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Side Impact Crashes at Red-Light Intersections

Red Light Intersections
Red Light Intersections

On June 12, 2014, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that more than a dozen local governments improperly established red-light programs before receiving necessary approval by the Florida legislature. Red-light programs are intended to reduce serious car crashes at intersections, which may require the services of a West Palm Beach auto accident attorney.

Red-Light Running Accidents

Red-light programs are safety programs that are meant to change driver behavior at red-light intersections. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more people are injured in crashes involving red-light running than any other crash type, and red-light programs are aimed at putting an end to these catastrophes. Statistics show that in 2012, drivers who ran red lights killed 683 people and injured another 133,000.

Accidents At Intersections

Research has shown, and common sense supports the fact, that intersections with higher amounts of traffic have a greater number of traffic accidents occur at them. The two most common types of crashes at intersections with traffic signals are:

Angle accidents: where vehicle paths from intersecting streets cross each other; and

Rear-end accidents: where one vehicle collides with the vehicle in front of it.

However, as summarized by one report, there is more to the problem than crash frequency. Crash severity also is an issue.

Crash severity is divided into three categories: property damage only; injury; and fatal crashes. While no crash is good, angle crashes, particularly right-angle crashes, generally result in more severe damage than rear-end crashes, and tend to lead to more personal injuries as well.

Angle crashes (or side-impact crashes) account for more intersection fatalities than any other type of accident, at 59 percent.

Side-Impact Crashes

Side-impact car crashes often result in serious and fatal injuries for a host of reasons. Side-impact crashes usually involve moderately high speeds. Also, in side-impact crashes, the crash impact site tends to be the passenger compartment of at least one of the vehicles. The combination of these two factors leads to serious consequences.

In addition, the seat-belt restraint system in most cars and trucks is a three-point lap/shoulder harness restraint. This type of seatbelt has been shown to be ineffective in restraining the driver or passengers in a “far-side” vehicle crash, where crash impact is on the opposite side of the vehicle.

Crash studies have shown that, in a far-side vehicle crash, the upper body of a seat belted dummy slips out of the shoulder harness and crashes against the side of the car interior. (For example, if the car is hit from the right side, the force of the impact causes the driver to impact the left side of the car door panel and window.) Because the seatbelt does not stop the body from moving or impacting the side of the car, seat belted victims of side impact car accidents have similar head injury severity patterns compared to unbelted victims.

Recovery For Medical Injuries And Other Damages In Side-Impact Crashes

Florida law allows for victims of side-impact accidents to recover for the negligent or careless driving of the at-fault motorist. An at-fault motorist may claim that you were at least partially responsible for your injuries, but in Florida, partial fault will not bar your right of recovery. Instead, you may recover damages in proportion to the degree that the other driver was at fault.

West Palm Beach Personal Injury Attorney

For an analysis of your West Palm Beach personal injury case, call Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A.. Our experienced attorneys are knowledgeable about car accident cases and we can help you obtain compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages suffered from an at-fault driver. From our offices in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, and Orlando, we serve clients throughout Florida. Schedule your free consultation by calling us at 561-687-5660.

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