What Happens in a Side Impact Collision? Side-impact crashes can cause severe injuries.

Side-impact accidents are also sometimes called T-Bone accidents. What happens in a side-impact accident is that one car sideswipes or crashes into the side of another. This can have serious consequences for all involved, especially if the accident happens at high speed. 

Environmental factors, driver negligence, and vehicle defects can all cause side-impact accidents. If you suffered injuries and damages in a side-impact crash that a negligent driver caused, consulting with a car accident lawyer could help you determine whether you have a claim or lawsuit. You may be able to recover compensation for your injuries and expenses. 

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Causes of Side-Impact Accidents

There can be many causes of side-impact accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 94 percent of all motor vehicle accidents occur due to critical driver errors or causes, which can include:

  • Impaired driving
  • Driving fatigued
  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Other risky or careless driving behaviors

Types of Side-Impact Crashes

There are multiple types and scenarios of side-impact crashes. Some examples include:


Sideswipe accidents typically occur when two vehicles travel in the same direction, and one grazes or strikes the other one. This type of accident can happen due to driver distraction when changing lanes or making a turn.

Opposite Direction Sideswipes

In opposite direction sideswipes, a car leaves its lane and drifts into opposite traffic, striking a vehicle. Drivers falling asleep at the wheel or driving distractedly, among other reasons, can cause these types of accidents.

T-Bone Collisions

A T-bone collision is perhaps the typical side-impact accident. They can occur when a driver fails to yield at intersections. Running a red light or stop sign while another driver enters the intersection can result in a T-bone accident.

Side-impact collisions can result from a driver’s negligence, such as ignoring traffic signs and signals, speeding, or generally driving recklessly.

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The Consequences of Side-Impact Crashes

What happens in a side-impact accident can have tragic consequences for vehicle occupants, specifically those individuals located at the side of impact in a crash. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), side-impact accidents caused 23 percent of all fatalities in 2018.

Side-impact collisions may also leave accident victims with catastrophic injuries. When a large vehicle, or a car traveling at high speed, crashes into the side of another, injuries can be severe and life-changing. Injuries in side-impact crashes may include:

  • Head injuries, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Neck injuries, including whiplash
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Back injuries
  • Internal organ damage
  • Fractures
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Cuts and lacerations

Side-impact collisions can leave victims with significant injuries, property damage, and a stack of medical bills. However, if you have experienced a side-impact accident, you may have legal recourse. Consult with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible to learn about your legal rights. Your lawyer can analyze your situation and determine if you have legal options for pursuing adequate financial recovery. 

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Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine Today

If you or a loved one got hurt and suffered financial losses in a side-impact accident that was another driver’s fault, you may want to consult with us immediately. You could have legal recourse to recover your losses. Contact the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine today for a free consultation at 1-800-747-3733.