Car accidents happen all the time. There are head-on collisions, fender benders, sideswipes, vehicle rollovers, and T-bone auto collisions, also known as side-impact accidents. T-bone collisions are significant among car accident types, however, because they are statistically the most dangerous type of car crash. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests that t-bone collisions account for 50 percent of car accident fatalities. Part of the reason they are so deadly is simple: the construction of the vehicle. First, there is simply less metal protecting you if hit from the side as opposed from the front or back. Second, if hit from the front of the car, the vehicle absorbs up to 5 times as much energy as would if hit from the side. All in all, you are more vulnerable to head trauma and other serious bodily injury and/or death if in a side impact collision.
T-Bone Collisions: Most Common Causes
T-bone accidents occur when the front of one vehicle collides into the side of another vehicle, creating an accident scene reminiscent of the "T" shape. Although more cars are being equipped with side-airbags and other safety equipment, there still remains little protection to the driver and passengers of the vehicle receiving a blow from the side. Though a seat belt is critical, in these situations it may not save a person from serious injuries.
The most common causes of T-bone accidents include:
- Speeding. Speeding matters most with regard to the vehicle striking the other vehicle, but in general, the speed of both vehicles matters.
- Failure to yield the right of way. At intersections, either signaled or 4-way stops, it is common for a motorist to drive when it is not his or her right-of-way, and when that happens a side impact can occur.
- Failure of a driver to stop at a red light or a stop sign. This failure relates in part to the failure to yield the right of way. If a driver fails to stop properly and then go when it is lawful, a sideswipe can occur.
- Failure to make a safe left turn. When pulling out into traffic when there are no signals or signs, making a left turn is the most dangerous of turns, and if the driver making the turn fails to be cautious and look both ways properly and judge the speed of oncoming vehicles in both directions, then serious side impacts can occur.
- Distracted driving. Distracted driving is well known as to its dangers, particularly with handheld electronic devices in use today (e.g., cell phones, iPads, etc.).
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If someone drives while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he is less likely to be aware of his surroundings and may make unlawful choices while driving.
- Technical Malfunctions. In rare instances, there may be a technical malfunction that causes a vehicle to crash into another vehicle. Examples of these malfunctions could be brake failure or a defective steering system.
T-Bone Collisions: Most Common Injuries
As in any vehicle accident, the range of possible injuries is long, but injuries in T-bone accidents tend to be more serious.
Common injuries resulting from T-bone auto accidents include:
- Head injury;
- Traumatic brain injury;
- Cervical spine injury;
- Chest and abdominal injuries;
- Pelvic, hip or femur injuries; and/or
There are several factors that determine the severity of a T-bone car accident. These include but are not limited to the rate of speed of both of the vehicles and the type of vehicle, especially the type of vehicle suffering the blow to the side. For example, if an SUV crashes into a small passenger vehicle, the damage will be much more severe than if it was vice versa.
T-Bone Collisions: Negligence & Damages
Whatever the cause of the T-bone accident, it is incumbent upon the personal injury lawyer to investigate the accident and prove that the negligence of the at-fault party caused the injuries, and as such, the at-fault party is liable. In New Mexico, so long as you are not fully responsible for the T-bone collision, you can recover damages. Damages include compensation for medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment, and more.
In New Mexico, there is a three-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, or two years (with a 90-day notice) if a state entity was at fault. If you do not file a claim within the time limit, then you will lose your right to seek damages.
Legal Representation for New Mexico Victims
When a victim is in recovery from an automobile accident, filing legal claims or lawsuits against individuals and their insurance companies can seem overwhelming and exhausting. An experienced accident attorney working in New Mexico can help victims gain access to the compensation they deserve as they begin to put their lives together after a collision. For a free initial consultation, call Revo Smith Law today at (505) 293-8888.