Side Impact Collisions: Discover The 6 Things That Makes These Some of The Most Dangerous Accidents

side impact collision
The severity of side impact collisions is greater than that of head-on or rear-end collisions because the person involved is exposed to more danger. Additionally, injuries sustained in these accidents may not be noticeable immediately, making them even more hazardous. Any type of vehicular accident can result in serious harm or even fatality.

What Are Side Impact Collisions?

Side impact collisions, sometimes referred to as “broadside” or “T-bone” collisions, take place when two vehicles hit each other at nearly a 90-degree angle. This type of crash is unlike head-on or rear-end collisions as it occurs when one vehicle’s doors meet the side of the other car–creating an ‘T’ shape. The most frequent place for side impact collisions are intersections. Take Driver A, who is lawfully passing through an intersection, and Driver B coming from the opposite direction who disregards the red light at the junction and crashes into the side of Driver A’s vehicle simultaneously.

What Makes Side Impact Collisions So Dangerous?

Modern vehicles are designed to mitigate the force of a head-on or rear-end collision. If you get hit from the front, your car’s bumper, engine, and driver’s side airbag–combined with the other vehicle’s “crumple zones”–will absorb some of the kinetic energy from the crash, hopefully limiting any injuries. On the other hand, in a side impact accident you’re generally only guarded by your door and glass. In side impact collisions, the struck car can spin or be flipped over, leading to additional impacts with different objects and structures. Unlike other types of accidents, even if the speed of the collision is not high, you are still likely to experience its full force. In 2015, 5,593 individuals passed away in side-impact collisions at a national level. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s latest statistics indicate that these incidents are responsible for approximately 25% of fatal auto accidents. Of the fatalities, about 3,800 occurred in cars with the rest split between trucks and SUVs.

Types of injuries that are expected:

  • Spinal and neck injuries. In a car accident, the head remains stationary upon impact and the force is thus transferred mainly to the neck. This sudden and rapid movement can cause ligaments and muscles in the neck to be stretched beyond their normal limit. With your head then ‘catching up’ by pulling back in the opposite direction, this creates a whiplash effect that can be damaging to your spine.
  • Traumatic brain injuries. A concussion is a term for traumatic brain damage – which can be the result of whiplash from an accident. Impact to the head, such as when it hits a steering wheel or window during an accident, can cause a concussion. Unfortunately, its effects may not be evident immediately and cognitive issues may take hours, days or even weeks to manifest after the incident.
  • Injuries to limbs. In side impact collisions, it is not uncommon for limbs to be smashed into the door, dashboard, or other seats in the car resulting in broken bones. Such limb injuries as brain traumas may not be immediately perceptible; thus you may go a long time without noticing any of its symptoms.
  • Chest injuries. Contusions to the chest from side impact collisions may be minor, but they can also indicate broken ribs or internal bleeding and thus necessitate surgery.
  • Are my injuries the fault of the other driver?

    Spinal and neck injuries. The neck experiences a severe jolt from the rapid movement of the head during automobile accidents because the head typically remains stationary upon impact. This abrupt motion strains and stretches ligaments and muscles in the neck, and when the head follows suit, it pulls in another direction to add strain on the spine resulting in whiplash.
  • Traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain damage, which is often referred to as a concussion, can be caused by whiplash from an accident. Blunt force contact to the head can also result in a concussion, for instance if your head hits the steering wheel or window. Unfortunately, you may not experience catastrophic brain damage right away and it could take hours, days or even weeks before the impact on your cognitive functioning is realized.
  • Injuries to limbs. In a side-impact crash, it’s common for arms and legs to be thrust into the car door, dashboard, or other seats in the vehicle; this may cause broken bones. Additionally, some limb traumas (e.g., head injuries) may not be immediately identifiable – it could take some time before symptoms are observed.
  • Chest injuries. Bruises or contusions to the chest may occur as a result of side impact collisions. Typically, these are minor injuries, but they may indicate broken ribs or internal bleeding, which would necessitate surgery.

    Are my injuries the fault of the other driver?

    Determining who had the right of way is essential in inside-impact car accidents, as these collisions usually happen when one driver breaks traffic laws or ignores the other’s legal right to be in the intersection. In many cases, figuring out who was at fault is uncomplicated. If responsibility is clear, the liable motorist may acknowledge it. In the event of a “he said, she said” dispute, certain steps must be taken in order to save any evidence that might demonstrate the other motorist’s accountability; these are:
  • Call the police. You should still get an official police report of the accident, even if you and the other driver don’t begin debating about who is at fault.
  • Take pictures. In today’s day and age, a high-resolution camera is practically always accessible with the help of smartphones. If an accident involving your car occurs, it is wise to document it by taking photographs of the damaged vehicle and any skid marks on the road. This evidence can be used for reconstructing the events that transpired later on.
  • Locate witnesses. Gather the names and contact information of all witnesses to the accident and have the police speak with them when they arrive.
  • Be wary of the first offer from an insurer since they are looking to protect their insured and themselves, not you. If the other motorist admits fault, their insurance company might be willing to settle quickly in order to avoid a personal injury lawsuit. Settling quickly after a side impact collision is often not wise, as numerous significant injuries, such as whiplash and concussions, may not be evident for weeks. Thus, it is inadvisable to let the opposing driver’s insurance company pressure you into accepting a settlement that may not cover all of your medical costs.

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