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Chicago Side Impact Car Accident Lawyer

T-Bone Accidents Can Cause Serious Injuries


As a driver, there is a great amount of trust that you are placing in the hands of other drivers. You drive around intersections, roundabouts, and highways with the faith that other drivers stay focused and pay attention. That is why car accidents are still a shock to the system, no matter how many times we have experienced them.

It will always shock you when a driver hits you from behind or in front of you. However, one of the most dangerous car accidents is an accident that drivers rarely think about. That accident is known as a side impact collision.

Side impact collisions are common at intersections, and some of the most dangerous intersections in Chicago include:

  • East 79th Street and South Stony Island Avenue
  • East 95th Street and South Stony Island Avenue
  • West Garfield Boulevard and South Wentworth Avenue
  • West Garfield Boulevard and South Wells Street
  • North Michigan Avenue and East Wacker Drive
  • West Cermak Road and South Clark Street
  • North Columbus Drive and East Wacker Drive
  • West 47th Street and South Western Boulevard
  • North Halsted Street and West Hubbard Street
  • West Ontario Street and North Orleans Street

At Abels & Annes, PC, our car accident lawyers regularly obtain six and seven-figure settlements for clients injured in vehicle crashes, including side impact collisions. This includes a $3 million settlement for an injured motorcyclist and $905,000 for a client who needed surgery for cervical injuries.

Contact our office directly today to learn how we might help in your case.

Side Impact Collision FAQs

What is a side impact crash?

Side-impact accidents include direct broadside collisions, also called “T-bone” collisions. T-bone or side-impact collision is where one vehicle’s front end directly impacts the side of another vehicle. This causes the vehicles to form a “T”, and thus they are known as t-bone accidents.

Side-impact collisions also include accidents in which a vehicle glances off the side or near-side of another vehicle, where the primary impact is lateral rather than from the front or the rear. Many lateral side-impact accidents occur when a driver on a multi-lane highway changes lanes without observing a vehicle in his blind spot, and swerves into its side. Lateral side-impact car crashes are also called sideswipe accidents.

What are the Causes of side-impact collisions?

Side impact collisions occur for many reasons, including:

  • Failing to yield. When drivers do not yield the right of way at intersections, stop signs, or red lights, side impact collisions are likely.
  • Distracted driving. Drivers can also create a side impact collision when they divert their attention from the roads. When a driver takes their focus off of the road for one second, a driver can miss critical changes in traffic and strike another driver.
  • Aggressive driving. When drivers engage in aggressive driving behaviors, they can increase the chances of hitting a driver from the side. Cutting other drivers off and speeding are some of the main factors that can lead to a side impact collision.
  • Failing to safely turn. Drivers must take special precautions when making turns, especially at intersections and roundabouts. When drivers are distracted or fail to notice the presence of other drivers in their blind spots, they can easily strike another driver on their side when they make a turn.
  • Poor weather. Particular weather conditions can make the roads more dangerous. For example, when the roads are wet from the rain, it can make it difficult for the traction in tires to remain in contact with the roads. This makes it easier for hydroplaning or a driver to lose control of their car.

What Affects the Severity of Side Impact Collisions?

As with most crashes, the severity of the damage and injury of a side-impact collision will depend on the:

  • Types of vehicles in the collision: The most common type of t-bone collision involves two passenger cars. Regardless, they are very dangerous. But the danger level can go up when a t-bone collision involves a car hitting a motorcycle or a semi-truck hitting a car.
  • Safety features that the vehicle has installed: The severity of the damages and injuries that result from a side-impact collision can vary based on how advanced the cars’ safety features are. Vehicles with advanced features like side airbags, cross-traffic alerts, and high safety ratings are obviously more likely to keep drivers safe from serious injury or death.
  • How fast the vehicles are traveling: Speed greatly impacts the severity of car accidents, like t-bone collisions. Vehicles traveling at a high rate of speed cause more damage and are more likely to severely injure the passengers on board, especially the passenger closest to the point of impact.
  • Weight and construction of the respective vehicles: The weight and construction of both vehicles determine the outcome of the accident. A larger, heavier vehicle crashing into a smaller vehicle will do much more damage than a smaller vehicle crashing into a larger vehicle. For example, a delivery van t-boning a car will be more devastating for the car passenger than the other way around.

What Are Common Injuries Caused by Side-Impact Collisions?

Side impact auto accident attorneys in Chicago often see the following injuries:

Head and Brain Injuries

This can include concussions or more serious traumatic brain injuries (TBI), internal bleeding, skull fractures, or lacerations that require plastic surgery.

Traumatic brain injuries occur when a person hits their head on a hard object, their body is jolted, or something penetrates their skull. Any one of these causes of brain trauma are very likely during a t-bone accident. TBIs are expensive to treat. They can put a person out of work for a long time and can cause them serious, life-long consequences.

Neck and Back Injuries

Neck and back injuries can cause a sufferer a lifetime of pain and discomfort and may even take away beloved activities and hobbies. 

The most common neck and back injuries from t-bone accidents include herniated discs, spinal cord injuries, and neck or back sprains or strains.

Depending on the type of neck or back injury a person suffers, there can be substantial damages. This includes: 

  • medical bills for doctor visits, physical therapy, and surgery
  • lost income from missed time off work
  • pain and suffering

Broken Bones

Side impact collisions often cause victims broken bones. These injuries are extremely painful, often require surgery to repair, and can cause victims long time pain and suffering.

Broken bones often occur alongside more severe injuries and make the cost of medical bills even higher. Serious breaks like crush injuries and multiple fractures can even cause infections, require extensive or multiple surgeries, and create irreparable damage.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries can be severe and very painful. These injuries result when a victim’s muscles, tendons, and/or ligaments are torn or strained in an accident. Torn ligaments, muscles, and tendons can cause victims to be in pain for weeks, months, years, or even the rest of their lives.


A common result of side-impact collisions is whiplash since the severe jerking motion associated with a t-bone incident often causes the victim’s neck to slam side to side.

Whiplash is generally mild and doesn’t create lasting issues. However, in more serious cases, patients may experience long-term neck pain, which can result in thousands of dollars of physical therapy, back braces, and missed time from work.

Spinal Cord Injuries

When the spinal cord is stretched and strained, or when a disc makes contact with the spinal cord, the accident victim can suffer very serious, long-lasting injuries, like permanent disability.

Spinal cord injuries caused by side impact collisions can cause a permanent disability, leading to thousands of dollars in medical debt. In addition to the financial strain, victims of serious spinal cord injuries could lose the ability to play with their children, drive a car, and participate in their favorite activities. This causes them to suffer a major overall change in their quality of life.

What Are Common Damages From Side-Impact Collisions?

Common damages from a side-impact collision include:

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses include ambulance fees, hospital bills, doctor visits, physical or cognitive therapy for a brain injury, etc. The more severe an injury is, the more medical expenses an accident victim will likely incur.

Medical expenses are sometimes a major indicator of how much compensation a person will receive for a car accident like a side impact collision. A personal injury attorney will gather all of your medical records so that they can get an accurate understanding of how much you will need to cover all of your medical bills and how much you may need to cover future medical procedures. 

Lost Wages

After a car accident, injury victims often have to miss work in order to recover, attend doctor visits, etc. This lost income is recoverable in a personal injury case. Also, if an injury victim sustains a disability or loses their ability to perform the tasks necessary for their career, they may be able to recover lost income for their impairment or reduction in ability to earn money in the future.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering is a type of damage related to the mental or physical distress caused by a car accident, like a T-bone accident. The amount one can recover for pain and suffering depends on the type of injury, the seriousness of their pain and suffering, and the prognosis for any future pain they may experience from their injury.

Why do Side-Impact Injury and Fatality Rates Remain So High?

Roughly one quarter of all passenger vehicle occupant accident fatalities in the United States occur from side-impact collisions. And while frontal impacts remain the front-runner in causing accident fatalities, those numbers are steadily declining. Meanwhile, side-impact fatalities remain more constant, or even increasing, as the number of vehicles on the roads increase.

One of the most important reasons for this disparity is the progressive development, enhancement, and deployment of safety technology for frontal impact crashes in late-model vehicles. Further, the enactment and enforcement of certain safety laws.

Over the last few decades, critical steps have been taken that increase vehicle occupant safety for frontal impacts:

  • Mandatory driver and front-passenger airbags
  • Improved front and rear crumple zones
  • Improved headrest designs
  • Gas tank redesigns
  • Mandatory seat-belt laws
  • Mandatory under-ride bars on commercial trucks

These technologies and developments have the intent of protecting vehicle occupants from frontal and rear-end impacts. Unfortunately, they do not provide similar protection for side-impact collisions.

As a result, although frontal crashes occur more often, the type of crash that is now more likely to result in a fatality or a serious injury is a side-impact collision.

Moreover, side impact collisions are particularly risky for children. Roughly one fourth of all car crashes involving children are side-impact collisions. Further, almost one third of all child fatalities from crashes are due to side impact collisions, and a significant majority of these fatalities are the result of head trauma.

Why are side-impact car accidents so dangerous?

Side-impact collisions are particularly damaging for several reasons. One reason is that drivers and passengers hit from the side have little or no warning of the impact. If there’s a frontal impact, a driver may have the ability to react to a dangerous situation. For example, by applying the brakes or taking some other evasive measure. However, vehicles hit from the side often have no forewarning of the impact. Thus, drivers sometimes cannot try to minimize any potential damage or injury.

The second and more critical issue is that the sides of a vehicle simply do not provide much protection. Usually, the only thing between a passenger or driver and an oncoming vehicle from the side is a door and a window. In comparison, front and rear impacts have an engine or a trunk to absorb some of the impact.

This is particularly problematic when the vehicle that broadsides you is a bigger vehicle such as an SUV or truck. When there is a great disparity of height and weight between the vehicles in a side-impact crash, if the smaller of the vehicles is the one that is hit broadside, tremendous damage and injury are likely to ensue. A smaller vehicle hitting the side may primarily impact the car frame and seats. But, higher vehicles are much more likely to impact the passengers more directly. This can cause traumatic head, neck, or spinal injuries that can lead to permanent disability or death. It can also cause chest, abdomen, and pelvic injuries that are painful, and frequently debilitating.

Filing a car accident lawsuit

Filing a car accident lawsuit is the most effective way to hold the other parties liable for your accident and help you recover the compensation you need. When you can prove another driver was liable for causing your crash, you may recover the compensation you need from their insurance company. It also removes any doubt that you may face in the future with your insurance company about who was responsible for your car accident. With your lawsuit, you have the chance to prove the other driver’s liability and seek as much compensation as you can from your case.

Factors that increase the worth of your lawsuit

Not every lawsuit will result in the same outcome. Several factors affect each side and impact collision accidents differently. Some of these factors include:

The severity of your injuries

It is a general rule that the more severe your injuries, the larger amounts of compensation that you are entitled to. When there is little chance that you will physically recover from your injuries, jurors and judges are more prone to reward you with greater compensation. Many of the serious injuries that occur through side impact collisions are catastrophic.

The extent of your damages

The worth of your claim increases when the damages caused by your accident are higher. Your medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering damages cost you financially and emotionally. The greater your tangible and intangible losses, the more money you can seek.

Insurance policy limits

Just like your personal auto insurance policy, there is a specific limit to the other driver’s insurance policies. If the amount of damages you are requesting exceeds the other driver’s insurance policy limits, it can reduce the compensation you can recover, despite the value of your claim. However, policy limits are not a good reason to avoid a claim altogether.

Your attorney can determine whether other parties might share liability, and corporations and government agencies usually have much higher insurance policy limits. Your car accident lawyer can determine all possible ways to seek total compensation.

How a Chicago car accident lawyer can help you

Do not be fooled by what appears to be an easy feat. You do not want to assume that it will be easy to prove the other driver accountable for your accident just because they were the ones that struck you. You also have to fight off the accusations made by the insurance companies, who, at the very least, will try to hold you somewhat responsible for your own accident. When you want to avoid this issue and give yourself the best chance possible of being successful in your case, you should reach out to a Chicago car accident lawyer. Our lawyers can help your car accident case in several ways.

Gather credible evidence

Your Chicago car accident attorney can help collect the strongest evidence on your behalf. Your lawyer can gather copies of police reports, physical evidence from the actual accident scene, and statements from all witnesses who were present at the car accident scene. Your lawyer can collect the right balance of evidence to strengthen your case and build credibility for you.

Negotiate on your behalf

Your Chicago car accident lawyer can also speak with insurance companies and try to come to a fair and just resolution for your case. Insurance companies are more open to hearing your demands when they discover that a lawyer is representing you.

A lawyer does not entertain the insurance adjusters’ tactics and will inform them that they will stop at nothing to ensure you get full compensation. Your lawyer has the patience necessary to wait out the insurance adjusters and their stalling tactics.

Provide legal representation

Another benefit your lawyer brings to the table is quality legal representation in court. While this is the legal service for which lawyers are most known, this is often the last resort. Lawyers want to exercise all options before taking your lawsuit to trial.

However, you want a Chicago car accident lawyer who is not afraid to represent you in court should your lawsuit progress to that stage. Your lawyer can construct the best case possible for you in front of a jury or a judge who will hear your case and determine the compensation you deserve.

Contact the Experienced Chicago Car Accident Attorneys at Abels & Annes

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a side-impact injury, contact Abels & Annes, P.C. Call (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442) or at (312) 924-7575, or use our online form or online chat. Our consultations are always free.

Remember, there is no fee until you obtain compensation, either through a settlement or through litigation. So give us a call today.

Chicago Office

100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602

Toll Free: (855) 529-2442
Phone: (312) 924-7575

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★★★★★ These guys were great to work with. At the end of the day, tough case and all, Abels & Annes helped us get enough to pay our bills and then some. My wife has now recovered and we are able to move forward without the cloud of a huge medical debt. Brett
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