Side impact collisions pose a significant risk of injury or even death, particularly for the driver and passengers of the struck vehicle. This type of accident, including sideswipes, broadside, and “T-bone” collisions, occurs when the front or side of one vehicle impacts the side of another car.
Victims of side impact car accidents may suffer from back and neck trauma, head injury, broken bones, internal injuries, and partial or full paralysis. These injuries can require extensive medical treatment and long periods of time off work. When a side impact crash occurs due to the negligence of another, a side impact collision lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can assist and support you in seeking compensation for your injuries.
What causes a side impact car accident?
Side impact crashes can occur in parking lots, intersections, and anywhere that vehicles travel at 90-degree angles to one another. Side impact crashes may also include being “sideswiped” by a car driving parallel to your vehicle. Fortunately, sideswipe accidents rarely cause the level of injury and damage that a broadside impact does.
Two common causes of full side impact accidents are drivers running red lights and failing to obey stop signs. This can be a result of:
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- “Shooting” an intersection or turn
- Reduced visibility
In some cases, vehicle equipment designers or manufacturers may be at fault in a side impact crash. If the vehicle failed to perform as designed due to a manufacturing defect, or if the product’s design was insufficient to protect the occupants, you may have legal recourse against a third party.
Why are side impact crashes so deadly?
Side impact, or angle, collisions had the highest fatality and injury rate in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Motor vehicle design, vehicle construction, and the speed of impact are primary reasons that so many people die or suffer significant injuries in a side impact crash. Specifically, the space between the driver (or passenger) and the intruding vehicle is so small — and because side impact crashes occur so rapidly — it is difficult to design vehicles that can adequately protect against this type of collision, especially for the passenger side.
What should I expect after a side impact collision?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a side impact collision in the Fort Lauderdale area, you may face a challenging future.
Depending on the nature of your injuries, you may require extensive medical care and rehabilitation. If your injuries prevent you from returning to work, you may lack the resources to pay for your medical care or support your family.
However, you do have options for compensation. Because Florida is a no-fault state, you must first recover compensation from your own insurer. Once you have exhausted your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, you can file against the other driver.
Expect an uphill battle. Insurance companies — both the other driver’s and your own — work hard to minimize the amount they pay out to accident victims. The other driver’s insurance company will likely contact you soon after the accident to offer you a settlement. Although you may be tempted to accept the quick payday, the settlement offered will usually be a fraction of what your case is actually worth.
If you do not accept the settlement, the insurer will likely try to bust your case by getting you to admit fault or admit that your injuries are not as serious as you claim. For this reason, we always advise accident victims to decline the request for a recorded statement, and instead, have us handle the insurance company.
What do I need to prove to recover compensation?
With any personal injury case, you must prove the other side behaved negligently. To do so, you must establish the following:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care (e.g., duty to drive safely).
- The at-fault party breached this duty (e.g., running a red light, backing out of a parking space without looking, making a left turn without surveying the area).
- This breach caused your injury.
- You suffered damages (e.g., medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering).
Why do I need an attorney?
Side impact collisions are tricky. In many cases, both sides will share fault. A lawyer can investigate your accident and build defenses against any accusations of fault.
A lawyer will also collect important evidence to prove the other driver’s negligence. This may include police reports, photographs of the accident scene and statements from any witnesses that may have been present.
An attorney can also assist you by locating expert witnesses that can reconstruct the accident scene and testify on your behalf in court.
A side impact collision attorney will also ensure you do not say or do anything that could jeopardize your claim. He will handle the communication and negotiation with the insurer to protect your right to compensation.
If the insurer refuses to offer you a fair settlement, an attorney can prepare your case for court.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer for assistance.
You may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earnings and future care costs. Although prevailing in your claim cannot make up for the damage you have suffered, it can provide peace of mind and ample resources to care for your needs and care.
Protecting your legal rights after an accident can help you in your quest for compensation for your injuries. In Fort Lauderdale, the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine will provide a free review of your case, so you can better understand your options. Contact us today if you have been involved in a Fort Lauderdale side impact collision: 800-747-3733.