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Side-Impact Crashes: Causes and Consequences

The car hit on its side

Recently, we explained why more accidents happen at intersections than on other parts of the road. Side-impact collisions are frequently the result of negligent driver behavior in intersections, and they can be an extremely dangerous form of motor vehicle accident. Learn more about the different types of side-impact collisions below, and get help seeking damages after a New Jersey side-impact crash by contacting a seasoned personal injury attorney.

Different forms of side-impact crashes have different consequences

Any accident where one vehicle is hit on its side is considered a side-impact collision. These types of accidents can vary widely in the level of damage caused, however. For example, side-swipe or lateral-impact collisions, where two vehicles strike one another on their sides, are less likely to be severe accidents. Broadside or T-bone crashes, however, are some of the deadliest types of accidents. These crashes occur when one vehicle hits another in the side while facing head-on, sending the full force of the vehicle into one of the structurally-weaker points of the vehicle.

Side-impact crashes are considered the second most dangerous form of accident by the National Safety Council, coming in behind only head-on crashes. Side-impact collisions cause roughly 25% of all motor vehicle fatalities on US roads each year. Since broadside accidents and other side-impact collisions are more likely than other types of crashes to affect rear-seat passengers, these types of accidents cause approximately 1/3 of all child fatalities in motor vehicle accidents each year.

Why side-impact collisions are so dangerous

The rate of injury from side-impact crashes has remained steadier than those from head-on and rear-end collisions. While impact-absorbing technologies in the front and rear-ends of vehicles has improved, improvements to vehicles’ ability to absorb a side impact have been slower to arrive. Lightweight passenger doors are simply less capable of absorbing impact than other areas of a car or truck. Windows are a particularly weak spot, and when the vehicles involved in a T-bone crash are very different sizes, this difference in size can have deadly consequences. When a raised truck or SUV collides head-on with a lower sedan, the hood of the larger vehicle is more likely to collide directly with the car’s windows rather than the sturdier metal side panel. By hitting only the windows, the car absorbs less of the impact, often resulting in more severe injuries for the car’s passengers.

If you’ve been hurt in a crash in New Jersey, find out if you’re a good candidate to file a claim for money damages in court by contacting the dedicated and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer Andrew R. Jacobs for a free consultation at 973-532-9681.

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