Sometimes aggressive drivers try to make it through an intersection, accelerating even though the light is turning from yellow to red or running a stop sign. When cross-traffic starts to move through the intersection, the driver may T-bone the other car, hitting its side and putting the occupants of the car at risk of catastrophic injuries or death. A side-impact collision can be extremely dangerous because even when airbags deploy, there is very little protection for the occupants of the car that was struck. A driver or passenger could be crushed on impact. At Black & DePaoli, our California car accident attorneys may be able to help you recover damages if you were hurt or a loved one was killed in a side-impact collision.
Claims Based on Side-Impact Collisions
Side-impact collisions are also known as broadside and T-bone collisions. These are especially catastrophic or deadly collisions that can result in traumatic brain injuries, complex fractures, spinal cord damage, paralysis, and internal organ injuries. People on the side of a car that is struck are more likely to suffer serious injuries because they absorb the other vehicle’s energy. There may be a side airbag or reinforced door, but even so, there is a possibility that the injuries are severe and necessitate multiple surgeries and rehabilitation. In some cases, the force of the accident pushes a vehicle that is struck into other vehicles, causing further injuries or death.
Side-impact collisions are often preventable, and they may result from failing to obey traffic signals, drunk driving, running a yellow or red light, failing to yield the right of way, or distracted driving, such as texting while driving. If you are injured in a side-impact collision, you may need to establish the other driver’s negligence. This means that your attorney will need to show that certain elements are more likely than not to be true. The other driver must have owed you a duty of care, and there must have been a breach of duty, actual and legal causation, and actual damages. All drivers in California owe a duty to others on the road, so the first element is generally straightforward to establish. A breach of duty can be a result of any failure to obey road rules and traffic signals, or a decision to drive aggressively rather than defensively.
In some cases, both parties are partially to blame. An insurance adjuster may call you and try to secure an admission of fault or other evidence suggesting that you bear some responsibility for what happened. Generally, the adjuster may be nice, but they are not on your side. It is important to contact a Folsom personal injury lawyer before speaking to the adjuster. If the defendant alleges that you were also negligent, the jury will look at the evidence and arguments and assign both parties percentages of fault. For example, it may decide that you were 20% responsible, and the defendant was 80% responsible. In that case, your total damages will be reduced by an amount equal to your percentage of fault. For example, if the damages were $200,000 and you were 20% responsible, you would be able to recover $160,000 from the at-fault defendant.
Sometimes there are multiple at-fault defendants. In that case, you may be able to recover 100% of your economic losses from any one of the defendants. However, each at-fault party is only severally liable for noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life. This means that each party will only be responsible for those intangible losses up to their own percentage of fault for the accident. For example, if your noneconomic losses are $500,000 after a side-impact collision, and Driver A is 50% responsible, while Driver B is 50% responsible, you can recover $250,000 from either driver.
Explore Your Options with a Folsom Car Accident Lawyer
If you are injured in a side-impact collision in California or surrounding areas, you should hire a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. At Black & DePaoli, our principal formerly worked in law enforcement and insurance, and he can now put his insights to work for you. Based in Folsom, we provide skillful legal representation to people who have been severely injured in a side-impact, rear-end, or head-on collision. To obtain a free consultation, call Folsom car accident lawyer Travis G. Black at 916-962-2896 or reach us online.