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Who's Responsible in a Side-Impact Crash?

If you’re like a lot of people, you understand liability when it comes to rear-end accidents. Almost always, the driver of the car in the rear is at fault. This is because the vast majority of rear-end crashes are caused by tailgating (following too closely) and distracted driving, especially texting while driving.

Head-on collisions are fairly straightforward. In order to be certain of fault, investigators need to determine which car veered out of its lane and into oncoming traffic. Common causes of head-on collisions include: 1) the driver veered to avoid striking a deer or other animal, 2) the driver fell asleep at the wheel, 3) the driver was speeding on a two-lane road and lost control, 4) the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or 5) the driver was distracted.

But what about side-impact crashes? Which driver is usually at fault? A side-impact or T-bone collision occurs when the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another vehicle. Unlike rear-end collisions, there is no trunk to “soften the blow” for drivers and passengers. So, at high speeds, side-impact crashes can cause life-threatening injuries.

Usually, the driver whose front-end of their vehicle struck the side of another vehicle is at fault. Often, this driver is at fault because he or she failed to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic. We often see this when a driver runs a red light, turns left in front of an oncoming vehicle, or blows through a stop sign.

For a good visual representation of the dangers of side-impact crashes, check out this video. If you have teen drivers in the home, we recommend showing them the video.

According to J.D. Power, “Though front-impact collisions carry the greatest risk of injury to vehicle occupants, side impacts also involve a high risk for injury. Therefore, side-impact crash-test ratings are an important factor when choosing an automobile.”

Buying or Leasing a New Car in 2018?

If you’re in the market for a “safe” car in 2018, we recommend visiting the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s website. Another great website is, brought to you buy the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Have you or someone you love been injured in a side-impact crash in Saratoga Springs? If so, contact our firm for a free case evaluation.