Kentucky Side-Impact Car Accident Attorney

Car accidents where a vehicle is struck on the side can be especially dangerous and often lead to serious injuries or deaths as a result. They frequently happen at intersections on local and state roads where a car driving across a road or taking a turn onto one is struck due to the negligence of another driver. Side-impact accidents are very common, and we have helped many clients over the years who have been injured in one.

Cars are designed to better withstand accidents that occur in the front or rear than the side.

  • There is more space between the driver and passengers and the bumpers.
  • The front and rear of cars are designed to be “crumple zones” that fold up and absorb energy. Doors are relatively thin so there is not much to absorb the energy from another vehicle, guardrail or obstacle.
  • Vehicles going at even relatively slow speeds can push into the passenger area of the car, physically striking occupants and forcing those in the car to violently shake to the right and left.
  • Seat belts aren’t as helpful in side collisions. More vehicles have steering wheel and dashboard airbags than side airbags in the doors or door pillars.

Intersections are Frequent Scenes of Side-Impact Accidents

Many side-impact (or T-bone) accidents occur at intersections. The National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted an in-depth study of intersection accidents that occurred in 2008. The agency states that of the estimated 5,811,000 vehicle accidents that year, about 40% occurred at intersections.

  • About 2,307,000 crashes occurred at intersections across the country
  • 7,421 of those accidents involved fatalities
  • 733,000 crashes involved injury to one or more persons.

The most common causes of intersection accidents were:

  • Failure to pay attention and see the situation – 44.1%
  • False assumptions of another driver’s action – 8.4%
  • Turning with an obstructed view – 7.8%
  • Illegal maneuver – 6.8%
  • Internal distraction – 5.7%
  • Misjudging another vehicle’s distance or speed – 5.5%.

The Kentucky State Police estimate that for 2014 there were 32,278 reported accidents at intersections, 25.4% of all the reported accidents that year. They resulted in 6,517 nonfatal injuries (28.4% of all accident injuries) and 100 fatalities (16.3% of the total killed) in vehicle accidents in Kentucky that year.

Older Drivers are at Greater Risk of Side-Impact Car Accidents

There were about 23.6 million licensed drivers 70 years of age and older in 2013, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, making up about 11% of all drivers. And these older drivers are more likely to be involved in side-impact accidents, according to the Insurance Journal. It reports that though many drivers over 70 understand their reactions are slower and they drive more carefully, they don’t appreciate the dangers coming from the sides of the vehicle. Research at the University of Massachusetts shows that older drivers process information, including visual information, more slowly making it harder to process the sight of objects moving in the periphery of their vision.

Though rear-end, head-on, single-car and car-pedestrian accidents decrease among older drivers, side-impact crashes increase markedly over age 70.

Older drivers may slow down, helping to avoid accidents in general, but if they try to compensate for the loss of peripheral perception by repeatedly glancing from side to side, this can be dangerous as well. Unlike younger drivers, older drivers usually focus on the direction of the turn once they enter an intersection.

Most Common Injuries from Side-Impact Accidents

The most frequent injuries in these accidents are to the head, chest, pelvis and abdomen, according to the University of Michigan Health System. As side airbags become more common, chest injuries should decline, but occupants of older vehicle models are likely to continue to suffer them. If a car is struck by an SUV or truck, the likelihood of head or chest injuries increases.

The specific injuries that are the most common in side-impact accidents are:

  • Closed head injury
  • Rib fractures
  • Hemothorax (blood in the lungs) and pneumothorax (collapsed lung)
  • Pelvic fractures
  • Lung contusions
  • Broken legs
  • Spleen injury
  • Neck injury
  • Injuries to the aorta and other pulmonary vessels
  • Skull fractures.

What to Do If You’re Involved in a Side-Impact Accident

If you or a passenger are well enough, if it’s possible, you or your passenger should take the following steps:

  • Write down the facts of the accident, the scene, any hazardous road or weather conditions, notes of any conversations with the other driver or witnesses, names of investigating police officers and the damage done.
  • Take pictures or videos of the involved vehicles, the intersection and resulting injuries.
  • Get contact information from witnesses.

It is critical that you do these things after the accident:

  • Get medical attention as soon as possible. Ask for an ambulance if you don’t feel well or are in pain, or ask someone to drive you to the nearest hospital or your physician’s office. Due to the stress of the situation, you may feel numb to the pain of injuries, so you need a thorough medical examination as soon as possible. The longer you wait to get medical care, the greater the risk an insurance company may claim an injury happened after the accident.
  • Save receipts and bills to show costs incurred due to the accident or resulting injuries, and document time lost at work. This information will help us investigate the accident and estimate your damages and the potential value of your case.

If you live in the Lexington area and have been injured in a side-impact car accident, call the Julie Butcher Law Office at 859-233-3641 or fill out our contact form. We can discuss how the accident happened, the injuries you’ve suffered and your legal options. With your help we can start our investigation into the accident. Gathering the facts is critical to developing your case and increasing the likelihood of success if it goes to trial.

You need to know your rights and seek legal protection after a car accident. You can bet the insurance company knows what to do to keep you from getting fair compensation. We can help you obtain justice.