Side-Impact Collisions

How much is a side-impact collision worth?

The value of T-Bone collision or side impact collision varies widely.  The fact that an accident is “side-impact” or “t-bone” doesn’t actually matter.  The value of these accidents are calculated in generally the same fashion as the value of all car accidents.  First, you look at medical bills.  Next you look at lost wages or other damages.  It’s important to estimate not just the current medical bills, lost wages, and other damages, but all future losses as well.  These damages are then multiplied to determine the non-economic damages (sometimes referred to as pain and suffering).  The “multiplier” is determined, to some degree, by the severity of the accident.  Side-impact crashes are sometimes quite severe.

What is a side-impact collision?

A side-impact collision occurs when one car hits the side of another car. For purposes of this article, this means a multi-car accident in which you are not at fault.  This kind of collision, commonly referred to as a “T-bone” or “broadside collision” is often caused by merging into another vehicle’s lane, speeding through a red light, or by t-boning another car at an intersection. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, side-impact collisions are the deadliest for children, and sadly, over the past 20 years, deaths caused by side-impact crashes have increased by 20 percent, from 31 percent to 51 percent due to increased travel speeds and heightened number of SUVs. In 2003, over 9,000 fatalities, 29 percent of all occupant fatalities, began with side impact.

Side-impact collisions most likely result in car damage, though side impact bars and side airbags should serve as buffers to impact. Side-impact bars are steel bars that are fitted into the doors of the vehicle, forming part of a 6 to 9 inch protective cage around the occupant. Side airbags are also employed to protect injury from side-impact collisions, inflating in a fraction of a second once there is impact. Though vehicles are not required to have side airbags, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 100 to 1,000 lives would be saved if all vehicles were equipped with head protection side airbags. Injuries would also be lessened.

What are the most common injuries from side-impact collisions?

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or Head Injury

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the third overall leading cause of TBI at 14 percent and the cause of 26 percent of TBI-related deaths. A TBI is caused by a bump or penetration to the head that affects the normal function of the brain. In car accidents, TBI may not be caused by a direct strike to the head (like your head hitting a windshield) because the force of an accident can cause the brain to collide against the internal hard bone of the skull. TBI severity ranges from mild to severe, causing impaired thinking, sensation retrieval, language function, and emotional stability. Though 75 percent of annually reported TBIs are concussions (mild TBI), severe TBI results in absolute neurological and cognitive debilitations. Costs of TBI hospitalization averaged $8,189 for moderate, $14,603 for serious, $16,788 for severe, and $33,537 for critical TBI. Costs also varied by injury type, $20,522 for motor vehicle crashes.

Chest Trauma

  • Car accidents account for 70-80 percent of chest trauma injuries. Most of these injuries occur in the chest wall, involving restricted flow of air and/or blood, which often makes breathing difficult. In more severe chest trauma cases, there can be direct lung and esophageal injuries, further inhibiting proper breathing.

Broken Ribs

  • A variation of chest trauma, getting hit on the side often results in broken ribs.  The value of broken ribs cases in car accidents can vary widely.  Sometimes the injury lingers, sometimes it mends quickly.  The longer the healing process, the higher the medical and therapy bills.  This often produces a larger settlement.


What should the insurance company offer me?

The insurance company should pay your bills and your lost wages.  As for anything else, including pain and suffering, the insurance company should offer you whatever they want to.  They are likely a private, for-profit company in the business of making money, likely for shareholders.  They don’t “care” about your injury.  If they are being nice, it’s because they would like you to settle and settle quickly.  The question isn’t: What is a good offer from the insurance company for my car accident case?

The question is: what should you accept as compensation for the bills, lost wages, damages, aggravation, irritation, pain and suffering.  Use the calculator. AccidentValues would suggest not accepting too much less than that figure without at least consulting a lawyer.  AccidentValues suggests getting a car accident lawyer because they negotiate with insurance companies for a living.  They know the tips for negotiating car accident cases.  Though you have the ability to sue the insurance company yourself, you almost certainly won’t.  The insurance co. knows it.  The lawyer will sue if needed.  This is where the leverage comes from.  If the lawyer doubles your offer, he has more than paid for his fee.

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