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What is a Side Impact Collision? 

A side-impact collision — also known as a T-bone or broadside accident — occurs when the side of one car is struck by the front end of another car. These car crashes most often occur while parking and crossing intersections. In the United States, side-impact collisions account for 25% of all traffic-related fatalities, making them the second deadliest type of reported automobile accidents. (Note: This collision type is second to head-on car crashes which accounts for 54% of all traffic-related deaths.) In this article, we’ll review the science behind why side-impact collisions are so dangerous, how these accidents occur, and how the State of Florida determines who’s at fault.

Why T-Bone Accidents Are So Dangerous

When a motor vehicle speeds up and slows down, you may feel your body pull back and jolt forward. In physics, this is known as an impulse, or a change in your momentum when acted upon by a force (i.e. accelerating or braking) over an interval of time. This is why when you slam your foot on the brakes, you feel a harder jolt as opposed to when you gradually decrease your speed.

A large impulse acting on your body can cause extreme bodily harm and even death. Brakes, airbags, and vehicular crumple zones all work to slow down the force of impact on your body, thereby increasing your safety in an automobile. However, the side doors of many cars are not equipped with the same level of protection offered by the front and rear end crumple zones. This is why side-impact accidents are so fatal: car doors lack the same extent and coverage of crumple protection needed to slow down the force of a car t-boning your passenger door. As with most accidents, the severity and extent of damage to both your car and person depends on the make, model, and safety features of each respective automobile involved in the accident.

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Common Injuries from a Side Impact Collision

According to medical researchers at the University of Miami, the most commonly reported injuries from side-impact collisions occur in the chest and abdomen area. This is due to passenger compartment intrusion which can cause serious and sometimes fatal injuries to your internal organs. Other common injuries from a T-bone accident include:

  • Whiplash and neck injury
  • Head trauma
  • Internal bleeding
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Soft tissue damage

How Side Impact Crashes Occur

One of the most frightening aspects about being involved in a side-impact collision is that it can happen at any moment for any number of reasons. Frequently these accidents occur when one of the drivers fails to yield the right of way and runs a red light or stop sign. In other instances, the other driver may be texting while driving or possibly intoxicated and under the influence, while operating a motor vehicle. In some cases, a vehicle may swerve out of the control of the driver due to a brake malfunction or slippery road. While this list is by no means extensive, determining who’s at fault for the collision can be difficult depending on the circumstances of the accident.

Fault in a T-Bone Collision

In a side-impact collision, any driver involved in the accident can be held responsible; fault is determined by examining which driver ignored the “right-of-way.” In Florida, you must legally yield the right-of-way to all traffic and pedestrians in motion on the road or in a crossway. If two vehicles arrive at an intersection at the same time, the driver on the left must yield the right-of-way to the driver on the right. Hence, right-of-way. However, proving who’s at fault can be tricky depending on the circumstances of the accident. Therefore, if you sustain injuries from a car crash, we recommend seeking legal counsel. If you were involved in a side-impact collision in the greater Fort Lauderdale area, speaking with a professional Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer about the specifics of your accident can help you achieve the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.

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