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Car Accident

California Side Impact Collision Accident Lawyer

California side impact collisions (aka T-bone accidents) are one of the most deadly types of motor vehicle collisions.  There are more fatal broadside or side impact collisions than any other single type of California traffic accident according to the CHP Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS).  There were 914 fatal broadside collisions in the most recent year for which data is available.  A side impact or broadside collision occurs when the front of an oncoming vehicle slams into the side of another vehicle during a collision.  This type of collision is commonly scene at intersections. While the severity of injury suffered in a California side impact collision can vary depending on the speed of the vehicles and which area on the side of the vehicle is struck, collisions where the vehicle is struck between the front and rear tires often result in catastrophic injuries like spinal cord injuries, brain injury, loss of limbs and wrongful death.

Understanding the Unique Dangers of Side Impact Collisions

Side impact collisions generally are more dangerous than other types of collision because the front of a vehicle where the engine is located is heavier and stronger than a car door or window.  When a T-bone collision occurs in an intersection, the front end of one vehicle may completely collapse the door or side panel of the other vehicle resulting in devastating injuries.  When the vehicle that crashes into a passenger vehicle is a SUV, pickup truck or tractor-trailer, the weight differential can mean horrible carnage and permanent injury.

The vehicle design features of most motor vehicles are woefully inadequate given the high risk of serious injury to those involved in side impact collisions.  Many vehicles still are not equipped with side impact air bags and lack sufficient structural integrity when absorbing the force of impact in a side impact crash.  Even in vehicles equipped with side impact air bags, they may not provide adequate protection because these dangerous crashes often result in more than a single impact.  When a vehicle is struck broadside with sufficient force, it may be sent spinning into other vehicles or rollover.  Because the airbag will have deployed on the first impact, the air bags provide no protection for these secondary impacts.

Risk Factors Contributing to Side Impact Crashes in California

The most common location for a side impact collision is in an intersection.  When vehicles run red lights or fail to stop at stop signs, there is a significant risk that they will hit a vehicle entering the intersection on a green light from the side.  Vehicles at uncontrolled intersections or that disregard yield signs or other right of way rules also are a common cause of intersection T-bone collisions.  Municipalities and other governmental entities that design intersections and negligent drivers may contribute to side impact collisions.  Typical forms of unsafe conduct that may result in a California side impact collision include the following:

  • Texting messaging and driving
  • Driving while intoxicated by alcohol (i.e. drunk driving)
  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Speeding so that you cannot safely stop when a traffic light changes
  • Drivers who do not comply with stop signs, stop lights and yield signs
  • Failure to follow right of way rules
  • Driver inattention when approaching intersections
  • Unsafe turns
  • Drivers impaired by medical marijuana or other drugs
  • Driving the wrong way against traffic

Tangible and Intangible Forms of Monetary Recovery for California T-Bone Accidents

While this list is not dispositive of all the ways that a side impact or T-bone accident may occur, these are common scenarios that may result in a deadly side impact collision.  When a vehicle is struck broadside by another vehicle, the vehicle occupant on the side of the vehicle that is hit generally will be exposed to the most serious injuries.  The side of the vehicle that is struck absorbs the majority of the energy from the collision.  When a car door and window are crushed in a potentially fatal California broadside collision, vehicle occupants may suffer serious injuries including:

  • Bone crush injuries
  • Severe trauma to the head and brain
  • Paralysis from spinal cord injuries
  • Full thickness burns
  • Abrasions and deep lacerations
  • Disfigurement
  • Fatal internal organ damage
  • Dislocations and other joint injuries
  • Dismemberment
  • Fatalities

Most drivers never consider the possibility that they might be the victim of a side impact collision when traveling California streets and highways.  When one suffers these types of extremely painful and incapacitating injuries, it can be difficult to think rationally about how to proceed.  The decisions you make and actions you take in the aftermath of a California T-bone accident may determine the resources at your disposal to pay your medical bills and/or other household bills as well as compensate for any negative impact on your quality of life. An experienced California side impact lawyer may be able to obtain a wide range of compensation for you if you are injured or lose someone you love in a broadside crash including:

  • Lost income
  • Damaged property
  • Grief and mental anguish
  • Costs of medical care and treatment
  • Endurance of physical pain
  • Impaired household services and companionship of a spouse
  • Diminished enjoyment of life
  • Cost of funeral/burial
  • Exemplary/Punitive damages designed to discourage particularly dangerous behavior

California side impact accident lawyers understand the devastating toll of suffering a sudden debilitating injury.  Experienced side impact accident lawyers can provide careful investigation of the facts, thorough analysis of the law, effective negotiation with insurance companies and persuasive courtroom advocacy.  A California side impact accident attorney may be able to answer your questions and advise you regarding your legal rights and remedies.

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