Side Impact Car Accidents

When a car or truck impacts the side of another car or truck, it’s known as a side impact collision. Depending on the location of the impact, passengers or drivers are at great risk for injury whether they are using seatbelts or the vehicle is equipped with airbags. The uses of seatbelts are critically important in saving lives. But even with the use of the seatbelt, side impact accidents expose passengers and drivers to serious injuries.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has published a technical report on the characteristics of crash injuries among young, middle-aged and older drivers. The study looks at the severity of injuries related to side impact crashes and other types of automobile crashes. It takes into account crash-worthiness data as well. The study found that older drivers are more likely to sustain severe injuries, especially when involved in a left-side impact crash. It would be no surprise to note that the statistics found in a NHTSA report showed that there was a significant reduction in injury severity in side impact cases where seatbelts were used. This would be true for rollover accidents and other non-rollover crashes.

It was reported in the NHTSA report that left-side impact crashes resulted in the most severe injuries to drivers usually to the head and chest. Less severe injuries occurred to the lower portions of the body and face. Interestingly, the percentage of chest injuries increased as the driver’s age increased.

As to right-side impact crashes, the major contact source of injury showed variances among age groups. It was found that older drivers were more likely to be involved in left-turn and driver-side impact crashes than other age groups. These types of crashes lead to a higher percentage of driver chest injuries.

Side impact crashes also are dependent on the kind of vehicle being operated. In cases where a compact car is impacted on the side by a much heavier SUV or even a truck, the potential for injury is greater. Newer made vehicles are often equipped with side airbags to protect passengers and drivers from the risk of serious injury from a side impact car accident. Side impacts cause many of the most severe injuries to drivers and passengers. In one study it was found that although side impact collisions occur about 25% of all crashes, 40% of those side impact crashes resulted in serious injuries to the occupants.

In fact, it has been reported that the front of the vehicle can absorb about 5 times as much energy as the side structure. That measure is determined by the computation of Delta-V. Delta-V is a scoring of the change in velocity on impact. Delta-V is the measure of the amount of “effort” to change the direction of another mass.

Side impact crashes are extremely dangerous to drivers and passengers because of the vehicle’s structure. Simply stated, there is just less protection on the side of vehicles than there would be on the rear or front end of most passenger cars and trucks. According to one study, approximately 8,500 individuals are killed each year as a result of a side impact car crash. Most severe injuries occur when the impact is between the wheels as opposed to near the front of the vehicle or the trunk area. Many such side impact collisions occur because of drivers choosing not to yield to a stop sign, red light or other traffic signal. Sometimes these crashes are called T-bone collisions or a broadside collision.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a side impact crash, contact Kreisman Law Offices at 312.346.0045 or toll free 800.583.8002 for a free and immediate consultation, or complete a contact form online. We are here to assist you and your family so that responsible parties are held accountable for the injuries or death to passengers of cars or trucks involved in side impact car accidents. We have more than 40 years of experience handling side impact car accidents.

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