What You Should Know about Side-Impact Accident Legal Claims

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Key Points:

  • Sideswipe, T-bone, and angular collisions are a daily occurrence on Atlanta’s congested roadways and interstates, often producing catastrophic injuries.
  • If you are involved in a side-impact accident, proving who was at fault is an essential step to building a strong legal claim for your damages, but it can also be a huge challenge because the facts are easily disputed in these types of collisions.
  • The at-fault driver can be held responsible for all costs associated with the crash, including medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, or wrongful death.

There are all kinds of situations that can result in a side-impact car accident, whether caused by simple carelessness or a deliberate traffic violation. With Atlanta’s many congested roadways and interstates, these types of collisions are a daily occurrence and often produce catastrophic injuries.

If you are involved in a side-impact accident, establishing who was at fault (i.e., the negligent driver) is an essential first step in determining whether you have a strong legal claim for your damages. Often, however, proving fault can be a huge challenge in these types of cases because the facts are easily disputed. The at-fault driver can be held responsible for all costs associated with the crash, including medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, or wrongful death.

Sideswipe Accidents

A sideswipe collision occurs when the side of one vehicle hits the side of another, often when they are traveling in the same direction. The impact of the collision may cause damage independently, or it may be a glancing blow that doesn’t cause direct harm but forces the vehicle into a second, more serious collision.

Why injuries are common in sideswipe accidents.

If both vehicles are moving slowly, a sideswipe accident may only cause minor damage such as dents or paint scrapes. Unfortunately, however, sideswipe collisions are more likely to happen on large, multi-lane roads or interstates where vehicles are traveling at high speeds. The reason is simple: the more cars you have packed together on the road, the greater the odds of running into each other when you move between lanes.

When cars are traveling at high speeds, the impact of any collision can cause major injuries. But sideswipe accidents can be particularly dangerous because drivers often lose control of their vehicles, causing them to suddenly veer into traffic or run into obstacles on the side of the road. These secondary collisions frequently result in severe or even fatal injuries to multiple victims.

What makes a person at fault in a sideswipe accident? To help your chances of recovering full compensation for the accident, having an attorney prove you were not responsible is crucial. Sideswipe accidents most commonly occur when one driver attempts to change lanes or merge onto the interstate, or when a driver unintentionally drifts into another lane. Because drivers must ensure that it’s safe before merging or leaving their lane of traffic, the driver who changed lanes is usually found at fault, or negligent, for the collision.

To avoid accidents, drivers should check their mirrors and blind spots and use their turn signals before changing lanes. Showing that the driver who hit you failed to do these things can help you prove negligence. You can also prove fault in a sideswipe claim by showing that the accident was caused by one person driving too fast, cutting off another car, or driving while intoxicated.

Because Georgia is a comparative negligence state, the driver who stayed in their lane and was struck can be found at least partially at fault depending on the circumstances. If, for example, a driver sped up as the other vehicle was changing lanes, they may be found partially negligent. A driver may also be found at fault for failing to pay attention because they were texting or talking on the phone, and this failure contributed to the accident. If one car was merging onto the interstate, a driver may be found partially at fault if they purposefully prevented the car from entering the lane of travel.

Challenges of sideswipe injury accident claims.

In a side-by-side collision, it can sometimes be difficult to prove fault because the driver who caused the accident may deny or not even be aware that they moved into the other lane. In addition, it’s not always clear which vehicle made contact based on the angle of impact. Unlike certain other kinds of car accidents, evidence of vehicle damage may not be enough to show fault.

Because of these challenges, proving liability in sideswipe cases often hinges on eyewitness statements, videos, photos, and police reports. Collecting as much of this evidence as possible immediately after the accident is crucial to prove negligence and get compensation.

T-bone Collisions

In a T-bone collision, the front of one vehicle crashes directly into the side of another at a 90-degree angle. This kind of accident typically occurs at intersections after a driver runs a red light or stop sign. Unlike many sideswipe collisions, both vehicles in a T-bone accident aren’t going in the same direction.

The main injury danger of T-bone collisions.

The driver and passengers of a vehicle that is struck in a T-bone collision may suffer life-altering or fatal injuries because of the angle of impact. Though high-speed collisions are most dangerous, serious injuries are also likely to happen at lower speeds because T-bone accidents impact car areas with the least amount of protection. Simply put, there’s only a window and door protecting drivers and passengers from a direct hit, and not all cars have side airbags, so these accident victims are especially vulnerable to severe injury.

Some of the most common injuries in a T-bone accident include:

  • Concussions
  • Fractures
  • Spinal injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Fatalities

What makes a person at fault for a T-bone accident?

Determining who was at fault in a T-bone collision can be straightforward, especially if the driver who hit you ran a red light or broke some other traffic law. But if the accident happened at an intersection with stop signs, liability may be more complicated. For example, if the other driver claims they had the right-of-way and that you cut in front of them while they were crossing, you may have to gather evidence proving you were not at fault. Witness testimony, videos, and police reports can help show what really happened.

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If the accident occurred at a “yield” intersection, where there are no stop signs for one driver and the other must wait until it’s clear, you may be found negligent for getting hit if you failed to yield. However, if the driver who hit you was speeding, you may be able to successfully argue that you reasonably believed the intersection was clear when you tried to cross.

Challenges of T-bone injury accident claims.

When there is a working camera at the intersection, building a strong injury claim may be simple. But not all intersections have cameras; not all witnesses are willing to wait for police to arrive so they can give a statement; and not all drivers tell the truth about their role in the accident.

Without video evidence to contradict them, the driver who hit you may claim that you were at fault, and it’s up to you to show they’re lying. In T-bone accidents, a driver can accidentally crash into the side of another vehicle if that car ran a red light, so the driver who hit you may claim they were lawfully crossing when you ran a red light even if the opposite is true.

It often takes considerable time and energy to collect evidence in these types of cases, so you’ll want to hire an experienced lawyer to do the work for you and prove the other driver was responsible.

Angular Car Accidents

An angular collision happens when one vehicle is turning onto a road and hits another at a side angle. Sometimes these types of accidents occur in failure-to-yield situations or when a car is merging onto the interstate.

Primary danger of angular collisions.

As in sideswipe accidents, victims of angular collisions are at risk of being severely injured either because they were traveling at a high rate of speed or because the impact caused a secondary collision with another car or object. Either of these scenarios is likely when the accident happens during a merger on a highway.

How fault is determined in angled side-impact car accidents.

It’s not always obvious who was to blame in an angular collision. Because drivers are obligated to make sure it’s safe before entering a roadway, fault is often placed on the person who turned or merged into traffic.

However, the driver whose car was hit can be found at fault if they saw the vehicle and either sped up or slowed down to prevent the other car from entering the lane. In this situation, both the driver who turned and the driver who failed to avoid the collision may be apportioned blame under Georgia’s comparative negligence law.

Challenges of Angular Collision Claims.

Drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care to let people in when they are turning onto the road and cannot actively try to prevent them from merging. However, if a driver claims they didn’t see the car turning or trying to merge, it can be difficult to prove otherwise.

Even though the driver may be lying, their insurance company may readily accept their story to avoid having to pay compensation on a claim. Also, the insurance company may easily twist the facts so that the victim is found at least partially at fault.

If you are found to be at least 50 percent at fault, you are not entitled to damages for your claim. If you bear any percentage of fault that’s less than half, your compensation will be reduced by that amount. As with any type of car accident, collecting evidence to build a strong claim is the key to getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

If you have been injured in a side-impact car accident, the experienced attorneys at The Millar Law Firm can help you get full compensation. Call us at 404-620-4301 or submit our online contact form for a free evaluation of your case.

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