Side-Impact Collisions

Syracuse Lawyers for Car Accident Victims

Side impact collisions are also known as T-bone or broadside accidents. They occur when one end of a car collides with the side panel of another car, forming a T-shape. There is a greater crushing force when there is a side-impact accident, and less protection to the people inside the car, particularly those on the side of the impact. The front and back ends of a car have bumpers and other structures that can reduce some of the impact and protect the driver and passengers from being catastrophically injured due to collisions involving those parts of a vehicle. The direct force of a side-impact collision can cause serious injury or death. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our experienced Syracuse car accident attorneys may be able to represent you in a lawsuit for damages if you have been hurt in a crash.

Side-Impact Collisions

Anybody who has been injured in a side-impact collision may be able to recover damages for their injuries. New York is a no-fault insurance state, which means after the collision, you’ll first need to make a claim under your personal injury protection insurance coverage to get compensation for economic losses, even if the other driver was at fault. However, if you meet the threshold for serious injuries or economic losses, you can go outside the no-fault insurance system and sue the at-fault driver.

You may be able to recover damages when the other driver is completely at fault for the accident. Often, you need to establish that the other driver was negligent. This means you’ll have to show by a preponderance of evidence: (1) the other driver owed you a duty of care, (2) breach of the duty of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. All drivers owe other people a duty of care to avoid injuring them with their cars. Breaches of duty that could result in a side-impact collision include speeding, texting, weaving, drunk driving, driving under the influence of drugs, and failing to obey traffic signals and signs. For example, if a driver travels through an intersection and the light is red, he might T-bone a car that is traveling in a direction that is perpendicular to his own and cause a side-impact collision.

Comparative Negligence in Side-Impact Collisions

Sometimes both drivers bear some responsibility for a side-impact accident. In New York, the courts follow the rule of pure comparative negligence. This means that a plaintiff’s damages are reduced by his or her degree of fault. For example, in the above example, if one driver’s light was red, but the other driver didn’t use reasonable care in entering the intersection, and was speeding, he might be partly to blame for the resulting side-impact accident. The jury is asked to calculate both the amount of damages suffered by the plaintiff and each party’s percentage of fault when applying the comparative negligence rule. So, if your damages were $500,000, and you were 50% at fault while the driver who ran the red light was also 50% at fault, you would only recover $250,000 from the other driver and be responsible for the rest yourself. Unlike some other states, which follow a modified form of comparative negligence, in New York, you can obtain damages even if the jury finds you to be more responsible for the side-impact collision than the other driver was.

Comparative negligence will be considered by the defendant’s insurer when evaluating your claim. They realize that juries will be able to evaluate and reduce damages based on your degree of fault for the side-impact collision, and they may look for ways to show that you are at fault. This is one reason it’s advisable to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer about your claim before ever talking to the other side’s insurance adjustor.

Consult a Seasoned Car Accident Attorney in Syracuse

If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a side-impact collision in or around Syracuse, a knowledgeable injury lawyer can help you explore your legal options. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents car accident victims in Syracuse, as well as Rochester, Lowville, Watertown, Lyons, Auburn, Cooperstown, Elmira, Ithaca, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Binghamton, Herkimer, Utica, Oneida, and Oswego. Please call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.

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