According to a 2009 study conducted by the University of Michigan, T-bone accidents (side-impact crashes) account for 13% of all car accidents and 18% of all fatal car accidents. While front-impact car accidents have been the focus of car safety, auto engineers are now turning their attention to side-impact collisions, which can result in brain injuries, pelvic and torso injuries, and spine and neck injuries. The government does do crash tests, but are they complete and accurate for T-bone accidents?
Car Accident Injuries For Dummies
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducts car accident tests by placing two dummies in the driver’s seat and back seat of a car. A 1.5-ton weight careens into the vehicle at a speed of nearly 40 mph. Then, the NHTSA ranks the impact to the dummies’ chests on a scale of one to five stars. If the NHTSA considers head injuries likely in a side-impact crash, it will also report on those risks.
Additionally, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) uses a barrier shaped like a small truck weighing 3,300 pounds, which is slammed into the test vehicle, with two dummies inside, while traveling just over 30 mph. The IIHS rates vehicles using one of four labels from “poor” to “good” based on a potential risk of injury to various points on the body from the head to the femur.
Flaws in the NHTSA and IIHS Car Accident Stats
The NHTSA and IIHS side-impact crash ratings contain valuable information on car safety, but do not consider the unique injuries that may be sustained by small children, infants and heavier adults in accidents. They also only reflect test results from extremely specific and controlled situations, whereas real-life side-impact crashes occur in different circumstances, at varying speeds and at many angles.
In addition, the NHTSA’s rankings are only based on the likelihood of chest injuries, not all personal injuries sustained. If a vehicle does not protect occupants from significant head or brain trauma, that fact may be obscured by a better test result for chest injuries. Also, the IIHS ratings are compilation scores that could de-emphasize the likelihood of certain more-dangerous types of personal injury. Beyond these scores, there is also a formula for how car accident settlements work.
How Car Accident Settlements Work
California follows a legal doctrine called “pure” comparative negligence. When someone is injured in a car accident, he or she may recover damages for his or her personal injuries, but a percentage of fault for the accident is allocated among all people involved in it.
For example, if a judge or jury determines that you are 40 percent at fault for a car accident because you entered an intersection as the traffic signal was turning red, and the other driver in the crash is 60 percent at fault for failing to look before entering the intersection at excessive speed, you could only recover 60 percent of the damages for your personal injuries because you were 40 percent at fault for the crash.
When to Contact a California Car Accident Lawyer
If you are involved a car crash, then you need to consult an accident attorney about your rights. As you’ve read above, this can be a tricky area of law and you need experience on your side. Please call 877-702-7274 to speak to us today.
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