What is a Side-Impact Collision?

For the victims of a side-impact collision, the repercussions can be life-altering. Because of the nature of a side-impact collision, both the injuries and damages sustained can be far more severe than that of other accident types.

At Springer & Steinberg, our Denver personal injury attorneys have extensive experience supporting our clients in navigating the legal system after an accident. If you have been involved in a side-impact collision – or want to be well informed on the topic – understanding the specifics of this car accident type can help you know how to handle the situation.

What is a Side-Impact Collision?

Often referred to as a “T-bone” car accident, broadside collision, or right-angle collision, a side-impact collision is an accident in which the front of one vehicle hits the side of another.

what is a side impact collision car accident

The exact circumstances of a side-impact collision can vary. For example, a “side swipe” accident (in which two vehicles swipe each other along their sides) will usually have a far different outcome than a T-bone collision.

Side-impact collisions can result in serious injuries, significant vehicle damage, or even fatalities. Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that side-impact crashes account for a staggering 23% of deaths in passenger vehicle accidents – second only to frontal impacts.

What are Common Causes of Side-Impact Accidents?

Unfortunately, side-impact collisions can happen anywhere from a large intersection to a parking lot. But exactly why do side-impact collisions happen?

Many factors can contribute to a side-impact accident, such as:

  • A driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • A driver running a red light or stop sign, hitting another driving legally traveling through the intersection
  • Failure to yield, particularly in intersections where cars are attempting to make left turns
  • Merging collisions
  • Illegal maneuvers, such as illegal u-turns
  • Poor weather conditions, such as icy roads, heavy rain, or fog
  • Distracted driving, including texting while driving
  • Reckless/aggressive driving
  • Speeding

Oftentimes, risky driving behaviors (such as driving distracted, under the influence, or at a high rate of speed) are a factor in side-impact collisions.

What are Common Injuries from Side-Impact Car Accidents?

The nature of a side-impact collision is precisely what makes this accident type so dangerous. When you consider what happens when a car hits you from the side – and the incredible damage it can do – you can see why side-impact collisions are such a serious matter.

First and foremost, the point of impact in a side-impact accident is closer to the driver and/or passengers when compared to other accident types. Additionally, because side-impact collisions are generally extremely difficult to anticipate, drivers may have no time to brake or attempt to steer away to prevent the accident. Sadly, these factors contribute to the sometimes-tragic outcomes associated with side-impact collisions.

Some common injuries from side-impact collision accident events include:

  • Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries
  • Shoulder and pelvic injuries
  • Chest injuries, such as punctured lungs and broken ribs
  • Whiplash, which can lead to torn muscles, ligaments, or tendons
  • Spinal injuries, such as fractured/slipped discs, hernias, or spinal cord nerve damage
  • Internal bleeding/organ damaged
  • Broken bones
  • Cuts/contusions
  • PTSD, anxiety, and other emotional/mental effects
  • Death

A side-impact car accident’s severity and types of injuries can vary greatly. Expenses associated with emergency medical bills and follow-up care, even for relatively minor injuries, add up quickly. Add that to the cost of the vehicle damage typically involved in side-impact collisions, and accident victims can quickly become overwhelmed by mounting bills. For this reason, seeking a skilled car accident attorney is essential to help you pursue fair compensation and protect your rights.

How Can You Prove Liability in a Side-Impact Collision?

So, who is at fault in a side-impact collision? As with most car accidents, proving liability in a side-impact collision relies on evidence – otherwise, it can become a “he said, she said” situation. Although it can be complicated, working with an experienced personal injury attorney is generally your best option for effectively proving that the other driver was at fault.

Some of the evidence that can be used to prove fault in a side-impact collision includes:

  • Photos/videos of the accident scene
  • Witness testimonies
  • Police reports, including citations issued
  • Video footage from a dash cam or nearby businesses/residences
  • Medical reports
  • Reports from auto repair experts

With a lawyer from Springer & Steinberg on your side, you can have the peace of mind of knowing that you have a legal expert collecting as much evidence as possible on your behalf. Hiring an attorney as soon as possible after a motor vehicle accident will significantly reduce your stress, allowing you to focus on making a recovery and moving forward.

What to Do After a Side-Impact Crash

Knowing what to do after a car accident is critical information that every driver should have on hand. Not only can taking the right steps after an auto accident help protect your safety (as well as your passengers), but it will also ensure that you have everything you will later need to seek compensation.

side impact collision accident

After a car accident of any kind, follow these steps:

  1. Remain calm and check for injuries. First, make sure that you and any passengers are safe. If possible, check on the occupants of the other vehicle. Accidents are highly stressful, but staying calm is the best way to handle the situation as effectively as possible.
  2. If possible, move involved vehicles out of the path of traffic. If your vehicle is drivable, move it either to the side of the road or as far away from the flow of traffic as you can (while remaining at the accident scene). Activate your vehicle’s hazard lights (or use emergency road flares) to warn oncoming traffic.
  3. Contact the emergency authorities. Ideally, you or another party will call 911 immediately after the accident (while everyone else is checking for injuries and relocating vehicles). It is important that both the police and emergency medical personnel are on-site as soon as possible.
  4. Report the auto accident. When the police arrive, answer their questions clearly and honestly. You will also provide your driver’s license and insurance details. Request a copy of the police report, as well as the name/badge numbers of all police officers you engage with during this time.
  5. Exchange information and take photos. Although a police report is intended to serve as official documentation of the incident, you should always take your own photos/video as well. Take photos from various angles, both of the accident scene and the vehicles involved. These images can help determine who is liable for the accident. Also, be sure to request the name, phone number, address, and insurance information of the other driver(s). If there are witnesses on the scene, you can also politely ask for their contact details.
  6. Contact a car accident attorney. Before you submit a claim to your insurance company, it is imperative that you speak with a lawyer. The Denver car accident attorneys at Springer & Steinberg will protect you at every stage so that you can be confident that you are taking the necessary steps to receive fair compensation.

Have You Been the Victim of a Side-Impact Collision? Contact Springer & Steinberg

If you have been involved in a side-impact car crash, the attorneys at Springer & Steinberg are here to help. We will work with you to build a strong case so that you can pursue compensation for your medical bills, vehicle repairs, and other expenses.

Contact our Denver attorneys’ office today for more information about how to file a claim after a side-impact collision.


Image Credits: Jaromir Chalabala Burdun Iliya Art_Photo Photo Spirit / Shutterstock


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