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Tulsa Side – Impact Collisions Attorney

Many passenger injuries could be avoided with better side impact protection, according to real world research. In the United States, New Car Assessment Programs (NCAP) are paying more attention to the safety of car occupants in side impact collisions.

According to recent NCAP test results, occupants in most current vehicles are reasonably well protected when struck from the side by a compact car. However, if the striking vehicle has a higher front design, such as many SUVs (four wheel drives), people in the impacted vehicle are at greater risk of significant
head and chest injuries unless head protecting side airbags are installed.

Side impact collisions can be just as serious and deadly as a head on or rollover collision, which is why it is important to hire an attorney to cover damages. Determining negligence, which is necessary to prove liability, is not easy, especially when insurance carriers and legal teams get involved

What is a Side Impact Accident?

Vehicle damage and occupant injury are more likely to be serious in a side-impact collision. However, this depends on the location of the collision, the presence of safety systems, the speeds of both cars, and the weight and build of the vehicles.

When a car collides with another vehicle on the side, the impact zones of the striking vehicle absorb some of the collision’s energy. The impact zones of the affected vehicle may also absorb some of the collision’s energy, especially if the vehicle’s passenger compartment is not struck. Both vehicles are frequently turned away from their intended travel directions.

The struck car may be spun or rolled over if the accident is significant, leading it to collide with other vehicles, objects, or persons. Often, the two cars involved in the collision will not be able to move (and should not move for evidence purposes) because the collision caused vehicle parts to interlock.

What is a Side Impact Accident?

Regardless of who caused the side-impact collision, both (or more) parties should exchange their insurance information and obtain identification and possible statements from any witnesses at the scene. The closer to the accident that this information can be obtained, the better.

It is likely that the insurance companies will need the statements of all parties involved; it is important to always have a truthful and consistent statement. Insurance adjusters have the main goal of trying to obtain admissions or other evidence from the opposing party to lower its insured’s liability after the accident.

In a side-impact collision, proving fault can be more difficult, which is why it is important to leave the vehicles where they are until a police officer shows up at the scene and pictures have been obtained. Other evidence at the scene like skid marks, damages, debris, and injuries can also help determine the fault. It is important to capture all evidence as soon as possible, but it can quickly dissipate, or accounts can be forgotten.

Obtaining all evidence in an efficient and quick manner is not only important to preserve the scene and determine fault but to also meet the state’s statute of limitations. In Oklahoma, the statute of limitations for a vehicle accident (or any personal injury case) is two years. The clock starts running from the date of the accident—for vehicle collision cases.

Common Types of Injuries After a Side-Impact Collision

All vehicles on the roadway must fulfill federal safety criteria and standards for side-impact collisions. However, if a 40-ton commercial vehicle or semi-truck collides with a passenger car, the automobile will not be able to resist the force, and serious injuries will result.

Because there is less space between a person’s body and the point of impact in a T-bone crash, it has the potential to cause severe damage. This means there is less chance of “crumpling,” which occurs when the front or back of the automobile absorbs some of the shock. The driver or passenger who is seated on the side of the automobile that was hit would most likely sustain the most serious injuries.

The following are some of the most common injuries caused by side-impact collisions:
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) or head injuries (typically concussions)
  • Laceration from broken glass shards
  • Herniated discs, whiplash, nerve damage, spinal cord injury, and even paralysis
  • General neck and back injuries
  • Chest, abdominal, and pelvic injuries
  • Muscle, tendon, and ligament sprains or tears

In a T-bone collision, a passenger in a vehicle with side-curtain, torso airbags, and a good side-impact rating may fare better. Vehicles that are heavier are also better able to resist a significant hit. The most damages and injuries occur in smaller passenger vehicles.

Liability in a Side-Impact Accident

The manner in which the collision occurred and which party acted carelessly determines fault and culpability in a side-impact car accident.

When a car runs a red light or stop sign and collides with another vehicle, it is very easy to determine who is at fault. However, there are situations when both drivers blame each other for the accident. Who is at fault will be determined by the facts and evidence of the case.

There are many scenarios that can lead to a side-impact incident, and each one will have a different bearing of fault and liability.

When one driver turns left, a side-impact collision can occur in one of two ways: (1) a car driving left collides with another automobile, or (2) a car traveling straight collides with a car turning left. The turning vehicle is accountable if it was meant to give the right of way but did not, resulting in a collision with another vehicle. The non-turning motorist, on the other hand, is accountable if a driver is making a legal left turn at a green turn arrow, and someone runs a red light crashing into the turning vehicle.

Intersections are the most common site of a side-impact collision. If a driver does not obey the regulations of intersections, he or she may collide with the side of another vehicle. A driver who runs a stop sign or red light or otherwise breaks a traffic regulation at an intersection, for example, might cause a collision and be held accountable. A motorist who is confused, inebriated, or inattentive may also be unaware of the other vehicles and enter an intersection recklessly. Fortunately, more intersections are installing cameras that will identify who is to blame for a side-impact accident.

Oklahoma At-Fault Insurance Policies

Oklahoma is an at-fault state, which means that if it is determined that the driver was at fault, they will be held financially liable. According to the Oklahoma Insurance Commission, all drivers must have a specific level of automobile insurance in case of an accident.

Those engaged in an accident where the at-fault motorist is uninsured or has insufficient insurance to pay the cost of the injuries will likely be covered by their own automobile insurance. Vehicle damage may be covered by certain collision insurance, while injury costs may be paid by any uninsured/underinsured driver coverage.

In order to operate a vehicle legally, state regulations require a minimum liability amount; nevertheless, this is unlikely to be sufficient coverage in the event of an accident. In Oklahoma, the minimum liability coverage is 25/50/25, which is $25,000 per person for physical injury, $50,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage.

The automobile owner’s liability insurance follows the car in Oklahoma, as it does in most jurisdictions, as long as the owner grants the driver permission to drive their vehicle. Additionally, the driver is required by law to carry liability insurance if the owner has failed to obtain it.

The automobile owner’s liability insurance follows the car in Oklahoma, as it does in most jurisdictions, as long as the owner grants the driver permission to drive their vehicle. Additionally, the driver is required by law to carry liability insurance if the owner has failed to obtain it.

Side-Impact Car Accident Statistics

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there were 5,866 deaths from single passenger vehicle and multi-passenger vehicle T-bone incidents in the most recently reported year. This figure accounts for 25% of all fatal car accidents that year. In reality, it was the second most dangerous form of collision, after only head-on collisions, which accounted for about 54% of all fatal collisions in the reporting year.

According to specialists at Monash University’s Accident Research Centre in Melbourne, side-impact car accidents have a more damaging effect on the human body than all other types of car accidents.

In side-impact collisions, the passengers are more likely to sustain injury rather than the driver. According to the IIHS, “passenger vehicle occupant deaths represented 62 percent of the 36,096 motor vehicle crash deaths in [recent findings].”

Frontal collisions accounted for 15 driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles in multiple-vehicle crashes, according to IIHS data. Multiple-vehicle side-impact accidents were responsible for five deaths per million, whereas multiple-vehicle rear impacts were responsible for two deaths per million.

Side-Impact Car Accident Statistics

Graves McLain, Serious Lawyers for Serious Injuries, is the firm to call after an accident. At no cost to you, an expert side-impact accident lawyer will analyze your case. You can rely on our team. We are here to assist you. Every day, Graves McLain assists Oklahomans in obtaining the justice they deserve.

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