The bad news? You’ve been in a serious car crash and your life will never be the same.
The good news: You don’t have to handle it alone.
Many different types of car accidents occur every day in the Tampa area. In addition to the more common hit and runs and rear-end collisions, there are other serious crashes such as failure to yield accidents, T-bone crashes and side impact collisions.
If you’ve been lucky enough to survive a side impact car accident in Tampa but are now living with serious injuries, it’s important to contact an experienced car accident attorney near you who can help you to pursue compensation for your damages suffered.
A side impact collision (also commonly known as a “broadside” or “T-bone” accident) occurs when one driver fails to give way to another vehicle and strikes its broad side, often making an impact with the car’s doors. Side impact or T-bone accidents often result from people failing to heed to proper traffic-controlled devices, such as stop signs or traffic signals, or otherwise failing to recognize that they have reached an intersection that requires them to yield to crossing traffic.
Side impact crashes can be broken down into two categories: far-side and near-side. A far-side collision is when the occupants in the struck vehicle are seated on the opposite side of the impact location. A near-side collision, on the other hand, is when the occupants are seated on the side of the vehicle that is struck. Near-side collisions tend to result in more serious injuries.
If you have been involved in a T-bone accident, you or someone at the accident scene should contact law enforcement immediately and have them document the crash. Then, you should also seek medical treatment and contact an attorney as soon as possible in order to make sure your rights are protected throughout the claims process.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, side-impact collisions are among the deadliest for children. Sadly, deaths caused by side-impact crashes have increased by 20 percent in the last two decades, from 31 percent to 51 percent, due to faster travel speeds and the popularity of SUVs. In 2003, nearly 30 percent of all occupant fatalities, over 9,000 deaths in total, began as a side impact crash.
In the Tampa area, some of the most dangerous intersections based on number of crashes are:
Failure to yield occurs when a car, motorcycle or truck driver fails to allow another motor vehicle the right of way. In Florida, the complete statute is referred to as “failure to yield the right of way,” and is defined as follows:
Except when directed to proceed by a police officer or traffic control signal, every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop intersection indicated by a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection. After having stopped, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle which has entered the intersection from another highway or which is approaching so closely on said highway as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver is moving across or within the intersection.
At a four-way stop intersection, the driver of the first vehicle to stop at the intersection shall be the first to proceed. If two or more vehicles reach the four-way stop intersection at the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.
The driver of a vehicle approaching a yield sign shall, in obedience to such sign, slow down to a speed reasonable for the existing conditions and, if required for safety to stop, shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or, if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway. After slowing or stopping, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time the driver is moving across or within the intersection. If such a driver is involved in a collision with a pedestrian in a crosswalk or a vehicle in the intersection, after driving past a yield sign without stopping, the collision shall be deemed prima facie evidence of the driver’s failure to yield the right-of-way.
In short, Florida’s right of way law establishes rules for which a motor vehicle has the right to proceed. A car passing through a green light has the right of way, as does a car that arrives first at a four-way stop. Drivers making a left turn from a turning lane must yield to the cars driving in the opposite direction.
In side-impact collisions, the car that was hit is often totaled because the entire side of the vehicle has been impacted. In these cases, traumatic head injuries are common, as well as orthopedic injuries such as broken arms and shoulders. This is because the impact occurs much closer to the driver and passengers than in rear-end or head-on collisions.
The effects of a side impact car crash on the human body are often severe and long-term. Even broadside crashes that occur at low speeds can routinely cause serious injuries to the occupants of the struck vehicle. Airbags, seatbelts and other safety technology have greatly reduced the likelihood and severity of injury, but these devices don’t prevent them altogether.
The most common injuries associated with T-bone crashes include:
Side-impact collisions are most likely to occur at intersections, where there’s more risk of drivers failing to properly yield the right of way. Some of the most common causes of side-impact crashes include:
Many failure to yield and side impact cases occur during rush hour traffic where there are multiple turn lanes. Drivers get anxious or distracted and fail to follow traffic signals. Collisions occur daily because drivers cannot stop fast enough to avoid hitting another vehicle.
In Tampa, determining the right of way can be complicated. Tampa’s streets often have multiple turn lanes and traffic signals in the same spot, and sometimes, drivers get confused. It’s not always immediately clear after an accident who had the right of way.
If a person fails to yield the right of way, they may be liable for the injuries of someone else if their failure results in a collision. Side impact crashes caused by failure to yield can be very serious and result in catastrophic injury to those involved. The at-fault driver’s insurance company is responsible for compensating accident victims for medical bills and other expenses, but they will often fight to avoid paying a full and fair settlement.
In many failure to yield cases in Tampa, all involved parties will claim they acted appropriately. The defendant in the accident may tell their insurance carrier that they didn’t do anything wrong, even if they ran a stop sign or a red light. Because insurance companies don’t want to be held liable for the cost of these accidents, they may fight to have their client’s version of events upheld by the court if the case goes to trial.
If you were injured in a side-impact collision, you can pursue compensation for medical bills, as well as pain and suffering. Because your injuries may leave you unable to work, sometimes for an extended period of time, you may also seek compensation for lost wages and diminished ability to work in the future.
If your spouse, parent or child was killed in a side-impact collision, you may be able to recover consortium loss under Florida’s wrongful death statutes.
When our car accident attorneys take on a failure to yield or side impact collision case, we work to collect as much evidence as possible. We may seek statements from witnesses who were present. In many failure to yield accidents, there are other motorists nearby who can report what they saw or heard. Our attorneys may also find out if there’s any surveillance footage from traffic cameras or nearby businesses that may have captured the accident. Footage is usually more reliable than witness testimony, even in cases where multiple people saw what happened.
If you’ve been injured in a failure to yield accident or side impact collision in Tampa, it’s extremely important that you work with an attorney who can use their knowledge, resources and experience to pursue fair compensation on your behalf.
The insurance companies have skilled attorneys on their side, and so should you.
(Source: The Insurance Research Council’s study, 1999)
|Type of injury||Average settlement
without a lawyer
with a lawyer
|Minor cuts and bruises||$1,166||$4,771|
Note: Adjusting for inflation, the amounts listed above would be significantly higher today.
If you or your family are facing the financial burden after a car crash, it’s time to contact an experienced Tampa accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Tragos, Sartes & Tragos as soon as possible. Time is running out on your opportunity to receive compensation. We will work diligently to get you the financial compensation you need and deserve from those liable for your accident.
We take time to understand and evaluate your case. Our goal is to win for you, not give you empty promises to make you sign a contract.
When you sign with us, an attorney is assigned to your case from start to finish. We’ll determine the complete extent of your injury, as well as contact the insurance company or the other party’s lawyer.
With thorough investigation, our attorneys will negotiate for your highest insurance payout. We will always keep you informed of the offers from the insurance company. If you are satisfied with the offer, then your case is settled.
If the settlement offer is unfair, we’ll take them to court by filing a lawsuit on your behalf.
We were able to secure a multiple policy limit settlement for our client, a 16-year-old girl who was driving home from school when she was T-boned by a passing motorist. The girl’s injuries were serious enough that she was airlifted to the local level-one trauma center where she underwent numerous surgeries.
The initial police investigation said that our client was at fault for the accident. Based on our own investigation and our willingness to fight the law enforcement officer’s version of events, we were able to win the traffic citation and provide evidence to show that our client, in fact, was not the aggressor but the victim.
Most cases have lower recoveries than the ones mentioned above. You shouldn’t assume that your case will get the same results. Instead, reach out to one of our Tampa car accident lawyers to see how much your case is worth.