A side-impact collision is when the front of one vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle. Side-impact accidents can cause a lot of damage to vehicles and serious injuries to passengers. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in 2018, approximately 23 percent of all car accident fatalities involved side-impact collisions.
There are various causes of side-impact collisions, including:
- Running a red light
- Ignoring or not seeing a stop sign
- Distracted driving
- Automotive defects
- Poor weather conditions
- Aggressive driving
- Drunk driving
- Making an improper or illegal left turn
- Pulling out of parking lots or side streets without caution
- Driver fatigue
In most cases, the driver who rammed into the side of the other car will be found at fault for the side-impact collision. For help determining fault, a victim should contact a lawyer. A victim may be entitled to compensation for injuries and other damages. The guilty driver’s insurance company may offer compensation to settle the claim quickly, but a victim is likely entitled to more than what the insurer offers.
What Injuries Result from Side-Impact Collisions?
The extent of injuries will depend on the circumstances, such as how fast the driver was going, where precisely the offending car made impact, types of vehicles, and whether other vehicles or property were involved in the accident. For example, the force of the side collision could send a car into other vehicles and result in additional accidents. Depending on which side is hit, a driver, passenger, or both could be injured. Injuries may include the following:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Whiplash and other neck injuries
- Burn injuries
- Facial injuries
- Skull fractures
- Internal organ damage
- Soft tissue damage
- Skin lacerations and scarring
- Loss of limbs
- Bone fractures and breaks
- Brain injuries
Many of these injuries could require months, years, or more of medical care and expenses. Injuries also impact a person’s ability to work, whether it is for a short time or a lifetime. For this reason, it is important to consult with a lawyer. Compensation can help a victim recover physically and financially.
What Compensation can I Get After a Side-Impact Collision?
When another driver is at fault for the side-impact accident, their insurer will try to limit the amount of compensation they pay the victim for their losses. They may argue that the victim was negligent and caused their own injuries. They might try to claim that a victim’s injuries or conditions existed before the accident.
The insurer will generally offer the victim a financial settlement. This offer often seems generous and fair. However, they rarely compensate for future needs, such as long-term rehabilitation and lost wages. Listed below are types of compensation that collision victims may be able to collect.
These damages include medical care related to the accident, such as surgeries, hospital stays, rehabilitation services, medications, medical equipment, follow-up care and doctor visits, and nursing home stays. Other economic damages include:
- Future medical care needs from injuries sustained in the accident.
- Damage to the vehicle and other property.
- Lost wages, including current and future.
- Lost earning capacity.
- Full-time home assistance resulting from the injuries, such as home medical care and other services.
Non-economic damages are damages that are not calculable in dollar terms but significantly affect the victim’s quality of life. Non-economic damages include but are not limited to:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Punitive damages
Punitive damages are awarded by a court. Sometimes, an accident is so egregious that the court will assess punitive damages to punish the negligent party.
It is important to note that if a side-impact collision victim passes away, their family and other loved ones can file a wrongful death lawsuit or survival action to recover damages. Depending on the type of claim, they could be compensated for losing their loved one’s expected earnings, loss of consortium, loss of benefits, and funeral expenses.
How can a Lawyer Help Me with My Side-Impact Collision Case?
An experienced lawyer can help a victim collect compensation so that they can focus on recovery. Determining liability in a side-impact collision case may be difficult. Sometimes, no one will be cited by a responding officer while an investigation is pending. Other times, an insurer will vehemently try to prove the victim was fully or partially responsible. The following includes ways a lawyer can help a victim after a side-impact collision.
This is a comprehensive process involving multiple parties, including witnesses, responding officers, experts, medical personnel, and others. It can include thousands of documents, pictures, videos, and statements. Substantial evidence can help determine who caused the accident, how the victim sustained injuries, and the amount and nature of damages stemming directly from the side-impact collision.
Evidence can include but is not limited to:
- Medical records and receipts
- Police report, photographs, and diagrams
- Witness statements, videos, and images
- Accident scene photos and videos
- At-fault driver’s past accidents or citations
- At-fault diver’s background, including court and police records
- Expert testimonies about the crash impact and injuries
Negotiate a Settlement
Many car accident cases settle out of court. An out-of-court settlement is when the at-fault party’s insurer offers an amount of money to cover medical and other costs in exchange for the victim’s agreement not to pursue a legal claim. During negotiations, the victim’s lawyer will present evidence and a demand for payment that includes compensation for present and future medical costs, lost wages and earning ability, pain and suffering, and other damages.
An insurer will likely offer the least amount possible. The insurer may even claim that the victim was negligent or had a preexisting condition that was not caused by the collision. For this reason, it is essential for a victim to let a lawyer negotiate on their behalf.
Take the Claim to Court
Sometimes, the parties cannot reach a fair and just settlement. The next step is to take the claim to court through a formal lawsuit. A lawyer will prepare a solid case to help the victim recover compensation. After a collision, a victim should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible to determine the best course of action.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Advocate for Victims of Side-Impact Collisions
Side-impact collisions are common and cause significant injuries. If you were injured in a side-impact collision, you deserve compensation for your physical and emotional injuries and property damage. A Philadelphia car accident lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC will advocate on your behalf. Call us at 215-569-8488 or contact us online for a free consultation and more information about your case. We have offices located in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; and Haddonfield, New Jersey, and we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.