Side impact collisions occur when the front side of one vehicle hits the side of another car. Also, when cars are too close to each other, they could crash on the sides of each other. Side impact collisions, also known as T-bone crashes, are a result of distracted driving, driving under the influence of drugs as well as failure to follow traffic rules. Depending on the speed of the vehicles and the type of vehicle involved, side-impact accidents could result in serious injuries. If you or your loved one gets injured in a T-bone crash resulting from negligence, you are entitled to compensation. A competent Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney will guide you through the personal injury claim to ensure you get maximum compensation for your injuries.
Overview of Side Impact Collisions
Side impact car accidents occur when a car crashes head-on into the side of another vehicle. Sometimes vehicles traveling close to each other could collide on the sides of each other. In most cases, broadside accidents take place in road intersections or multilane highways. Due to the thin layer separating the impact from the passengers on the side, these accidents result in severe injuries.
If you are injured in a side-impact accident, you can file a claim against the liable parties. Fault in a T-bone accident will depend on circumstances under which the accident occurred. Some of the common causes of these accidents include:
- Distracted driving - A driver is considered to be distracted if their focus and attention shifts away from the road. This can cause straying off the path and hitting other vehicles
- Drunk driving - Drivers operating while under the influence of drugs is likely to cause side-impact accidents. This is because intoxication can cause loss of control and focus on the road.
- Failure to yield the right way
There are two main types of side-impact collisions, including:
- When the front side of one vehicle hits the side of another car. This occurs when a driver fails to yield the right way or runs a red light. Also, in intersections, when vehicles make sudden turns, you may get into a broadside accident. When a car crashes head on the side of another vehicle, the injuries resulting could be fatal. If you suffer injuries in such an accident, you are entitled to compensation.
- A broadside accident can occur when two vehicles traveling in the same direction hit each other from the sides. Such impacts occur when a vehicle is attempting to overtake, and there is not enough space on the road. In other cases, a distracted or drunk driver could sway into another vehicle lane, causing a side-impact collision. Injuries from T-bone crashes have the potential to be fatal and disabling.
Injuries in a Side Impact Collision
Depending on the severity of the impact and speed of vehicles, broadside collisions result in severe injuries. The following are some of the most common injuries associated with T-bone crashes:
Head and Brain Injuries
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of brain injury in Florida. A brain injury occurs when severe force is applied to it. Also, sharp objects penetrating the skull could lead to damage to the brain. When you are involved in a side-impact collision, your head will likely get hit by hard objects in the vehicle. Sometimes, you may be thrown out of the car and hit by a stationary object.
When there is an impact on your head, you may suffer minor scrapes or cuts which resolve within a few days. However, when the trauma is excessive, it will result in brain injuries. Blunt trauma is the most severe type of head injury. This is because a wound may fail to form, and the brain injury will not be noticed early on. Some of the symptoms of a potential brain injury after an accident will include:
- Severe headaches
- Poor vision
- Difficulty in concentrating
The brain is a vital part of the body that controls numerous functions. Injuries to the brain are likely to affect your way of life, making you dependent on other people. If you are involved in a severe side-impact accident, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention. This will aid in the early detection and treatment of your injuries. Also, you can file a personal injury claim against the person liable for the accident.
Neck and Back Injuries
The sudden back and forth movement you undergo when your vehicle is hit from the side can result in whiplash. Whiplash is a common neck injury that causes a strain to the neck muscles. Also, the pressure is likely to be applied to your back muscles as you bend from the crash. This will result in damage to tissues and bones in your back.
When the accident is severe and excessive force is applied on your back, you are likely to suffer a spinal cord injury. The spine is one of the vital parts of the human body, and an injury to this part will affect numerous functions. Spinal cord injuries will range from minor damage, which is resolved with treatment to complete damage of the spine.
Since most medical procedures are unable to cure spinal cord injuries completely, you will be forced to undergo rehabilitation for a lifetime. When the spinal cord is injured, motility below the point of damage will be affected. Also, when the injury occurs on the lower side, your bladder, bowel, and sexual functions will be affected.
Spinal cord injuries are some of the most dreaded injuries in a car accident. This is because of the long periods to be spent in hospital and hefty medical bills. Also, the paralysis that often comes with spinal cord injury can cause psychological pain and suffering. If you suffered a spinal cord injury from a negligent T-bone crash, you are entitled to compensation.
Amputation and Disfigurement
Loss of limbs and severe disfigurement can be a devastating and life-changing experience. When you suffer an amputation, whether traumatic or medical, you will get permanent scarring. This will not only cause immense pain but emotional suffering. Most side-impact collisions are catastrophic, and your limb may get traumatically amputated at the accident scene. Sometimes, when the bone damages are extensive, the doctor could recommend amputation.
Getting an amputation after an accident will make it difficult for you to return to your regular employment. This will create in ages and a future earning capacity. Coping with an amputation and disfigurement is a complicated and long term process. If you or your loved one suffers such injuries, you may have a chance to recover compensation from the liable parties.
An internal injury is one of the fatal types of accident injuries. If these injuries don’t get treated on time, they can result in serious complications or death. Some of the most common internal damages caused by broadside accidents:
- Brain breeds - Whether the wound to your head is closed or open, it may result in internal bleeding. Thus could cause severe and permanent damage to the brain.
- Organ injury - When hard objects hit your body, you will suffer blunt trauma. This can cause damage to the internal organs without external wounds. This can make these injuries challenging to detect and treat. Some of the organs that are affected by such injuries will include the spleen, liver, and bladder.
- Broken ribs - The impact of a broadside accident can cause fractures to your ribs. Broken bones are particularly dangerous since they can cause damage to other internal organs like your lungs.
The distance between vehicle occupants and impact from a broadside collision is minimal. This will result in severe injuries, especially when the vehicles are moving at high speed. Most of these injuries are likely to result in death. However, it is crucial to understand that liability is an essential part of a wrongful death claim.
Proving that the defendant is liable for the wrongful death of your loved one can be complicated. Therefore, it is crucial to navigating this process with guidance from a competent personal injury attorney. If your loved one dies from a side-impact collision, you can recover compensation for the death. By filing a wrongful death claim, you will get benefits that may help you offset burial and funeral expenses. Also, you will get compensation for the emotional suffering that will be caused by death.
Liability in a Side Impact Collision Claim
Several parties could be held liable for a side-impact collision in Florida. When filing a personal injury claim, you will be required to show liability for the accident. However, it is crucial to understand that multiple parties can be held liable for the accident if it is proven that they contributed to the accident. The following are individuals who can be responsible for causing this type of accidents:
- Driver - Distracted driving and driving under the influence of alcohol are some of the common causes of T-bone crashes. When a driver is texting while driving or their conduct is impaired, they will likely stray off the road and hit other vehicles. Also, a driver who suddenly stops in the middle of the road could be held liable for a broadside collision.
- Vehicle manufacturer. Sometimes vehicle defects can cause a vehicle to lose control and hit other cars. Some of the errors include brake failure or tire malfunction. If this is the case, the vehicle manufacturer could be held accountable for your injuries.
- Vehicle owner - When a driver is inexperienced, they will likely try to overtake in the wrong place or make uncalculated turns. Some vehicle owners will hire unqualified personnel in an attempt to save costs. If an inexperienced driver caused the broadside accident, you could file a claim against the vehicle owner.
Most side-impact collisions result from negligence. In Florida, negligence is the failure to act reasonably in preventing harm to others. You prove liability for the accident by showing the following elements of negligence:
- Duty of Care - All drivers in Florida owe a duty of care to other drivers and road users. This will include refraining from actions that may pose a threat of harm to others. Drivers are expected to focus on the road, avoid drunk driving, and yield to the right of way. Also, they need not overtake carelessly.
- Breach of duty - A duty of care is not enough to show that a driver is liable for your injuries. You need to prove that there was a breach of duty, which resulted in a failure to act with reasonable care. This is by showing that the driver was over speeding, making wrong turns, or driving while intoxicated.
- Causation - Before you get compensation in a personal injury claim, it should be clear that a defendant’s breach of duty caused your injuries. Although this should not be the only factor in the accident, it should be a substantial contributor.
- Damages - Showing actual injuries suffered from a roadside accident is a crucial element in a personal injury claim. You can show the injuries you sustained by producing your medical records. After an accident, it is vital to seek medical attention. Also, ensure that all your injuries are documented, and the files stored properly. These records will be used to show the extent of injuries and how they affect your life.
After establishing negligence, you will have a chance to recover compensation for your injuries. However, a defendant may claim that you were partly at fault for the accident. Fortunately, Florida operates in comparative negligence, and being partially at fault for an accident will not deter your chances of receiving compensation. If you are involved in a broadside accident, you have up to four years to file a claim against the liable parties. After the four years, you may not be able to recover compensation for your injuries.
Compensation Benefits for Side Impact Collisions in Florida
Immediately after involvement in a side-impact collision, you need to call the police. Also, you need to seek immediate medical attention to ensure your injuries are detected and treated on time. Also, seeking immediate treatment helps in the documentation of your medical bills, which will be used in compensation.
After an accident, the liable party and their insurance provider may attempt to give you some form of compensation. This is usually lower than you deserve for your injuries. You should not make any deals for payment without consulting your injury attorney. If you are successful in the personal injury claim in Florida, you can recover the following forms of payment:
When you get first aid at the accident scene, this is where your medical bills will start to accumulate. Injuries that result from broadside accidents are often very fatal. Injuries such as traumatic brain injuries and damage of the spinal cord take a long time to heal. You are also likely to incur substantial medical bills when treating these injuries. Since most defendants do not accept fault right away, you will have to settle the bills. Some injuries from a broadside crash do not entirely recover, and you may be required to undergo a lifetime of rehabilitation treatment.
If you are injured in a side-impact collision, you are entitled to compensation for present and future medical bills resulting from the injuries. However, it is crucial to understand that before you get compensation for medical bills, you need to show proof of the damages and type of treatment you underwent. When seeking medical attention, ensure that all your injuries are documented, and the records are correctly kept.
If you are injured in a broadside accident, likely, you cannot return to work immediately. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you will take a long time nursing your wounds. Lost earnings would be the amount you would have earned if you did not get into the accident. Lost wages could be in the form of monthly salary, allowances, overtime pay as well as income from self-employment.
However, you may be required to show proof of the lost income. This is by producing a letter from your employer, which indicates the amount you earn and the number of hours you work. If you get your income from self-employment, you can prove this using past pay stubs and tax return documents.
Future Lost Earning
Side impact collisions are often fatal, and they result in injuries, some of which are permanent. Some injuries will make you challenging to return to your regular employment. However, you do not need to suffer permanent damage for you to receive this type of compensation. As long as the injuries from the T-bone crash affect your ability to earn in the future, you can recover compensation.
If you suffered substantial injuries from a broadside collision, you could file a claim for compensation for future earning capacity. Some of the factors that will influence the amount you receive for lost earning capacity in Florida include:
- The severity of the injuries
- The amount of time expected to elapse before your injuries resolve
- Your age and life expectancy
- The state of your health before the accident.
In most cases, you will be required to produce your medical records dating five years before the accident. This will help establish the injuries caused by the broadside accident. However, if the accident worsened already existing injuries, you can still recover compensation.
Pain and Suffering
Injuries from a broadside collision will cause immense pain. This is both physical from the wounds and emotional suffering from the trauma. Even though suffering cannot be quantified, you can still get compensation. Some injuries from the accident will leave a permanent disability such as amputation or complete severing of the spinal cord.
Also, when there is an injury to the facial area, you may suffer disfigurement, which causes further emotional and psychological suffering. Proving the presence of pain and suffering after an accident in Florida can be difficult. Therefore, it is crucial to seek legal representation. However, the amount you will receive as compensation for pain and suffering is decided by the jury, depending on injury severity. Also, the length of recovery and effect of injuries to your life will play a crucial role.
In Florida, you can use the following documents to claim pain and suffering:
- Your testimony as to how the injuries have affected your life
- Evidence from a mental health professional giving an opinion of your state of mind for legal purposes
- Written advice from the doctor will discuss the extent of pain and suffering you are undergoing from your injuries.
- Prescription history. Prescription history is an indication of the medications you are taking, such as pain and depression medications.
If you are hoping to get compensation for pain and suffering under Florida’s statute, it would be wise to have guidance from a competent attorney.
Loss of Consortium
Broadside accidents could be fatal. If your loved one dies from the accident, you can file for compensation in a wrongful death claim. Loss of consortium is the loss of companionship and emotional support you would receive from the deceased. Also, a successful personal injury claim can see you recover compensation for burial and funeral expenses
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Side impact collisions are one of the most potentially destructive car accidents in Florida. Although these accidents are not common, when they happen, they leave a trail of victims with severe bodily injuries. Most broadside accidents are caused by distracted drivers or drivers operating under the influence of alcohol. If you are injured in a side-impact collision, you can file a personal injury claim against the liable parties. It is essential to understand that before you get compensation in your lawsuit, you need to prove liability for the accident. Determining liability for a T-bone collision could be quite tricky. Therefore, it would be wise to enlist the help of a Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney. If you are in Jacksonville, FL, you will need us in your corner. Call us today at 904-800-7557.