Side-Impact Collisions in New Jersey

A severe side-impact car collision requiring a New Jersey car accident lawyer

At Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., we understand how side-impact collisions – even at a very low speed – can be extremely dangerous. For instance, these crashes can cause the head and neck to violently move in an unnatural motion. This, in turn, can cause discs to rupture, ligaments and tendons to tear and general damage to the spine and spinal canal.

Our firm can put its skill and experience to work for you. We can review the facts of your case and assess two possible legal claims that may be available to you: A no-fault insurance claim (seeking benefits against your own auto insurance carrier) or a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit (seeking compensation from the driver who caused the accident).

Determining what benefits and compensation you may be entitled to receive and pursuing either type of claim can be challenging, especially when you are recovering from serious physical injuries or dealing with the loss of a family member. This is why it is important to contact an experienced car accident lawyer sooner rather than later. You don’t want to make any bad decisions or wait too long to act. It could prove fatal to your claim.

Simply call Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., today at 1-800-LAW-2000 or fill out our online form to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

Causes of Side-impact Collisions

The New Jersey Department of Transportation maintains a list of different crash types used by law enforcement to classify accidents. The list features three different types of side-impact collisions:

  • Same direction sideswipes – These occur when two vehicles are traveling alongside each other and one makes an improper turn, striking the other in the side.
  • Opposite direction sideswipes – These occur when two vehicles are going in opposite directions and one of the vehicles swipes the other on the side. This can happen when one or both vehicles cross a divided center line.
  • Right-angle collisions – These occur when two vehicles are approaching from non-opposing directions and collide. These accidents are also called “T-bone” accidents. One car may go straight through an intersection, while a car from the left or right enters the intersection and hits him from the side.

While all of these types of crashes involve impact to the side of a vehicle, references to side-impact collisions often refer specifically to T-bone collisions because these are the most serious side-impact crashes.

Right-angle accidents typically occur when a vehicle fails to stop or yield the right of way. Examples are when a vehicle runs a red light, or when a vehicle doesn’t clear an intersection before opposing traffic starts moving.

The Dangers of Side-impact Accidents

The University of Michigan research indicates that side-impact accidents can be more dangerous than either front- or rear-impact crashes. Seat-belts provide little protection from a side strike. Also, the sides of vehicles are limited in their ability to crumple and absorb the energy of the crash.  Fortunately, side airbags often are activated, saving lives and avoiding catastrophic injuries to the vehicle’s occupants.

A recent New York Times article also emphasized the dangers of side-impact collisions. The article pointed to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. According to the Times, side-impact collisions are often deadly because “a vehicle’s flanks have minimal material to absorb crash energy and protect occupants.”

The Times also cautioned that side airbags can only do so much in wrecks because they cannot control how deeply the striking car intrudes on the vehicle. The amount of intrusion is the most important factor in assessing the severity of a side-impact collision. According to data from the University of Michigan:

  • A crash with four inches of door intrusion or less is minor
  • A crash with four to six inches of door intrusion is moderate
  • A crash with six or more inches of door intrusion and roof buckling is severe.

The more a door intrudes, the more pressure will be placed on the driver or passengers where the car was struck.

Common Injuries from Side-impact Collisions

The most common injuries resulting from side-impact collisions include injuries to the head, chest, pelvis and abdomen, according to the University of Michigan research. These injuries include:

  • Closed head injuries (concussions and traumatic brain injuries)
  • Rib fractures
  • Pelvic fractures
  • Lung contusions and punctures
  • Femur fractures
  • Spleen injuries
  • C-spine injuries
  • Damage to the aorta or pulmonary vessels
  • Diaphragm injuries
  • Lacerations to the head and neck from windows or flying glass.

A Monarch University study shows that these and other serious injuries are most likely to occur as a result of contact between:

  • Chest and door panel
  • Upper extremities and exterior objects
  • Abdomen or pelvis with exterior objects
  • Abdomen and pelvis with the door panel
  • Chest with exterior objects
  • Head with exterior objects
  • Head and face with side windows.

Call Our New Jersey Side-Impact Collision Lawyers Today

Since 1981, the car accident lawyers and staff of Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., have devoted their legal careers to helping people throughout New Jersey and New York who have suffered injuries due to the carelessness of others.

If you have been injured or lost a family member to a side-impact collision that was caused by another driver, we’re here to help. We provide free and confidential consultations. We can meet in your home or in the hospital, or we can meet by phone, Skype, FaceTime or GoToMeeting. Call us today at 1-800-LAW-2000 or complete our online form. You will not pay attorney’s fees unless we are successful in your case.