Three of the most easily recognized car crash types include head-on collisions, rear-end crashes, and broadside collisions. The latter most often occur in intersections.
Knowing how the vehicles in a wreck collided with one another can reveal where the crash likely happened and the circumstances under which it took place. Understanding the mechanics of a car accident is crucial to building a strong case. A car accident lawyer can analyze the collision and determine the cause and liability, helping you get the compensation you deserve.
Explanation of Broadside Collisions
A head-on collision involves two vehicles colliding while traveling toward each other from opposing directions. Rear-end crashes happen when one vehicle traveling in the same direction hits the rear side of the car in front of it.
A broadside crash happens when one vehicle’s front end collides with the side of another vehicle traveling perpendicularly to the first vehicle.
This definition means that a broadside crash is any crash where two vehicles collide at an angle other than a near-180-degree (head-on or rear-end) angle. For this reason, broadside collisions are sometimes referred to as “T-bone” crashes.
The phrase T-bone describes the relative positions of the two vehicles immediately after they collide. The two vehicles make contact with one another roughly in the shape of a capital T.
Where Broadside Crashes Are Most Likely to Occur?
Given this description, it is plain to see that anywhere on the road where vehicles can approach one another at an angle is at risk for a T-bone crash. Attorneys for personal injury routinely see broadside collisions at:
Controlled and Uncontrolled Intersections
Whenever two roads approach one another at an angle and connect with each other, the intersection of those two roads becomes a hotspot for broadside crashes. Traffic proceeding in one direction at an intersection must contend with traffic proceeding at a perpendicular angle.
To limit the danger of collisions, stop lights, traffic control lights, or signs are present at many intersections in Florida. These act to tell drivers how they can safely proceed through the intersection.
However, these devices only work if drivers see and obey them. If the signs and signals are obscured, or if one driver or the other refuses to follow their directions, the chances of a T-bone crash increase.
Not all intersections have the benefit of signs or signals. Intersections that are not well-traveled or in rural areas may rely on Florida’s right-of-way laws to control traffic flow.
Drivers using these intersections are expected to know and follow the rules of the road to remain safe. However, drivers who do not know or forget these laws increase the risk of having a broadside collision.
Entries to Roads from Private Driveways and Parking Lots
When you pull out of a grocery store parking lot onto a main road or when you are leaving your driveway to get onto the street, you most often enter the road perpendicular to the direction of travel. To safely enter the roadway, you must turn to the left or right.
These entry points pose many of the same problems as traditional uncontrolled intersections. Cars and trucks interact with one another at sharp angles, with nothing but the rules of the road and common sense to govern each driver’s actions.
At every entry point, drivers seeking to get onto the roadway should stop next to the stop sign, stop line, or as close to the entry point affording a clear view as possible. Once there, they must yield the right-of-way to all other traffic and proceed only when they have sufficient clearance to enter the road safely.
Merge Points on Roads and Highways
Merge points differ from intersections in that at merge points, traffic on one road merges into traffic proceeding on another, larger road. The angle at which the merge occurs is less severe than the 90-degree angles found at most intersections.
Nevertheless, collisions that happen in these areas are frequently broadside crashes, as they entail the front quadrant of one vehicle striking the side of another vehicle while the first car tries to merge.
The rules of the road at merge points are clear. Traffic that is merging onto another road must yield the right-of-way to traffic on that other road. Merging traffic should attempt to match the speed of traffic on the larger road so that it can enter the flow of traffic as seamlessly as possible.
However, a smooth entrance is not always feasible. If you want to merge, you must stop and wait until the traffic has sufficiently cleared to allow you to proceed safely. Failing to do so creates a risk that you will strike the side of another car while merging and cause a broadside collision.
Turning Left Across Traffic
Finally, a broadside collision is more likely to occur when you turn left and must cross one or more lanes of opposing traffic to reach your destination.
Most often, this will happen when you’re attempting to turn into a store, parking lot, or another private establishment. These types of residences or businesses are not connected to roads by intersections but instead by entry points along the roadway.
Left-hand turns are also governed by Florida law, which requires the car turning left to wait until there is a sufficient break in the traffic so that the turn can be completed safely. If not, the turning vehicle may be struck broadside by traffic coming from the opposing direction.
What Makes Broadside Collisions More Likely?
Not only do broadside crashes tend to happen at certain locations along the roadway, but some circumstances also make them more likely to occur. Some of the circumstances that broadside collision lawyers see more often than not in a T-bone crash include the following:
Busy streets can encourage drivers to take more significant risks, like trying to beat traffic or proceeding through an intersection on a yellow or red light. In other words, traffic congestion can challenge your patience and lead you to make rash, risky decisions behind the wheel.
The dangers posed by traffic congestion are magnified if one driver is in a hurry or running late. This can make that driver reckless and disregard the safety of others in an attempt to reach their destination.
Absence of Traffic Signs or Signals
When an intersection or merge point has no visible signs or signals, each driver must remember the rules of the road and Florida’s right-of-way laws to stay safe. To be effective, all drivers on the street need to remember these rules and apply them each time they approach an uncontrolled intersection.
These rules also apply where a traffic sign or signal is not immediately visible to you. Unfortunately, if one driver can see a traffic control device but you cannot, a confusing situation can result in a broadside collision.
Poor Visibility Conditions
Because many intersections, entry points, and merge points require you to check for approaching traffic before proceeding, it stands to reason that if you are not able to easily see traffic that’s approaching your location, it is more likely that you will collide with that traffic.
Poor visibility conditions include nighttime and periods of rain or dense fog. A vehicle that is driving in these conditions without its headlights on or not using hazard lights increases the risk of a broadside crash even more.
Get Medical Attention to Address Any Injuries You Have
The side portions of many cars do not have the same sort of safety features as the front ends and rear ends do. As a result, if your vehicle gets hit on the side, you should be especially alert for signs that you or your passenger has been injured.
Signs of injury may include:
- Pain in your neck or back
- Inability to move your arms or legs
- Headache or loss of consciousness
- Bleeding or tender spots on your body
- Numbness or tingling in your feet or hands
- Apparent serious injuries like the loss of a limb or broken bones
If you suspect you suffered anything beyond a simple scrape or minor cut, you should call 911 and request an ambulance be sent to your location. Even if you decide not to ask for emergency medical help, you should still contact law enforcement and report the accident.
Get checked out at the local emergency room or your primary care doctor’s office as soon as possible to ensure that you did not suffer internal injuries or injuries that escaped your notice. Follow any advice or directions your doctor gives, and make sure that you take any prescribed medications as directed.
Never Talk About the Crash Without Legal Counsel
Law enforcement officers and insurance adjusters alike will want to speak with you about the crash and what contributed to the collision. While you may have to provide basic information about yourself to law enforcement at the scene, try to discuss the crash in depth only after first speaking to a car accident lawyer.
Factual comments about what you remember taking place are usually of no concern. However, it’s easy for people to begin guessing about matters they don’t know about or making offhand comments that can negatively impact their legal rights.
Therefore, try not to discuss the details of the crash with anyone. Only provide essential information to investigating officers, and retain legal counsel quickly.
Avoid Accepting a Settlement Offer Too Hastily
If you were in the vehicle that got struck, or if the crash resulted from another person’s negligence, that other person or their insurance company may proactively contact you with a settlement offer. While getting compensated quickly may sound enticing, you should resist accepting a settlement without first talking to your car accident lawyer.
Your car accident lawyer can work with you to evaluate any settlement offer you receive and determine whether it’s an appropriate and fair resolution to your case. Your car accident lawyer can also help you formulate an offer of your own.
Get a Car Accident Lawyer Who Knows the Statute of Limitations
You must file your a broadside collision lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires.
You can prevent the unanticipated expiration of the statute of limitations by retaining a car accident lawyer soon after your car accident. Hiring an attorney allows you to focus on your physical recovery while your attorney makes sure that your case gets investigated and begins within the statutory period.
How to Retain the Right Car Collision Lawyer for Your Case?
When searching for an attorney to represent you after a broadside crash, look for a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in Port Richey. Your attorney should have significant experience representing injured victims and securing compensation for their clients.
While this sort of history is no guarantee you will recover a certain amount in your case, it does demonstrate that your attorney has advocacy skills that can result in a legal victory.
Spend time searching for the right attorney, as hiring an inexperienced broadside collision lawyer or one without sufficient resources to take your case can lead to an undesirable outcome in your case.