Can I File a Claim for a Steering Wheel Injury After a Crash?
Steering wheel injuries can occur in certain types of accidents, depending on the force of impact and whether the driver was wearing a seatbelt. Accident victims who suffer a steering wheel injury may be eligible for compensation for their medical bills and other damages.
Our New Jersey-area car crash attorneys are prepared to review your claim. The consultation is free so we can discuss what legal options may be available to you.
Below, we discuss how steering wheel injuries occur and what victims may be able to do to recover the compensation they need.
Why Do Steering Wheel Injuries Occur?
Colliding with the steering wheel in a vehicle during a crash can occur depending on several factors.
The first factor to consider is the velocity the vehicles were traveling at before colliding. If the impact is hard enough, an individual can be pushed into his or her steering wheel with or without a seatbelt on.
Then there is also the location of the impact at such speeds. For example, a head-on collision at high speeds may push the front of the vehicle into itself, resulting in the steering wheel being pushed into the driver. A steering wheel injury may be even more likely if there are multiple impacts to the vehicle, such as a rear impact after a head-on crash.
Sometimes, the force of impact may not need to be so hard to cause a steering wheel injury. This is more common in accidents where the driver was not wearing a seatbelt. A person is more likely to be flung forward due to the crash. The steering wheel, in that situation, is the only thing stopping him or her from being ejected from the vehicle.
Another potential cause of a steering wheel injury in an accident is if the driver is sitting too close to the steering wheel. Sometimes, shorter drivers need to have the seat moved all the way forward to reach the gas pedals. However, this puts the driver at an increased risk of a steering wheel injury if a collision occurs.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the appropriate distance between a driver and the steering wheel is 10 inches or more.
Common Steering Wheel Injuries
Steering wheels are hard objects that are fixed onto the dashboard of a vehicle. A strong enough collision between a person’s face or chest with a steering wheel can result in devastating injuries.
The following are some common injuries one may suffer to the head or face due to a vehicle’s steering wheel:
- Cuts and bruises to the face
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Fractured skull
If the accident victim’s chest makes contact with the steering wheel during the collision, he or she may experience some of the following:
- Internal bleeding
- Cracked/broken ribs
- Collapsed lung
- Thoracic injuries
Some accident victims may also experience hand and wrist injuries if they brace their hands on the steering wheel prior to impact. If the person’s elbows lock up, the force of the collision could result in broken bones or even a dislocated shoulder.
Can I Recover Compensation for a Steering Wheel Injury?
Yes, you should be able to recover compensation if you suffered a steering wheel injury in a car accident. Under New Jersey law, all drivers must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. This type of insurance covers the costs of economic damages, like medical bills and lost wages.
If the accident that resulted in your steering wheel injury was caused by the negligent actions of another driver, then you may be able to file a claim with that driver’s liability insurance to recover compensation for non-economic damages as well.
What if I Was Not Wearing a Seatbelt?
If you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision, the insurance company may try to deny your claim.
The insurance company will likely argue that your injuries would not have occurred if you were wearing your seatbelt. However, the insurance company cannot outright deny your claim simply because you were not wearing a seatbelt.
That said, if you were not wearing your seatbelt, it may be more difficult to recover the compensation you need. That is why you should strongly consider working with an experienced attorney who is prepared to fight for full compensation on your behalf.
If the crash you were involved in was not your fault, you have the right to pursue compensation, even if you were not wearing a seatbelt.
Need Help With Your Claim? Call Us Today
If you suffered a steering wheel injury during a car accident, you have the right to pursue compensation for your damages.
Let our experienced attorneys help you file a claim to help you recover the compensation you need. Our lawyers are prepared to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. If they refuse to negotiate, we can discuss further legal options that may be available to you.
Call 800-518-0508 to schedule a free consultation.