Side-impact crashes are among the most frequent and harmful to occur on Chicago and Illinois roads. Such crashes can be particularly deadly because the sides of vehicles have relatively little space to absorb energy and shield occupants, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS says that side-impact accidents account for about 25 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths each year in the U.S.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) in its 2010 car crash data says there were 30,884 “angle” crashes in the state, and 27,393 sideswipe accidents. Angle and sideswipe accidents accounted for 20 percent of all car wrecks in the state in 2010. In these side-impact accidents, 18,080 people suffered personal injury, and 136 were killed.
Types of Side-Impact Collision Injuries
Car drivers and passengers are likely to suffer injuries to the head, neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis and/or limbs in a side-impact collision.
As would be expected, occupants on the struck side of a car and occupants of lighter-weight vehicles are more likely to be injured in side-impact accidents. One study based on 140 side-impact accidents in the United Kingdom quantified injuries to drivers and passengers in side-impact accidents according to position – struck side or opposite side – in the struck car:
- Head injury – 64% struck side; 82% opposite side
- Neck injury – 12% struck side; 20% opposite side
- Chest injury – 85% struck side; 73% opposite side
- Abdomen injury – 59% struck side; 49% opposite side
- Pelvis injury – 26% struck side; 14% opposite side
- Upper limb injury – 2% struck side; 10% opposite side
- Lower limb injury – 21% struck side; 12% opposite side
Occupants of a vehicle in a side-impact crash may also be injured by contact with a person sitting next to them in the car. These injuries can be severe and sometimes life threatening. The IIHS journal that reported the study of British accidents above says, “The researchers also documented cases in which unbelted (vehicle) occupants became human missiles, inflicting mortal injuries upon fellow occupants.”
The IIHS says automakers have made big strides in side protection in recent years by installing side airbags and strengthening the structures of vehicles.
Contact Our Side-Impact Accident Lawyers
Accidents usually happen for a reason. If a side-impact accident happens because a driver has operated their car in a reckless or negligent manner, anyone who has been injured or has lost a loved one in that accident should be made whole financially. They should be compensated for their medical bills and other financial losses, and for their pain and suffering.
When a reckless act by a driver causes personal injury, death or property damage, the harmed party has a legal right under Illinois law to file a lawsuit that seeks compensation for medical bills, loss of income, disability, scarring or disfigurement, or wrongful death.
However, the law limits the amount of time an injured party can let pass before taking legal action in a reckless driving case. So, it is important to obtain legal assistance as soon as possible. Contact our side-impact accident lawyers today.