Side-impact collisions, commonly known as T-boning, will generally happen at intersections, stop signs, and other transit situations that depend on yielding to the other driver’s right-of-way. Traffic rules are designed to avoid this very dangerous type of accident, which is why there’s almost always a very clear violation leading up to the crash. However, that doesn’t mean determining fault after a side-impact collision will always be clear-cut, and it can even be possible for both drivers to share the blame.
Side-impact collisions can be complicated but the team at Pacific West Injury Law has the experience and skill to help you handle this situation and protect your interests. Call or text for a free consultation and to learn more about your best options.
Why Are Side-Impact Collisions So Dangerous?
The trajectory of a side-impact collision makes them notorious for causing serious injuries, especially to the occupants of a car that gets broadsided. Unlike with a rear-end or frontal crash, victims of a side-impact collision are extremely exposed to the forceful blow. Side airbags are becoming increasingly common for modern cars, but there’s still not much of a buffer zone between the point of impact and the very vulnerable individual sitting in that area of the vehicle.
Side-impact collisions are known to cause a range of very serious injuries, including bone fractures, internal bleeding, spinal cord injuries that lead to partial or full paralysis, acute brain trauma, and even death.
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How Do Side-Impact Collisions Happen?
It might seem like the car that does the broadsiding is definitely the driver that caused the accident, but it could easily be the other way around. What really matters is who had the right-of-way at that moment, and which driver failed to yield.
Side-impact collisions are caused by reckless behaviors like not taking proper precautions while making a turn, running through a red light, ignoring a stop sign, or losing control of the vehicle while speeding, often under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Distracted driving can also be a factor, whether it’s using a smartphone, talking to passengers, or anything else that takes a driver’s focus away from monitoring the roadway.
Sometimes a third party could be at fault for causing a side-impact collision, even if they managed to avoid being part of the accident itself. For example, Car A is driving through an intersection, Car B cuts in front on a left turn, and this causes Car A to hit Car C on the passenger side.
How Is Fault Determined in a Side-Impact Collision?
The liability for causing a side-impact collision will sometimes be pretty obvious, especially if the driver in question admits it. But fault can also be very hotly disputed, with each car insisting that they had the right of way. This is where having an experienced side-impact collision attorney will help you sort through all the available evidence and make a strong case.
Determining fault starts at the scene of the accident when police officers respond, assess the situation, and create a report with their preliminary findings. That investigation process would include collecting statements from all the witnesses, taking pictures of the two cars, and documenting any other physical evidence. Most importantly, the officers will try to establish if either driver committed a traffic infraction or otherwise broke the law.
The police report itself doesn’t ultimately determine fault for causing the side-impact collision. That’s usually the job of the insurance companies and sometimes the court system will play a role. Along with the official police report, there’s a lot of supportive evidence that can potentially make a difference in determining fault. Video surveillance of the collision is very persuasive and so are cell phone records proving that one of the drivers was negligently distracted.
How Nevada Deals with Shared Fault After a Side-Impact Collision
Nevada is a fault state, which means the driver responsible for the accident has to pay compensation to the victims. However, the law also recognizes that it’s possible for both drivers to contribute to causing a side-impact collision. For example, if one car runs a red light but the other car was driving over the speed limit while crossing the intersection, both cars have some responsibility for the accident that unfolds.
Partial fault for two or more drivers is handled with a system called modified comparative negligence. The adjusters for insurance companies will examine the evidence for the accident, decide if more than one driver contributed to the collision, and then assign a percentage of fault to each one. Under this system, running a red light would be considered a more serious violation than merely speeding.
According to Nevada Revised Statutes §41.141, plaintiffs can pursue a claim for damages as long as they’re not more than 51% responsible for an accident. The compensation you recover will also be reduced proportionately by this percentage. For example, a driver that’s found 20% at fault for the side-impact collision can still receive 80% of their damages. That means that you owe it to yourself to pursue compensation even if you were partially at fault.
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Contact Our Attorneys for Help with Your Side-Impact Collision Claim Before Time Runs Out
The statute of limitations in Nevada runs out in two years, starting on the date of the accident. That means you should take action on your case sooner rather than later. The skilled side-impact collision lawyers at Pacific West Injury Law can represent your interests and help you navigate the entire process, whether that means negotiating a settlement or representing your case in a trial.