Side impact auto accidents are common occurrences in Birmingham and other parts of Alabama. Our Birmingham car accident attorneys at Cross & Smith have handled numerous side impact car wrecks. The total number of side impact collisions in the United States range from twenty five percent to one-third of all auto accidents each year.
Typically, a side impact crash occurs when the front center of an oncoming vehicle collides with one of the sides of another vehicle, often at an intersection. Speed of the oncoming vehicle is a critical factor in the severity of the crash. Injuries to occupants of both vehicles are usually dependent upon vehicle sizes and weights, load, velocity, acceleration and the structural integrity of the vehicles as well as safety equipment used.
In a side impact collision, there is crush to both the striking vehicle and the struck vehicle. In most instances, the striking vehicle’s bumper, grill, headlights and front fender collide with the outer doors of the struck vehicle. Injuries often occur to occupants of the struck vehicle when the outer doors crush inward into the vehicle. In the absence of side airbags and/or if the structural integrity of the side structure is less than desired, the injuries can be devastating. Many national studies have focused on reducing door intrusion into the passenger’s compartment. Several different proposals have been offered for improving occupant safety, but most include variations for door-reinforcing structures and energy absorbing padding.
Injuries from side impact collisions usually involve the head, thorax, abdomen, pelvis and lower extremities. The abdominal injuries include damage to internal organs. The severity of these types of injuries depends on the dynamic of the accident event. Certainly, higher impact speeds, the absence of safety equipment and size and weights of the vehicles involved play a major role in the nature and extent of injuries. Studies of side impact crashes at varying speeds have shown likely head injuries at low speeds, fractures of ribs, particularly in elderly occupants, liver tears and ruptures are common injuries as are spinal injuries with greater speed velocity.
Improvements in vehicle safety have decreased the severity of side impact collisions in newer and more recently designed and manufactured models. Tests and ratings provided by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) include side impact ratings that enable consumers to consider safety prior to purchasing a new vehicle. Improved structural integrity and added safety features are welcome additions to all types of vehicles.
In addition to claims against at-fault drivers in causing a side impact collision to the struck vehicle, where the injuries are permanent and significantly debilitating, an attorney handling the case should always consider the viability of a crashworthy case against the manufacturer of the struck vehicle. It is important to note that the auto accident should not be settled and a General Release signed until a decision is made about whether to pursue a crashworthy case.
If you, or someone close to you, have been involved in a side impact collision, contact the experienced Birmingham car accident attorneys at Cross & Smith. We have handled numerous side impact auto accidents in Birmingham and other parts of Alabama for over twenty years. Please feel free to call us at (877) 791-0618 for a free consultation or contact us online.