The Dangers of Offset Car Collisions
Traffic accidents come in many shapes and sizes, but some of the worst and most deadly are those so-called “head-on” collisions. As Maryland personal injury lawyers, the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, have the legal skills and courtroom experience to assist individuals who have been hurt in a car, truck or motorcycle accident. Whether a crash has taken place in the Annapolis area, here in Baltimore City, or over in the District of Columbia, our legal team is ready to help victims recover monetary damages from the responsible parties.
When it comes to traffic wrecks of various types, side impact and frontal collisions can result in some of the worst physical injuries. Often hospitalization and long-term recovery is essential following such highly injurious collisions. Of frontal crashes, which can involve passenger cars, sport utility vehicles and even commercial vehicles such as semi tractor-trailers, the force imparted to the victim's vehicle can be significant. As car accident and auto injury lawyers, we understand how extensive the damage and bodily injury can be in these types of crashes.
While many people imagine that the typical frontal collision as a straight, head-on crash, many of these accidents are the result of one vehicle crossing over the centerline of the roadway and hitting the victim's car or truck. However, since speed, timing and vehicle location on the roadway all factor into the equation of a frontal highway wreck, the exact point of impact is not always straight into the other vehicle. What typically occurs is what police and traffic safety experts refer to as an offset collision.
As Baltimore personal injury lawyers, we at Lebowitz & Mzhen have seen the results of many devastating motor vehicle crashes. From passenger sedans and family minivans to sports cars and motorcycles, the range of injuries can be quite wide. All across the country, as well as here in the Maryland and over in the D.C. area, roadway collisions occur quite frequently. Many are due to driver error and some can be blamed on vehicle equipment failure. Whatever the cause, the human toll, especially at highway speeds, can be substantial.
For years vehicle manufacturers designed their cars and trucks to meet straight, head-to-head car crashes. But over time, it became clear that real-world accidents are never that simple. As such, it was determined that many frontal collisions result in an offset impact between two opposing vehicles. Not only are roadway crossover accidents some of the scariest of all wrecks, the injuries sustained by victims can range from serious to life-threatening; fatal injuries can often result as well.
The physics of a head-on collision make this all too evident, especially when higher vehicle speeds as found on Maryland's beltways and undivided roadways are involved. When two motor vehicles collide head-to-head, the force of impact can be more easily understood by adding the speeds of both vehicles at the moment of impact. If two cars are each going 25mph, one eastbound and the other westbound, should they collide the combined impact speed is equivalent to hitting a solid wall at 50mph.
There is nothing comforting about these facts, yet every day the innocent victims of automobile and commercial trucking crashes are sent to the hospital due to such horrendous wrecks. High-speed head-on collisions can prove to be very bad for the front-seat occupants of a vehicle, regardless of all the safety features built into modern cars these days.
Every year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) evaluates new vehicles with a variety of tests including an offset, or “small overlap” frontal crash test. In this test, vehicles are propelled at 40mph into a five-foot-tall solid wall such that 25 percent of the vehicle's front end on the driver's side of the car strikes the barrier. The IIHS test is designed to reproduce as best as possible the crash force that that occurs when the front corner of one car or truck hits another vehicle or stationary object, such as a light pole, tree or roadside abutment.
However, despite such testing, there are still more than 10,000 fatalities resulting from frontal crashes each year, according to the IIHS. It is estimated that offset or small overlap crashes are a major source of fatal injuries suffered by vehicle occupants all across the U.S. It may be more of a comfort to understand that the IIHS believes the number of three-year-old and newer passenger vehicles involved in fatal frontal crashes has dropped over the past decade by more than 50 percent.
Now that most modern cars have built-in safety cages designed into their structure, which help to reduce major intrusion into the passenger compartment during head-on and offset collisions, the safety to occupants has been enhanced, especially when combined with protection from front airbags and seatbelts. Yet, as some safety experts are quick to point out, offset collisions can cause a car to rotate quickly during impact, possibly causing the front-seat occupants to shift sideways and lose the cushioning benefits of the front airbags.
As automobile injury attorneys practicing in the Baltimore area, the legal staff at Lebowitz & Mzhen knows that there is still much to be done to improve on even the current state of traffic and vehicle safety. While we wait for that day to arrive, professionals like ourselves will continue to represent the victims of serious and fatal car, truck and motorcycle wrecks all around the state.
At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we believe that a well-prepared injury case can make a huge difference in the outcome of an auto injury lawsuit. With every case, we consider the scope of the victim's injuries, as well the financial impact that the accident had on the victim and his or her family. We build each case with the intent to take it to trial, though sometimes an out-of-court settlement is possible simply on the strength of the facts and the victim's claims. An out-of-court settlement can save the victim and his family valuable time and often spare everyone the emotional energy of a potentially lengthy trial.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car, truck or motorcycle wreck, we highly recommend that you find an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney to discuss the specifics of your case. The automobile accident injury lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen are ready, willing and able to help you better understand your rights as a victim of a serious car or commercial trucking collision. Call us toll-free at (800) 654-1949, or email either Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.