According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), nearly a quarter of passenger car deaths were caused by a side impact crash in 2017. This means, more than 5,600 people were killed and many more injured in this type of accident, which is often referred to as a T-bone crash. Given the frequency with which these crashes occur, it’s important to understand the causes, the biggest risks for injury, and what to do if you or someone you love has been hurt.
Understanding T-Bone Crashes and Their Causes
A T-bone crash occurs when one vehicle crashes into another vehicle at a 90-degree angle. Typically, the front end of one vehicle strikes the side door area of another, leaving the cars forming a T shape.
Many side impact crashes occur at intersections, but drivers should be aware of the risks at all times. The most common causes of these accidents are:
- Failure to stop at a red light or stop sign
- Failure to yield to oncoming traffic
- Illegal turns
Common Side Impact Crash Injuries
While car safety features have improved over the years, a T-bone crash is especially serious because passengers are more vulnerable to injury. Many vehicle protections address front and rear impacts, but in a T-bone crash, occupants often have only the doors to protect them. Additionally, such great force on the side of a vehicle may cause it to spin out or rollover. Some of the most common T-bone crash injuries include:
- Brain injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Broken bones
- Back injuries
Additionally, in more severe side impact crashes, the doors can be crushed, making it extremely difficult for emergency personnel to reach victims. The extra time required to remove the injured occupants from the vehicle can affect their emotional and physical recovery.
Potential Damages in a Side Impact Accident
Because injuries in a side impact accident can be severe and long-lasting, they often require continued medical care, time away from work, and many changes to the victim’s lifestyle. When a person suffers injuries in an accident, it is possible to recover compensation to aid in recovery and deal with the financial burden caused by the crash. Victims may be able to obtain compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Future medical bills
- Future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Determining Fault in a T-Bone Crash
Determining who is at fault for a crash in Alabama is especially important, as the state’s contributory negligence rules are extremely strict. Under these rules, injured drivers may not recover damages if they share any amount of fault for the accident, not matter how minor. While it may seem clear in a side impact crash that the other driver was to blame, the situation may be more complicated. It’s important to determine exactly who was responsible. In some cases, for example, a driver may be pushed into another vehicle by a negligent driver. Or, more simply, the other driver may insist he had the right of way even if that was not the case. In any accident in Alabama, it’s important to call the police to file an official report and to retain as much evidence as possible to support your claim.
If You’ve Suffered Injuries in a T-Bone Crash
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a side impact crash, it’s important to take action right away. First, seek medical treatment. Even if you think your injuries are not serious enough to warrant a call to an ambulance, get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. Only a qualified professional can assess the extent of your injuries and your future prognosis.
Second, retain as much as evidence as possible from the scene of the accident. Take photos, write down witness information, and call the police to aid in preserving all available information.
Finally, it’s important to contact an attorney to help address your injuries and recovery. Even if you aren’t sure if you have a claim, an experienced injury attorney can help you fully understand your rights and options. The right lawyer can provide both your best chance at obtaining the most compensation and be a compassionate support during this stressful time.
At Lattof & Lattof, PC, our legal team has helped many Alabama accident victims move forward successfully after a crash. To learn more about what we do and how we may be able to help, call our Mobile office, or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page. You’ll receive a prompt response from a member of our team who can answer your questions and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.