Not every accident is equal. At one extreme are rear-end collisions which rarely kill someone. In most cases, the car accident victims suffer whiplash and soft tissue issue injuries. At the other extreme, are head-on collisions and broadside collisions. These latter types of injuries often kill a car occupant or cause the driver or passengers to suffer very serious injuries.
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, for the year 2016:
- 1,441 people wee killed in car accidents
- 130,137 people were injured
- There were over a quarter-million vehicle crashes – nearly 700 a day
- Nearly ¾ of all crashed occurred between 7am and 7pm
- Nearly 1/3 of all accidents were due to speeding
Experienced North Carolina car accident lawyers guide families of the deceased and guide the survivors through each phase of the trial process.
In this type of a crash two vehicles collide front to side. This means the front of one car, usually the car at fault, drives into the side of another car. Broadside crashes are also called T-bone crashes because the position of the cars on impact looks like the letter “T.” Because the cars strike at right angles to each other, there’s a strong likelihood that one or both cars will spin out of control which can cause a multi-vehicle accident.
The occupants of the car whose side is struck often suffer the most harm because the side of a car offers virtually no protection – unlike the hood of the other car. Side airbags are also less likely to deploy than front air bags. The occupants of both cars are likely to be thrown about the car, if the airbags don’t deploy. The occupants in the car whose front strikes the other car are also likely to be thrown into the windshield or the dashboard. Occupants of both cars are likely to be thrown into each other.
How broadside car crashes happen
Generally, the car whose front strikes the side of the other car is the car at fault. The driver and the owners of this front car should be held accountable for any injuries or deaths they cause. Some of the reasons for broadside accidents are:
- Reckless driving
- Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
- Failing to merge properly
- Running through a red light or a stop sign at an intersection
- Not yielding the right of way
- Driving while distracted. Drivers who are distracted can easily veer into the wrong lane or run through an intersection. Distracted driving includes texting while driving, talking on a smart-phone, or eating or drinking while drinking
- Not being prepared for bad weather including icy roads, oil slicks due to rain, glare due to the sun, snow, and sleet
- Defective car parts
- Cars that haven’t been inspected
Types of injuries drivers and passengers suffer from T-bone accidents
The worst-case scenario is that a driver or passenger will be killed. When someone dies, experienced North Carolina and Virginia car accident lawyers file wrongful death actions on behalf of the estate of the decedent and the surviving family members.
Survivors of broadside collisions can suffer traumatic brain injury, paralysis, broken bones, acute and chronic bone, damage to ligaments and muscles, damage to the spinal cord, internal bleeding, and any many other injuries. Some injuries may resolve with months or years of medical care. Other injuries can completely alter a person’s life. Flying glass, striking other car parts, knocking into passengers, and even being stuck on the steering column are common broadside injuries.
In addition to killing or injuring passengers, T-bone crashes often destroy the vehicles involved or require extensive repairs. Generally, if the cost to fix the car is more than the value of the car, the damage is considered a total loss. In total loss cases, owners are entitled to demand payment from the responsible drivers/owners and applicable insurance companies for the value of the car.
Head-On Collisions – Causes and Dangers
Head-on car crashes are often deadly. Survivors often suffer catastrophic injuries which require a lifetime of care. Many victims often need the jaws of life tool just to be extricated from the vehicles. In most cases, one driver is clearly in the wrong because he/she was in the wrong lane of traffic. But this is not always the case. Sometimes a vehicle may be knocked into the oncoming lane by a vehicle headed in the same direction, in which case the fault would originate with the vehicle who slammed into the car that was thrust into the oncoming lane. Some reasons why a driver might go the wrong way down a one-way street, drive on the wrong side in a two-lane road, or go the wrong way on a road ramp are:
- Intoxication. Drivers who are drunk lose any sense of where they are
- Driving while under the influence of drugs. Drugs affect a driver’s ability to reason
- Driver distraction. Drivers who talk or text on cellphones, or who aren’t watching the roadway, can find themselves going in the wrong direction into a stream of traffic
- Speeding. Cars that go too fast may miss signs indicating which lanes of travel they should take
- Bad weather, slick roads, pouring rain, heavy fog, and even glare from the sun can make it difficult for drivers to see where they are and where they should go;
- As mentioned above, another driver traveling in the same direction who loses control and knocks the head on driver into the oncoming lane.
In head-on collision cases, the personal representative for the estate of someone who was killed can hold the driver who was going the wrong way and/or other at-fault drivers accountable for wrongful death damages. In North Carolina, the Estate of the deceased should sue the irresponsible driver for all their damages such as physical pain of the deceased, loss of service and society, as well as the emotional suffering of the beneficiaries, lost wages, and medical bills. Medical bills include surgeries, hospital stays necessary to attempt to save the life of the decedent.
In addition to standard damages, experienced North Carolina trial lawyers will often seek to punish the driver’s bad behavior through an award of punitive damages. Punitive damages can be awarded in North Carolina, if a defendant acted recklessly, wantonly, or maliciously. A case can be made that a drunk driver, a distracted driver, or a speeding driver was acting recklessly and without any regard for the safety of passengers and the occupants of other vehicles.
Of course, if the deceased or injured driver was acting in the course of employment, an additional claim must be made for workers compensation benefits. If there is a death, then there are additional workers compensation death benefits available to the dependents of the deceased worker under the Workers Compensation Act. It is very important, particularly in Virginia, that the injury case against the other driver NOT be settled, as long as there is a pending workers compensation case. If this occurs, it could wipe out any workers compensation benefits available to the dependents of the deceased or the ongoing workers compensation case of the injured worker.
Make the call to a respected North Carolina and Virginia accident lawyer today
At the North Carolina and Virginia Law office of Joe Miller Esq., we have the experience and resources to hold irresponsible and reckless drivers accountable for the physical pain and emotional harm they cause. Attorney Joe Miller has been fighting for injury victims for more than 30 years. To schedule a free consultation, please call (888) 694-1671 or complete my contact form.