Broadside collisions most commonly occur at intersections. In this blog post, we look at what makes intersections so conducive to broadside accidents, other locations where drivers also run a risk of those accidents, and how lawyers can help crash victims get the compensation they need.
What is a broadside collision?
A broadside collision, also known as a side angle crash or a T-bone accident, occurs when the front of a moving vehicle collides with the side of another moving or stopped vehicle. Broadside collisions cause more than 3,700 deaths on U.S. roads each year, accounting for 20 percent of all U.S. traffic fatalities annually.
What makes T-bone accidents so deadly? Here are a few of the hazards:
- A lack of protection for the occupants in the vehicle that absorbs the side impact. The side of a vehicle is thinner than the front or rear, which makes it a vulnerable spot for a collision. Just inches of steel, fiberglass, and other material separate passengers from the point of impact. Unlike an engine compartment or trunk, those materials do little to absorb the energy of the crash. Some cars come equipped with side airbags to address this problem, but even those features cannot eliminate the danger.
- A large discrepancy in the size of the vehicles that collide can result in severe injuries in a broadside collision, especially if the front of a larger, higher-profile vehicle collides with a smaller vehicle at the height of the smaller vehicle’s windows (which offer passengers no protection in an impact).
- Broadside collisions often feature a vehicle moving at close to full speed at the moment of impact, which increases the forces in the crash, the resulting damage to the vehicles, and injuries to their occupants.
What causes broadside collisions?
One person’s failure to yield the right-of-way to another almost always causes a side-angle crash. This often happens, for example, when a driver runs a red light or stop sign, or fails to pick a safe moment to pull into traffic or cross a busy road.
Why do drivers make that potentially deadly mistake? Here are some common explanations:
- Distracted driving. There are three types of driver distractions—cognitive distractions, which draw the driver’s attention from the task of safe driving; visual distractions, which cause the driver to take his or her eyes from watching the road; or manual distractions, which cause the driver to take his or her hands from the wheel. Distracted driving contributes to many broadside collisions in which drivers run red lights and stop signs.
- Alcohol impairment. Consuming alcohol impairs a person’s ability to drive safely by interfering with motor coordination, judgment, and visual acuity. Drunk drivers frequently cause T-bone accidents by ignoring traffic control devices or misjudging distances.
- Turning left. A left turn across a lane of opposing traffic exposes the side of a car to a collision. Drivers who make ill-advised left-hand turns, fail to perceive oncoming vehicles, or misjudge the time they have to cross a lane, risk causing a T-bone accident.
Why do intersections make for prime broadside collision danger zones?
If you wanted to build a driving location tailor-made for T-bone collisions, you would construct a four-way intersection. As explained by the National Safety Council, intersections are inherently dangerous because:
- They feature traffic traveling in conflicting directions
- They require everyone to yield to other roadway users
- They require some limited knowledge of traffic laws to understand when one has the right-of-way
- They put simultaneous demands on the driver’s motor coordination, visual perception, situational awareness, and judgment.
T-bone accidents happen at intersections, in other words, because intersections account for most of the locations on a road where lanes of traffic cross in a “t” shape, and they’re just plain difficult to navigate. Drivers who make mistakes behind the wheel at an intersection face a substantially higher risk of a collision on their side than anywhere else they might commit a driving error.
Traffic engineers have long recognized the dangers of intersections, and they work hard to mitigate the risks. For example, if the town where you live recently replaced an intersection with a roundabout, chances are it’s because a municipal road engineer identified that location as one especially prone to broadside collisions.
How a Lawyer Can Help After a Broadside Collision
Victims of broadside collisions frequently suffer severe injuries for which they deserve, and have a right to, meaningful compensation. A skilled car accident injury lawyer’s job is to secure compensation for victims of T-bone crashes and for the families of those who tragically died in them.
Lawyers for broadside crash victims help in numerous ways, including by:
- Investigating the cause of a T-bone accident to determine how it happened and who should face legal and financial accountability for it.
- Evaluating the injuries and losses the victim suffered to calculate the appropriate amount of damages the victim should receive as compensation.
- Answering the victim’s questions and explaining the victim’s options.
- Preparing insurance claims and legal filings, and initiating legal action against the parties who owe compensation.
- Negotiating settlements, when possible, with insurance companies and defense lawyers.
- Taking broadside collision injury cases to court when necessary to secure payment for a client’s injuries and losses.
Every case is different, but frequently, through these and other actions on behalf of a client injured in a T-bone collision, a skilled lawyer can often secure payment for the client’s:
- Medical expenses.
- Lost wages from being too injured to work.
- Loss of future earning capacity if injuries are permanent and prevent the victim from working.
- The cost of repairing or replacing a vehicle damaged in the accident.
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a broadside collision, contact an experienced lawyer today for a free consultation to learn about your rights.