Side Impact Accident Lawsuit
Side-impact accidents take place almost 3 million times annually across the country. While speed, weight and size of the vehicle are all factors, some SUVs and trucks do not have the same adequate side impact protection, door beams, bars and airbags that passenger vehicles are required to be built with today.
Side Impacts are amongst the most serious injury causing types of traffic accidents. Studies have shown that there are over 3 million side-impact accident injuries of various degrees each year. Amongst these injuries, between 10% and 18% involve neck injuries and many result in death. While advancements in automobile safety have reduced injuries to drivers and passengers from the rear or head on collisions, injuries from side impacts are still extremely common.
Side Impacts from Running a Light
In a side-impact accident, typically one driver will have ignored a traffic signal thus “blowing” the red light or stop sign. Side impacts can also occur when another driver (bullet vehicle) driving toward the target vehicle some how loses control, crosses the median and broadsides the target vehicle. The severity of the injuries from a side impact accident has as much to do with the speed of vehicles involved as it do the size of the vehicles. The threat from a large truck, SUV and even smaller vehicles traveling at high speeds blowing an intersection and causing serious injury or death remains regardless of improvements to side impact airbags and other advancements. If a vehicle is broadsided by another vehicle at highway speeds, the results are usually catastrophic. Same holds if the vehicle on a highway loses control and drifts off the highway or rolls over and impacts a tree or a pole. The results of a concentrated impact may in effect bend the vehicle around the tree or pole causing devastating injuries to anyone on the impacted side of the vehicle.
The distance from the side impact, especially when the accident occurs on the same side as the occupant can be as little as half a foot. With such small area to safeguard occupants, side impact beams or bars are required to block or spread the energy and reduce injuries otherwise caused from a direct hit. Such a small distance allows little room for error and only a fraction of a second for side curtain airbags to provide any meaningful protection to the occupants.
Why do Serious Side Impact Accident Injuries Occur ?
When a side-impact accident takes place, the spine is stretched beyond its physiological range from the initial blow. The range of motion that the human spine can withstand from a side-impact is lower than impacts from other directions. When the torso is accelerated with the car seat, it tends to move the entire body in a sideways direction stressing the neck and head as it whiplashes to catch up.
When a the force of the blow from the side impact overwhelms the body, severe injuries including serious whiplash, closed head injuries, organ damage, bone fractures, and even death often occur. Depending on the size and speed of the vehicles involved in the side impact accident, along with the angle of impact the vehicles involved, may also cause rollovers which further increase the potential for severe injuries and death.
Common Side-Impact Accident Injuries
In a side-impact collision, some of the most common injuries include:
- Head Injuries: concussion, traumatic brain injury, face lacerations (cuts), contusions (bruises), closed head injuries, and abrasions
- Neck and back injuries – whiplash, herniated discs, spinal cord damage, paralysis, and other nerve damage
- Chest and limb injuries – rib fractures, abdominal and pelvic injuries along with broken arms, legs and torn ligaments may result from of a side impact accident.
- Additionally, traumatic amputation of outboard arms, hands and fingers from partial ejections can occur as a result of a side impact accident, secondary crash or rollover.
Bullet Vehicle at Fault in Side Impact Collision
Usually in a side-impact accident, one driver is completely at fault. Their negligence causes the accident when the driver fails to obey ordinary traffic laws like speeding or failure to stop. Increasingly, many running the red light cases, rear end accidents and side-impact accidents can be blamed on cell phone use via texting while driving. When texting or cell phone use by the defendant driver can be proved, courts are increasingly allowing a submission to the jury to find whether or not the texting while driving amounted to reckless or grossly negligent behavior to decide whether punitive damages are to be granted against them for their actions.The occupant kinematics in every serious side-impact accident must be carefully examined as there is potential for manufacturing defects to the vehicle’s safety systems, airbags, seat belts, side curtain airbags, side impact bar or beams, roof pillars and even tires.
Side Impact Caused Rollovers
Often in a high speed side impact, the vehicle loses its directional stability and driver is left helpless in trying to maintain control the vehicle. As this occurs, the vehicle often begins traveling perpendicular and starts to roll over side to side. When a driver is hit from behind in a rear end collision at highway speed, they can lose control of the vehicle in the same manner inevitably causing rollovers resulting in severe injuries. Pickup trucks and SUVs are particularly prone to rollovers from these side and rear collision impacts. In a rollover accident, the stability of the vehicle is a factor, but more importantly to prevent injuries is the roof strength and the roof pillar rigidity. In a rollover accident, the seatbelts may in fact unbuckle and allow the occupant to be fully ejected or partially ejected from the vehicle. If a product defect is found and determined to have contributed to the injury or death of the occupants in the target vehicle, then a potential auto defect or products liability lawsuit may be a viable option for the injured persons or their families.
Side-Impact Accident Injury Lawyer
If you or your loved ones have suffered a severe and debilitating injury caused by a side impact accident due to any potential product defect, the Willis Law Firm is here to help you get the compensation you may be entitled to. In such side impact and rollover accidents, the need for legal representation is needed to help secure the evidence, investigate the accident, interview the witnesses, gather the police reports, cell phone records and other critical evidence needed to win the lawsuit for the clients. Call for a free case evaluation. Talk to a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer with over 30+ years of accident and injury lawsuit experience.
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