In the State of Florida, a “broadside” auto accident refers to a situation where one vehicle was struck along the side length of the vehicle, where the entry doors are usually found.
News reports and casual speech may also refer to these incidents as a “T-bone” collision, similar to how the bones in a short loin steak form a perpendicular (right) angle. The term “side collision” may also be used. Police reports formally document these incidents as “Auto Accident, Broadside” (AABS).
Broadside accidents are notoriously dangerous for the occupants of the vehicle that was struck. Modern vehicle designs typically place many feet of crumple zones and energy-absorbing structural steel in the front and rear of the vehicle. If these ends are struck, less of the energy of impact is transferred to the affected vehicle’s occupants.
However, with a broadside impact, only a few inches of metal and glass separate the occupants from the colliding vehicle. The energy transfer is often immense and can lead to serious injury or death for the struck vehicle’s occupants. Even in vehicles with side-impact airbags, the nature of a broadside collision can mean multiple subsequent impacts, with only the first being absorbed by the airbags.
Determining fault in a broadside impact can be difficult. Even though the struck vehicle sustains the highest chances of occupant injuries, that vehicle may be at fault. For instance, someone who fails to yield at a stop sign before crossing a busy road may be struck broadside, making them likely at fault for the incident.