The settlement value of a side-impact collision has a higher average settlement value than the average car crash. Why? Any impact on the side of a vehicle is dangerous for the passengers who are seated behind a thin wall just a few inches away from the sight of the impact. So, again on average, our car crash attorneys see more serious injuries from these types of crashes. This is, of course particularly true if the victim is on the same side as the impact.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, side-impact and rear-end collisions are the most common type of non-fatal car accidents. This means that side-impact collisions are responsible for a significant portion of the millions of dollars in property damage and medical bills lost due to car accidents every year.
In terms of fatalities, broadside collisions, when the front of one car rams into the side of another, accounted for 18.6% of the nation's fatal car crashes. "Sideswipes" accounted for an additional 2.6% for a combined total of 21.2%. That's higher than any other type of accident, including head-on collisions.
Head-on collisions are deadly. You knew that before you got here, right? A head-on collision of two cars traveling at 45 miles an hour is the equivalent of one car hitting a brick wall at 90 miles an hour. However, our lawyers see far fewer head-on crashes than side-impact collisions. Intersections, where many side-impact collisions happen, are notoriously accident-prone.
Side impacts can result in serious injury due to the way that cars are designed. In the front and back of a car, bumpers, engine, and trunk space create a buffer between passengers and a crash. The sides of a car are much more vulnerable. They are thin, partially made of glass, and designed to crumple to absorb the impact of a collision.
This becomes a disadvantage with a side impact because the walls of the car are punched inward, injuring the people inside. Side airbags were designed to cushion car passengers against these blows. Seatbelts, however, are not much help in this situation. The effectiveness of safety features, as is the case with any car accident, depends on the severity of the crash.Side Impact Collision Injuries
The location and severity of injuries sustained during a side impact accident depend somewhat on where a person is sitting relative to the point of impact. Passengers sitting on the side where the vehicle is struck are more likely to have serious injuries when broadsided compared with passengers seated on the opposite side.
Passengers seated on the near side of the impact are injured by the other vehicle crushing the car door into them and by the sudden change in direction and velocity. The entire body can be injured by side-impact, but the most commonly injured areas of side-impact collision injuries are the chest, elbow, abdomen, head, neck, and pelvis. The most severe side impact injuries involve trauma to the brain, heart, and thoracic aorta. The aorta is the largest artery in the body, and the thoracic aorta is the section of the aorta that runs through the chest.
Passengers seated on the far side of the impact are likewise injured by the sudden change in direction and velocity as well as by projectiles. Though the side of the car doesn't come into the cabin and hit them, their bodies can still be thrown into the side and other parts of the car. Injuries like head trauma, contusions, whiplash, and broken bones are just as possible for these passengers.
- Type of injuries surgeons see in sideswipe car accidents
Injuries can be worse for vulnerable passengers such as seniors and children. The safest place for a child to sit is in the middle seat, where they are protected from colliding with either side of the car.Negligent Driving Causes Side-Impact Collision Injuries
Sometimes, a broadside or sideswipe accident is the result of negligent driving. In certain cases, it is possible to prove that a driver could have prevented the damage from being done if he or she was being reasonably careful.
Many successful claims include some variation on the at-fault driver not stopping when other drivers had the right of way. For example, if a driver doesn't stop at a stop sign and broadsides a car that was already moving through the intersection, they negligently failed to observe and follow posted traffic rules.
If the at-fault driver's insurance fails to cover the cost of your property damage, medical bills, and lost time at work or fails to compensate you for your pain and suffering, you can file a lawsuit with the help of our lawyers.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, please contact us for a free consultation at 1.800.553.8082 or online, here.
Where is the Risk of Serious Injury the Greatest in Side Impact Crashes?
There are three types of side-impact collisions where our lawyers see the most serious injuries:
- Running or trying to run a red light or stop sign (how to win a red light case)
- Taking a left turn
- Pulling out into oncoming traffic
Our car accident lawyers have had some very serious injury cases from people pulling out of parking spaces into traffic. But these are the exceptions. Normally, these are relatively minor injuries.
Side impact crashes are the rare motor vehicle accidents where the risk being greater if you are in the back seat.Side Impact Collision Settlements and Verdicts
Below are some recent settlements and verdicts in sideswipe injury cases. These help understand the settlement payouts in this type of car accident. This helps you better understand the value of your case. Still, if you are trying to drill down on the potential settlement compensation payouts for your claim, you are better off looking at the type of injury than the type of accident.
- August 2021, Maryland, $600,000 Verdict: A 69-year-old woman traveled on Lake Avenue in Baltimore City. Another vehicle struck her vehicle’s front passenger side. The woman was brought to the hospital. She was diagnosed with four right rib fractures. The woman experienced recurring abdominal pain. She could not return to work. The woman alleged that the at-fault driver’s negligence caused her injuries. She claimed she failed to yield the right-of-way before turning left. The woman received a $600,000 jury verdict.
- August 2021, Maryland, $56,582 Verdict: A 33-year-old woman approached the intersection of Ritz Way and Virginia Manor Roadway in Prince George’s County. Another vehicle struck her vehicle’s front passenger side. The woman suffered a left wrist fracture, the aggravation of her pre-existing neck injury, and a neck sprain. She underwent acupuncture, chiropractic, and physical therapy. The woman’s wrist injury resolved after four months, while her neck pain returned to pre-collision levels after 19 months. She alleged that the at-fault driver’s failure to yield the right-of-way caused her injuries. The Prince George’s County jury awarded $56,582.
- June 2021, Maryland, $300,000 Verdict: A man traveled along Crain Highway. Another driver cut him off. The man subsequently sideswiped the vehicle. He presented to an urgent care hours later. The man was diagnosed with thoracic and lumbar sprains. He underwent 30 months of chiropractic therapy. The man’s back injury became permanent. He could no longer sit for extended periods. The man alleged that the at-fault driver’s negligence caused permanent injuries. He claimed he drove recklessly. The jury awarded $300,000.
- October 2020, Maryland, $975,000 Settlement: A 60-something man entered the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Baker Street in Baltimore City. He was subsequently broadsided. The man went into cardiac arrest. He also suffered chest and extremity contusions and abrasions, lung and liver lacerations and contusions, and right clavicle, rib, and sternum fractures. The man died hours later at the University of Maryland Hospital’s Shock Trauma Center. His children alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. They claimed he ran a red light and failed to yield the right-of-way. This case settled for $975,000.
- January 2020, Maryland, $5,012 Verdict: A 40-something woman drove along the Fallsway in Baltimore City. She proceeded through an intersection. The woman was broadsided. She was diagnosed with soft-tissue neck and back injuries and a right-hand injury. The woman came under an orthopedist's care. Her neck and back injuries were resolved. However, the woman’s left-hand injury did not. She periodically wore a hand brace. The woman alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. She claimed he failed to watch the road and yield the right-of-way before approaching the intersection. The Baltimore City jury awarded $5,012.
- September 2019, Maryland, $17,900 Verdict: A woman and her son are driving down the road in their minivan. Another driver attempts to pull out of a gas station and does not yield to oncoming traffic. In doing so, she hits the plaintiff's minivan, resulting in injuries to both mother and son. The plaintiff hires a side impact accident lawyer and seeks compensation for her and her son's injuries, their medical expenses, and her lost wages. The defendant argues that the plaintiff, conversely, struck her vehicle and that the side-impact collision injuries sustained were less severe than the plaintiff claims. However, the defendant later admits responsibility. At trial, the plaintiff is awarded $7,400 for her past medical expenses, $4,000 for noneconomic damages, and $6,500 on behalf of her son.
- April 2017, Maryland, $855,513 Verdict: The plaintiff and his wife are traveling southbound on Monroe Street at its intersection with Lexington Street in Baltimore City. Instead of stopping at the stop sign before pulling out onto Monroe street, an MTA mobility bus pulls into the intersection and t-bones the plaintiff's vehicle. The plaintiff is rushed to the hospital. His femur, wrist, and scapula are fractured, requiring surgery. Long after the incident, the plaintiff continues to have difficulty walking, standing, sitting, and using stairs. He relies on opiates to relieve his enduring pain. The defendants, the bus driver and bus company, admit liability for the accident. The plaintiff's award includes compensation for pain and suffering and past medical.
- February 2017, Maryland, $25,000 Verdict: A man is driving on Route 3 in Anne Arundel County and is about to pass the intersection with Route 424. While in the intersection, he is broadsided by another car. The man has several injuries from the crash to his ankle, neck, arms, knee, and shoulder. He claims to have suffered significant emotional distress in addition to missing over a month from work while he went to physical therapy.
- January 2013, Maryland, $195,000 Settlement: A self-employed carpenter is driving southbound on South Notch Road, approaching Thompson Corner Road in St. Mary's County. While attempting to cross the intersection, he is broadsided by a second driver. Following the accident, he is treated for aggravation of pre-existing shoulder and knee injuries. After receiving two surgeries, one to assess a partial rotator cuff tear and a second to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee, he is assigned a 15% right shoulder impairment and a 20% left knee impairment. His treating surgeon says that in the future, a total knee replacement will be necessary. The man files a motor vehicle negligence suit against the driver, claiming that while he, the plaintiff, entered the intersection at a green light, the defendant entered the intersection at a blinking red light. The defendant disputes the plaintiff's allegations and argues that the plaintiff failed to make any attempt to avoid the collision, making him partially negligent. The defendant's counsel also argues that the plaintiff suffered from pre-existing arthritis and should recover without the need for surgery. The defendant agrees to make a side impact settlement payout of $195,000.
- September 2013, Maryland: $36,286 Verdict: A 65-year-old retiree is driving in a shopping center parking lot in Baltimore County. Like most shopping center parking lots, it contains travel lanes and stop signs. As he is driving, another driver fails to stop at a stop sign and broadsides the passenger side of his vehicle. Ten days after the accident the man visits his chiropractor with neck, lower back, and right shoulder pain. He is diagnosed with a re-tear in his right rotator cuff. The tear had received surgical repair before the accident. The man then undergoes a second surgery to undo the damage done to his once repaired rotator cuff. The man hires a T-bone accident attorney and sues the driver of the vehicle that broadsided him, claiming that the defendant was negligent in failing to obey the posted stop sign. The defendant admits responsibility. But the defense lawyer argues that the force of this side impact collision was not severe enough to cause the plaintiff's rotator cuff to re-tear. The plaintiff's orthopedic surgeon who performed the second surgery testifies. He offers the opinion that the impact did cause the re-tear and that rotator cuff surgery was necessary. A Towson jury finds in favor of the plaintiff and awards him a compensation payout of $36,286.
Our lawyers fight to get our clients the money they deserve. This may be by a great settlement or, if necessary, at trial. Our mission is to maximize the value of your case. Call us to discuss your case at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.