Side impact collisions are a dangerous type of collision that occurs when one vehicle hits the side. Unlike other types of car accidents, the passengers or driver in a side-impact collision lacks enough protection from the force of the impact. Therefore, such accidents result in catastrophic injuries or even death. Most T-bone collisions result from negligent conduct such as the failure to yield the right of way, distracted driving, and speeding.
If you are a victim of a side-impact collision, you do not have to shoulder the financial responsibility associated with your injuries. By filing a personal injury claim, you can hold the person liable for the accident accountable for their actions and have their vehicle insurance compensate you for the losses.
Dealing with all the legal issues leading to compensation could be very challenging, especially when you have suffered severe injuries. Therefore, proceeding with guidance from an experienced personal injury attorney. At G. Dallas Horton and Associates, we work hard to ensure that all our clients battling a compensation claim in Las Vegas, NV, recover proper financial benefits for their injuries.
Overview of Side Impact Collisions in Nevada
Side impact collisions are some of the most catastrophic accidents you can suffer. This type of accident is known as T-bone due to the shape of the vehicles after the collision. The front or rear end is designed to withstand immense pressure. However, the sides of the vehicle are fragile, and occupants of the vehicle that is hit from the side are likely to sustain serious bodily injuries.
The impact from a side-impact collision tosses the vehicle occupants in a whip-like motion. Therefore, even when you have side airbags, the impact may be too much for your body to withstand. Sometimes, the hit vehicle could go off course and collide with other vehicles making the accident more catastrophic. The most common side-impact collisions include:
A T-Bone collision is the most common form is side-impact crash. Such an accident occurs when one vehicle collides headfirst into the side of the other vehicle forming a T shape. Most T-bone collisions happen when a vehicle is traveling at high speed. In most cases, the passengers on the side that receives the impact have no protection and are likely to lose their lives.
Side Impact Collisions While Backing Up
Side collisions may also occur when one driver backs out of a parking spot. Although newer vehicles come with backup cameras, many drivers fail to see other vehicles behind them. When vehicles and heavy traffic block your vision, it is easy to back out into oncoming traffic. For this type of accident, the vehicle backing out of a parking spot may be hit from the side.
A side swap collision occurs when vehicles hit each other from the side. Side swap accidents can occur when vehicles travel in the same direction or opposite directions. When a driver merges into oncoming traffic or makes an overreaction, they can easily come too close to the other vehicle and collide with them from the side.
Rollover Accidents with a Side Impact
Rollover accidents are hazardous for vehicles and other road users. The vehicle will flip onto its side or roof before stopping in a rollover accident. In many tipped rollover vehicles, other cars are likely to collide with the side of the tipped vehicle. Such accidents often happen when a driver hits a guardrail or follows a head-on collision.
Common Causes of Side Impact Collisions
Side impact crashes are frequent in four-way stops or intersections. Very few people are lucky to survive these accidents and are often left with severe injuries. Understanding the cause of your accident may be a critical step in proving liability and recovering compensation for your injuries. Some of the causes of T-bone collisions include:
Failure to Yield the Right of Way
Oncoming motorists always have the right of way. You will need to wait until the oncoming motorists make enough space to turn when making a left turn. When drivers rush through traffic from all directions, the result could be a severe side-impact collision. At the intersections, the traffic signals will tell you whether or not you have the right of way. All drivers are expected to pay attention to these traffic rules and watch out for pedestrians.
Unfortunately, many drivers ignore the right of way and cross the intersections carelessly. Careless driving means that the drivers fail to slow down or stop at intersections. A driver who violates the right of way will be held liable for the accident and the resulting injuries.
Running a Red Light When another Vehicle is at an Intersection
Sometimes, side-impact collisions may occur when a driver attempting to make the red light enters the intersection at high speed and hits the vehicle that had the right of way. In this case, the driver who violated the traffic lights or drove at high speed will be the fault party for the accident.
Unsafe Left Turn or U-Turns
The right of way applies when vehicles make a left or U-turn in most cases. A side-impact collision is possible when a driver fails to allow oncoming vehicles to create space for safe turns. The driver who makes the unsafe turn could be held responsible for the collision in such a situation.
Driver distraction is any activity that takes away the driver’s attention and concentration from the vehicle. When a driver is distracted from texting, eating, or grooming while behind the wheel, it may be challenging to notice oncoming traffic or even stop at the intersection. A distracted driver may be unable to react to an emergency until it is too late.
A driver’s vision, judgment, and reaction time are impaired when a driver is influenced by drugs or alcohol. Additionally, a drunk driver is likely to engage in reckless conduct such as speeding, running a red light, or swaying. When a driver is intoxicated, they may be unable to see oncoming vehicles and also have a disregard for the traffic rules.
Common Injuries in a Side Impact Collision
Side impact accidents often result in severe and life-threatening injuries. The severity of the injuries resulting from such an accident will vary depending on the following factors:
- Position of the vehicle. A side-impact collision often involves two vehicles where one of the vehicles hits the other from the side. The vehicle occupants that receive impact from the side are likely to suffer more severe injuries. This is because the front of the vehicle can withstand more pressure than the side. Additionally, passengers who are closest to the side of the impact will have to deal with more trauma, resulting in more severe injuries.
- Type of vehicle. Any vehicle can be involved in a side-impact collision. However, in a collision where a small vehicle is hit by a truck or bus from the side, the injuries are likely to be more serious when compared to those of a collision involving two small vehicles.
- Speed of the vehicle. Like most car accidents, a T-bone collision where the vehicles are at high-speed results in more serious injuries. A high speed equals a more significant impact on the vehicle and its occupants.
- Age of the victims. When there are young children at the time of the side-impact collision, they are more vulnerable to serious injuries when compared to adults.
- Protective measures. The measures you take to protect yourself in case of an accident may impact the severity of the injuries that result from the accident. Use of seatbelts or having side airbags could save your life by protecting you from the impact caused by a side-impact collision.
Some of the injuries common to a side-impact crash include:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
A traumatic brain is one of the most serious injuries you can suffer from side-impact collisions. Brain injury can occur when you suffer a violent blow to the head, or a sharp object penetrates your skull. A side-impact collision results in severe trauma to your head, resulting in such an injury. Some of the symptoms of brain injury you need to look out for after an accident include:
- Memory loss
- Sensitivity to bright light and sound
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Severe headache
- Loss of consciousness
Due to the physical, emotional, and financial turmoil that a brain injury can put you through, you can file a lawsuit to recover compensation for the injury.
The violence of a side-impact collision can send a shock wave of energy through your body, causing injuries to your internal organs. Internal bleeding is one of the serious consequences of accident trauma. Unfortunately, this type of injury is not apparent, and you may not notice it immediately after the accident. If you experience the following symptoms after a T-bone collision, you need to seek immediate medical attention:
- Severe fatigue
- Vomiting blood
- Abdominal swelling that becomes severe over time
- Deep purple bruises all over the body
- Pale complexion
- Serious headache
When a side impact collision causes your vehicle to catch fire, you could suffer serious burn injuries. The skin is the largest organ in the body and the first line of protection. Damage to this organ could significantly impact your body’s functions. Burn injuries from a side impact accident may vary depending on the seriousness of the fire:
- First-degree burns. A first-degree burn only affects the top layer of your skin. Such a burn can cause irritation and redness of the skin.
- Second-degree burns. A second-degree burn affects the two topmost layers of the skin and the hair follicles. Such an injury could cause blisters and a possibility of scaring when the burns heal.
- Third-degree burns. Third-degree burns are the most serious types of burns which affect all the layers of the skin and cause damage to the nerve endings. A third-degree burn is characterized by swollen and charred parts of the body. Treatment of a third-degree burn may involve complex procedures like skin grafting.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Your spinal cord is a bundle of nerves and tissues running down your back and connecting to the brain. The spinal cord is an essential structure of your body, and an injury to this part could be life-threatening. Often a spinal cord injury occurs when the impact from the accident causes trauma to your back. A spinal cord injury can be partial or complete depending on the severity of the impact.
The symptoms of a spinal cord injury include:
- Muscle spasms
- Sexual dysfunction
- Numbness and tingling
- Digestive problems
- Loss of motion
- Difficulty breathing
With a complete spinal cord injury, your ability to move parts of your body below the injury may be impaired. Most spinal cord injuries do not recover completely, and you may have to spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair.
Car accidents are a common cause of broken bones. The tremendous force from the side-impact collision may be absorbed by your body, causing one or more bones to break. Any bone in your body could break from a T-bone collision, with the most susceptible ones being:
- The collarbone
- The pelvis
- The femur
- Bones in the ankles
Broken bones take a while to recover, and you may have to spend a substantial amount of time in hospital. This means that you will miss out on work and spend a fortune to cover your medical bills. You are entitled to compensation if you have broken bones from a side-impact collision.
Amputation is the loss of a limb, a finger, or a toe. While amputation is not a common injury, it can result in lifelong disability. Amputation can either be traumatic or medically induced. A traumatic amputation occurs when sharp objects cut your limb from the vehicle at the accident scene. On the other hand, a medically induced amputation is recommended by a doctor when the limb is severely damaged, and there is no chance of saving it.
Damages Available in a Nevada Side Impact Collision Claim
If you can successfully prove that the defendant was liable for the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, before you can recover any form of compensation, you must present the evidence of negligence upon which fault is based. Negligence is the disregard for safety, and it occurs when someone violates their duty of care toward you. Proving negligence can be very challenging, and you will be required to produce various evidence from the accident.
Some of the damages you can recover from a side-impact collision claim include:
- Medical expenses. Injuries resulting from a side-impact collision may leave you with hefty medical bills. If you are successful in your claim, you can be compensated for the amount you spent on your medical tests, procedures, and treatment.
- Lost wages. While you nurse your accident injuries, missing out on work may result in substantial financial losses. Lost wages are the amount you lose in monthly income, bonuses, overtime, and income from self-employment.
- Lost earning capacity. When you suffer a serious injury that requires a long time to recover, you could lose your ability to work and earn money in the future. When your injuries do not recover by the settlement, you can be compensated for your lost future earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering. A T-bone accident could leave you with immense physical and emotional pain. Although your pain and suffering cannot be equated with money, you can recover compensation for this type of loss. While the money you recover cannot eliminate the pain, it could relieve the financial stress associated with the money and help you put back your life on track.
- Wrongful death. A side impact accident has the potential to result in life-threatening injuries. If your loved one losses their life in such an accident, you can file a wrongful death claim against the party liable for the accident. Compensation from the wrongful death claim allows you to cover the burial and funeral expenses. Additionally, the deceased’s spouse or domestic partner may be compensated for the loss of consortium and affection that the deceased would have provided.
Frequently Asked Questions on Side Impact Collisions in Nevada
A side-impact collision is one of the most catastrophic types of car accidents on the roads of Las Vegas. Mostly, these accidents happen in intersections and other situations where yielding the right of way is critical. Involvement in a T-bone collision can be a devastating experience that could leave you physically, financially, and emotionally drained. The following are some frequently asked questions about these accidents in Nevada:
1) How does a side-impact collision happen?
A T-bone collision happens when one vehicle hits another vehicle from the side. In most cases, people assume that the driver who hits the other is responsible for the accident. However, this is not always the case. Side-impact collisions could happen differently. Most side-impact collisions are caused by negligent behavior such as failure to yield the right of way, wrong turns at intersections, and driver intoxication.
Sometimes, neither of the drivers involved in the accident is liable for a side-impact crash. Third parties and other road users could exhibit negligence that causes such accidents.
2) Why are side-impact collisions so dangerous?
The trajectory of side-impact collisions often makes them very catastrophic. Especially when the car occupants are broadsided, the injuries resulting from such an accident can be very severe. Unlike with head-on or rear-end collisions, the barrier between the car occupants and the impact from the collision is very thin. Therefore, the driver or passengers of the vehicle hit from the side are vulnerable to a wide range of injuries such as internal bleeding, spinal cord injuries, brain trauma, or even death.
3) Who is held liable for a side-impact collision?
No one wants to be held responsible for an accident or liability for another person’s injury. While there are times when liability for accidents is apparent, fault can be a hot dispute matter during car accident lawsuits. Like or types of car accidents, the fault for a side-impact collision is determined based on negligence.
Negligence, in this case, maybe any conduct that is reckless or disregards the safety of other people. If you can prove that the other driver or road user was negligent, they will be held liable for the accident and your injuries. Proving negligence can be very challenging, and you will be required to collect numerous pieces of information. Therefore, seeking the guidance of a skilled attorney is vital.
4) What is the statute of limitations for a side impact claim in Nevada?
Victims of car accidents in Nevada have limited time to file claims and recover compensation for their injuries and losses. Under NRS 11.190, you have to file a personal injury claim or a wrongful death lawsuit up to two years after the side-impact collision if your loved one died in the collision. After the statute of limitations has elapsed, you will not be able to hold the negligent driver accountable for your injuries. Additionally, you could miss out on the opportunity to recover compensation for the losses stemming from the accident.
Find a Skilled Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me
The moments following a side impact collision could be confusing for all parties involved. The injuries resulting from such accidents are often very severe, and your first thought is how to recover from these injuries. Unfortunately, you will have the additional stress of trying to acquire some compensation for your injuries from the person liable for the accident. While all victims of a side-impact collision are entitled to compensation for their injuries, recovering compensation benefits is not automatic. Whether you file a claim with the insurance company or a lawsuit in court, battling for compensation can be physically and emotionally draining.
Therefore, it would be wise to hire and retain a skilled personal injury attorney when involved in an accident. At G. Dallas Horton and Associates, we help ensure that your rights are protected and guide you through the claim process to recover maximum compensation. If you or your loved one is battling a side-impact collision claim in Las Vegas, NV, you will need our expertise by your side. Call us today at 702-820-5917.