Among the most dangerous of automobile accidents for the occupants of a car on the receiving end of a collision is the side-impact crash. Commonly referred to “T-bone” accidents, these crashes occur when one car is struck on the side, at a perpendicular angle, by another vehicle. By their very nature, T-Bone accidents carry a high risk of injury. If you have been injured in a “T-bone” accident, you should consult an experienced traffic accident attorney to discuss your options. The Atlanta car crash lawyers of Slappey & Sadd will review the facts of your case at no cost to you and help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 404-255-6677 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.Side-Impact Collisions are Especially Dangerous
Federal statistics indicate that more than half of traffic deaths involving passenger vehicle occupants are the result of frontal impacts – meaning head-on collisions. However, one-fourth of all traffic fatalities involving passenger vehicles arise from side impacts – the classic T-bone accident. The accident type is so named because it involves one car striking a second car in its side while traveling a course perpendicular to the stricken vehicle – forming a “T.” Think of a car going through an intersection when a second car comes barreling through from the left, running the traffic light and striking the first vehicle full in the side. That’s the classic T-bone accident.
One Canadian study found that such accidents accounted for up to 40 percent of traffic crashes reported to police. The study also noted that while in frontal crashes where the engine compartment and other front-end-architecture of the care have a chance to absorb the energy of the collision, in side impacts, only the car door stands between the occupant of the stricken vehicle and the force of the collision. Very little prevents the exterior of the car from collapsing under that force and intruding upon the interior, where the vehicle’s occupants are. Some sources contend that cars impacted from the front in an accident display five times more energy-absorption in that impact as opposed to side impacts.
The difference between injuries to the occupants of the striking vehicle and injuries to the occupants of the vehicle being T-boned can be stark. These differences can be exacerbated by differences in the size and type of vehicles involved. For instance, if the striking vehicle is a large SUV and the vehicle impacted is a small sedan or compact car, the vehicle being T-boned – and its occupants – will suffer much more severely than will the SUV and its occupants.Injuries in T-bone Accidents can be Quite Severe
Side-impact collisions account for up to 27 percent of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. each year. Such accidents tend to crush the driver and passengers of the vehicle that gets T-boned. The accidents most commonly happen at intersections where one vehicle has failed to stop for a stop sign, traffic signal or yield sign. The results can be devastating. Common injuries in T-bone accidents include:
- Bone fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, which can include paralysis
- Head or other injuries resulting in the victim going into a coma
- Lacerations, abrasions, and contusions
- Burns, and
Even worse than the initial T-bone collision, the impact of the vehicle coming in from the side can shove the impacted vehicle into the path of oncoming traffic, resulting in a chain reaction that can result to even more serious injuries. Back-seat passengers, who often are not using seat-belts, frequently are ejected from the T-boned vehicle. Passenger ejections are never good, and are a frequent cause of traffic fatalities, as the ejected passenger becomes a missile that will strike anything in its path.
Even low-speed T-bone accidents can result in serious injuries. Because a car that gets T-boned suddenly and violently shifts to one side, moving sideways in the direction of the car that struck it, the occupants of the vehicle are subjected to violent sideways vectors, which can have severe effects on internal organs.Can You Avoid a T-bone Accident?
T-bone accidents – side-impact collisions – happen when one vehicle drives straight into the side of a second vehicle. Such accidents are most likely to occur in:
Intersections where the driver of one vehicle either ignores traffic signals or attempts to make it through a traffic signal that is in the process of changing to red for that driver’s direction of travel. In cases such as this, the signal almost always has already turned red for that driver, and the driver is simply running a red light.
Parking lots, particularly where drivers cut across empty parking spaces while navigating the parking lot. Drivers who stick to the lanes between parking rows frequently are the victims of side-impact collisions with such short-cut seeking drivers, although often the drivers seeking to cut across the lot find themselves T-boned by drivers who used the proper lanes between parking rows.
Roads with multiple lanes in each direction that have cross-traffic that originates from driveways, side roads not governed by a traffic signal, or any other situation where a vehicle on a side road is crossing cross-traffic suddenly.
Not surprisingly, the best way to avoid T-bone accidents is good old defensive driving. Pay attention, look both ways at stop signs and traffic signals, even after the light turns green for your direction, and don’t try to “make the light,” speeding up to get through a yellow light at a traffic signal. When these efforts fail and you realize you are at risk of being T-boned, you should:
Either brake or accelerate as hard as possible, depending upon which action seems most likely to avoid or lessen the impact. Obviously, this is a snap decision, but if you are vigilant, you will have more time to act and thus increase your odds of avoiding an accident or, at least, reducing its severity.
Look for escape routes, including other lanes that might take you out of the path of the vehicle bearing down on you or even driving off the roadway. The ditch is better than a T-bone accident.
If all else fails, turn away from the vehicle about to T-bone you. It might not prevent a collision, but it can lessen to force of the impact and change the dangerous dynamic of a straight-on side-impact collision into something else with less severe consequences.Contact an Atlanta Car Accident Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation
If you have been involved in an accident where your vehicle was “T-boned” by another vehicle, you should consult with an attorney to find out about your options for recovering damages. Contact the attorneys at Slappey & Sadd for a free consultation to discuss your case by calling (404) 255-6677. Our attorneys serve the entire state of Georgia, including Smyrna, Decatur, and Marietta. You also can reach us through our online contact form.