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Side Impact Accidents

Washington, D.C. Attorney Advocating for Individuals Injured in Vehicle Collisions

Side impact accidents, or “T-bone” collisions, take place when a vehicle is struck on its side, usually at a nearly 90-degree angle by the front end of one vehicle. Due to the severity of these collisions, the driver and passenger in the victim’s car are likely to suffer grave injuries, even death. Accident victims are entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit holding the responsible driver liable for their harm. Washington, D.C. car accident lawyer Roger Gelb represents collision victims pursuing legal claims for compensation. At Gelb & Gelb, P.C., Attorney Gelb personally handles every case, assisting individuals and their families in an emotionally and physically challenging time. At Gelb & Gelb, we have recovered more than one hundred million dollars on behalf of clients throughout the areas of D.C., Virginia, and Maryland. Attorney Gelb’s dedication has earned him recognition as a top advocate for accident victims, and he is ready to fight for your legal rights.

Proving Negligence Following a Side Impact Accident

Drivers are required to abide by all traffic rules and regulations, and operate their vehicles in a manner that avoids causing foreseeable harm. Breaching this duty of care may expose a driver to legal consequences if their conduct causes a crash and resulting injuries. While side impact collisions occur for a variety of reasons, many of these accidents could have been avoided if the at-fault driver had not been negligent. Common examples of negligent conduct that leads to a crash include drunk driving, driving while distracted, and failing to yield.

A negligence claim that follows a side impact accident requires the victim plaintiff to demonstrate the at-fault driver had a duty to act with care, breached this duty, and caused harm to the victim, as well as damages. This duty to avoid an unreasonable risk of harm may be breached if, for example, the driver did not follow traffic rules at a four way stop sign, and sped through the intersection concurrently with the car to its right. If the victim pursues a personal injury claim, the driver may be deemed liable if the elements of a negligence claim are satisfied.

Proving causation in a negligence case includes showing that the defendant's conduct was the actual and proximate cause of the plaintiff’s harm. Actual causation is causation in the straightforward sense, meaning that the defendant’s actions caused the crash. Proximate cause refers to the more “legal” cause, or that it was the primary cause of the victim’s injuries. In other words, proximate cause is demonstrated by showing that the action led to foreseeable consequences, without other intervening causes.


The last step in a negligence claim is to set forth damages. For a personal injury plaintiff, economic and non-economic damages may be recovered. These are intended to place the injured individual in the position they would be had the accident not occurred.

Economic damages available in a personal injury case are quantifiable costs such as medical bills and vocational rehabilitation. Typically, side impact accidents lead to serious injuries because vehicles do not offer a substantial physical barrier during a collision. This poses an especially severe problem when the responsible driver is operating a heavy vehicle, such as an SUV or truck. Even if side airbags deploy, the force of a collision is not absorbed by the side of a car. Additionally, unlike frontal impacts in which the driver may be able to minimize injury by applying their brakes or swerving, in a side impact collision there is often no forewarning of the impact. A full claim for damages will include costs for past medical treatment as well as future anticipated costs, including physical therapy and other ongoing treatment.

Lost wages are included as compensation, and may include past missed work wages as well as those expected to be missed in the future. Successful personal injury plaintiffs can also recover non-economic damages. This type of compensation provides for things like a decreased quality of life, as well as pain and suffering following a crash.

Wrongful Death

In the event of a fatal side impact car accident, the family of the deceased may pursue a wrongful death claim on their behalf. Damages may include lost wages the deceased would have expected to earn had they lived to retirement. Burial costs may be included, as well as emergency care following the accident. Costs for “loss of services” provided by the deceased may be awarded to surviving family as well.

Meet with a Car Accident Lawyer in Washington, D.C.

At Gelb & Gelb, we are here to provide clear and efficient legal representation that helps you and your family pursue the compensation you deserve following an accident. Attorney Gelb is prepared to work diligently on your behalf to seek maximum recovery from a negligent driver. Your right to monetary damages includes the past harm you have suffered as well as the future impact of the accident. To discuss the specific details of your claim, call our office at (202) 331-7227 or contact us online. We are proud to help people and their families throughout Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland.

Client Reviews
Roger Gelb was extremely communicative and delivered a recovery that exceeded my expectations! Brian G.
From my very first telephone conversation with Roger Gelb to close-out of my case, Mr. Gelb was personable, informative, reassuring, and professional... Ann J.
Amazing experience, Roger Gelb took care of everything for me!!! Within three months I received my settlement check... Amie