractions.
- Drives while fatigued.
- Is speeding or driving aggressively and loses control.
Side-impact crashes can also occur when a vehicle slides into an object or other vehicle. This may happen if a driver loses control due to dangerous, wet, or icy road conditions.
Sometimes there may be a products liability claim because there is a defect in the automobile which allows the damage and injuries to be much greater than would otherwise be the case. A products liability case is a special and complex area of the law.
Common Injuries of Side Impact Crashes
The force of a side impact can result in multiple and serious injuries and disfigurement. One passenger may be forced into another, or portions of the car can be pushed against the vehicle’s occupants. Common injuries include:
- Paralysis from spinal cord injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Broken bones, cuts and bruises
- Disfigurement from scars or loss of limbs
- Organ damage and internal injuries
What Does Compensation Cover?
Pennsylvania is a hybrid no-fault state. A claim against your own insurance carrier is filed in connection with medical expenses and sometimes wage loss. What you are entitled to depends upon the insurance you have purchased. This is sometimes referred to as “no fault” coverage and is usually in modest amounts. Other claims depend upon whether you have limited or full tort and whether you have executed any waivers in connection with available coverage. Sometimes underinsurance or uninsured motorist coverage is available. These are special coverages where the law is complex and someone very experienced needs to evaluate the situation. Cliff Rieders wrote the book on the Financial Responsibility Law in Pennsylvania which is law that governs automobile collisions, other than products liability cases.
Where fault must be proven, you will need to provide evidence to establish the other driver’s negligence, such as:
- The police report
- Photos or surveillance videos of the scene
- Eyewitness and expert testimony
If you were partially at fault and contributed to the accident, you may still be able to receive some compensation if you can prove that the other driver was more responsible than you were. Pennsylvania has a doctrine called “comparative negligence.” If you are more than 50% at fault, where only one other driver is involved, then you cannot recover anything; however, under that amount your recovery is simply reduced by the percentage of your own responsibility. In multiple party accidents, the calculation is done differently. Pennsylvania also has special laws on joint and several liability as to who can be held responsible and for how much where there are multiple drivers or people at fault.
In Pennsylvania, compensated costs and losses fall into two categories:
Economic damages and non-economic damages.
- Economic damages – expenses which can be objectively calculated, such as medical and hospital, therapy, and rehabilitation costs, costs of equipment such as wheelchairs, lost income, property damage, and funeral and burial costs.
- Non-economic damages – may include pain and suffering, the loss of life’s pleasures, and the loss of society and consortium, which means services and sex.
Achieving Results When it Counts
If you or a loved one is involved in a side-impact collision, you should get legal assistance to protect your rights at every stage of your liability claim and ensure that you get the settlement you are entitled to. Since these collisions are so damaging and reconstructing the accident may be difficult, your attorney may need to work with a forensic engineer or other experts to assess the circumstances of the collision and determine fault.
The skilled and experienced side-impact collision and personal injury attorneys at Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters have spent decades honing their skills and successfully representing Pennsylvania families who have suffered an injury or loss due to someone else’s negligence. We offer personal attention and loyalty to every client, aggressively fighting for their right to compensation. Whether in settlement negotiations or pursuing a favorable trial verdict, we are thoroughly prepared and committed to achieving a just outcome. With our competent staff, we offer strength in numbers while providing top-notch personal service.
We have years of experience dealing with the harm that results from side-impact collisions and have been successful in securing substantial recoveries for legitimate claims.
If you or your loved one has suffered harm in a side-impact collision, your next step should be to consult Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters by calling or by using our online contact form.