Side-Impact Crashes: Maryland Car Accident Attorneys
Many people refer to side-impact collisions as T-bone crashes. These wrecks often cause serious harm to the occupants, especially to the people who are inside of the car that suffers a blow to its broadside. Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicate that close to one in four traffic fatalities involve this type of wreck. In 2018, more than 5,000 people died in these types of accidents. Thousands of others survived yet suffered severe injuries in side-impact collisions.
If you were injured in a side-impact crash, you could be entitled to compensation from the negligent driver who hit you. To learn your options and rights, contact a Maryland car crash attorney. At Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman & Darby LLP, our firm has decades of experience handling car accident cases in the state, and we represent clients all across Maryland.
Call us today at 410-769-5400 to speak to an experienced car accident attorney at Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman & Darby LLP.
Side-Impact Crash Causes in Maryland
Side-impact crashes are often caused by a driver who violates a traffic signal. If a motorist runs a red light, that driver could strike another car on its side, or another vehicle might collide with the red light-running car as it cuts into the path of oncoming traffic. A driver who loses focus can easily drive past a stop sign and cause a side-impact collision as well. In some instances, side-impacts can take place because of an ill-timed left-turn.
Intersections present many opportunities for conflict. When a distracted or impaired driver enters an intersection, just a small mistake can lead to one of these horrific crashes. In fact, side-impact crashes are one of the reasons that Maryland is working to install more roundabouts. While drivers are sometimes confused by roundabouts and find them irritating or even intimidating, studies show that installing a roundabout can cause a 75 percent drop in injury-causing wrecks at that intersection. A big part of the reason that roundabouts are so successful at preventing serious crashes is that they eliminate more severe side-impact accidents.
Side-Impact Crash Injuries in Maryland
Cars typically have crumple zones on their front and back. A crash might destroy the front or back of a car, but in the process, the crumple zone will absorb a lot of the forces of the impact. When this happens, it prevents the occupants from bearing the brunt of such forces. In a side-impact, no such protections are available. The point of contact occurs just inches away from the people in the car. Side airbags can provide some protection, but these are not required in all vehicles even though they would likely save many lives every year.
Another problem is that as cars are getting bigger, and SUVs are becoming increasingly popular, the risks of a side-impact crash have become more severe. SUVs are not only heavier than cars, but they are also higher up. The result is a more powerful impact that often strikes at the head level of the occupants.
In response to the popularity of larger cars, safety tests are changing to represent the ability of a vehicle to protect occupants in a crash at higher speeds, with SUVs that weight about 4,200 pounds. Previous tests used weights that were equivalent to a 3,300-pound SUV, but that test no longer represents the enormous size and weight of modern vehicles.
Negligence and Side-Impact Crashes
In Maryland, a person harmed in a car accident cannot collect compensation for his or her injuries unless the other person involved was entirely responsible for the crash. The reason for this is that the state follows a rule called “contributory negligence.” Under this legal theory, anyone whose negligent actions contributed to their injuries cannot collect from another driver, even if that person was more or mostly at fault.
Most states do not follow this rule and allow for an injured person to collect compensation related to his or her proportion of the fault. In the majority of states, recovery is available as long as the other party is 50, or in some places, 51 percent responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. Not so in Maryland.
To recover for your injuries, the other person will have to be liable for the crash, and you’ll need to be able to prove that liability through the weight of the evidence. In the case of a driver running a red light or blowing through a stop sign, you might have a strong argument, although, in some instances, the question could become, “what color was the light?”
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a side-impact crash, you should contact an attorney to discuss your options for recovering compensation.
Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman & Darby LLP Maryland Car Crash Attorneys
At Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman & Darby LLP, we represent people who were injured in car crashes throughout the state of Maryland. We understand what is at stake for you and your family, and we are ready to work to recover the compensation to which you are entitled. Call us today at 410-769-5400 to speak with an experienced Maryland car accident attorney.