Who Is At Fault for a T-Bone Accident?

T-bone accidents often happen because a driver runs a red light or fails to yield, causing a collision between two vehicles passing through an intersection in different directions.

Some people assume the motorist who strikes the other vehicle in the side is at fault for a T-bone accident, but this is not always the case. Determining who caused a T-bone often requires further analysis and investigation.

You should always determine fault for your T-bone accident. Settling the question of fault can determine who pays for your accident-related damages or if you receive payment at all. A Garden City car accident lawyer can help establish fault for your accident and then fight for the money you deserve.

How to Determine Fault for a T-Bone Accident

T-bone accidents are also known as side-impact collisions because one vehicle strikes another vehicle in the side, sometimes forming the shape of a capital T. While your lawyer may know who is at fault for your accident, they must prove it.

Your lawyer may prove fault with:

Who Is At Fault for a T-Bone Accident
  • Video footage: One of the most valuable types of evidence a lawyer can secure is video footage of a T-bone accident, which can show exactly how and why the accident happened. This footage may come from a traffic camera, dashboard camera, security camera, or other types of camera.
  • Witness accounts: Often available when video footage is not, a witness account can also describe how a T-bone accident happened. Witnesses often have no reason to lie, which makes their account of an accident valuable.
  • Expert services: Many auto accident lawyers hire experts to help build their cases. An expert may testify specifically to who is at fault. An expert may also use witness accounts and other evidence to reconstruct a side-impact collision as evidence.
  • Photographs of vehicle damage (and the accident scene, if possible): Photographs of vehicles can tell the story of an accident. If one vehicle has severe frontal damage and the other vehicle’s side is crushed, this indicates how the vehicles collided.
  • The words of the motorists: Motorists sometimes admit fault after their accident. If a motorist admitted to causing a side-impact collision (perhaps not in so many words), your lawyer may use their admission to build your case. 
  • The police report: Though a police report is not the final word about who is at fault for an accident, it can be an important piece of evidence supporting your case.

As your lawyer gathers evidence that proves how the accident happened, they will learn the precise reason(s) for the collision.

Types of Negligence That Can Lead to a Side-Impact Accident

The reason for your T-bone accident happened will help determine fault. This is because the person who causes an accident (or their auto insurance provider) must pay the cost of the accident.

A side-impact auto accident can happen because of:

  • Error in judgment by a motorist: Motorists sometimes make poor judgment calls, even if they think they are acting safely. For instance, motorists may misjudge their ability to proceed through a yellow light, run a red light, and strike another car in the side. 
  • Dangerous behaviors by a motorist: Drivers often engage in high-risk behavior, knowingly so. Such behaviors include speeding, tailgating, changing lanes, passing dangerously, and racing. Whenever a motorist drives in a way that puts others at risk, they must be financially responsible for any resulting accident.
  • Dangerous road conditions: While some dangerous driving conditions (like rain) are out of mankind’s control, other hazards are entirely preventable. For example, a city should repair potholes and remove poorly positioned work zones to avoid accidents. 
  • Driver impairment: When drivers are drunk, influenced by drugs, tired, visually impaired, or impaired in any other way, they run the risk of striking another vehicle in the side.
  • Vehicle malfunctions: When vehicle defects cause accidents, it’s important to learn who is responsible for the defect. Manufacturers and sellers are two groups your lawyer will consider when establishing liability for your accident. However, older vehicles have a greater risk of serious equipment failures, and motorists must service their vehicles to reduce accident risk.

A T-bone accident lawyer will identify the cause(s) of your accident and, in doing so, determine who should cover your damages.

Injuries That Can Result from a T-Bone Accident

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) explains that vehicle manufacturers must ensure added chest and head protection to reduce the risk of serious injury.

Head and neck injuries are two of the potential outcomes of T-bone accidents, and more specific injuries may include:

Side-Impact Collision
  • Concussion and other types of traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Whiplash
  • Broken bones
  • Internal injuries
  • Burns 
  • Amputation injuries

Anyone can suffer an injury in a T-bone accident. However, those sitting on the side of the vehicle struck by another car may be at the greatest risk of serious injury.

What Happens to a Victim Who Suffers Injuries in a Side-Impact Collision?

Those injured in side-impact collisions may face grim post-accident challenges, including:

  • Inability to work: You may face a temporary or long-term absence from work. Missing work can cause intense financial strain, psychological problems, and general instability for you and anyone who relies on you financially.
  • Intense pain: Injuries from a T-bone accident may cause intense pain that diminishes every aspect of your life. Your attorney will assign your pain a fair value that reflects the extent of your suffering.
  • The limitations of unexpected injuries: Injuries can change every step in your daily routine. You may not exercise, handle seemingly basic household tasks, or tend to your essential needs (like cooking or bathing.) 
  • A high cost for accident-related expenses: A rising stack of accident-related bills may be a source of great stress and worry. 

Each of these challenges may be an important reason to hire a lawyer. You need financial relief, but you may not be capable of securing such relief on your own. Let an experienced T-bone accident lawyer pull the weight of your case.

Hire a Lawyer to Carry the Burden of Your T-Bone Accident Case

Few auto accident victims are well-equipped to handle their own cases. Between injuries, mental health struggles, and the preexisting obligations of your life, you may have little capacity to take on an insurance claim or lawsuit.

Your lawyer will manage every duty that your case requires, including:

The Collection of Evidence

T-bone accident lawyers quickly gather evidence from their clients’ accidents, which may include:

  • Photographs of vehicles that have collided in a T-formation
  • Video footage of the vehicles colliding
  • Eyewitness testimony 
  • The police report from the accident
  • An expert’s reconstruction of the accident, which can be valuable evidence instead of, or in addition to, video footage

Each case has a different array of evidence, but your lawyer should secure any relevant evidence to your lawsuit or claim.

Documentation and Valuation of Your Damages

Your attorney will obtain any documentation that helps prove your damages, which may include:

  • Photographs, X-rays, MRIs, or other images of your injuries
  • Medical records and bills
  • Past income statements to show how much income you have lost
  • Invoices for vehicle repairs, replacement of a totaled vehicle, and temporary transportation
  • Expert accounts detailing your damages

The average cost of an auto accident causing disabling injuries is $155,000. This figure does not account for non-economic damages like pain and suffering. Your attorney will obtain documentation of your damages so they can prove the cost of your T-bone collision.

Settlement Negotiations

Statistically, the odds are that your case will settle. However, while your lawyer will negotiate in good faith to secure a settlement, they should also be ready for trial. If an attorney is truly willing to go to trial, they can negotiate from a position of strength.

Handling the Administrative Aspects of Your Case

Settlement Negotiations

Every detail of your case matters, and two especially important features are:

  1. Communications, including all correspondence with insurers
  2. Paperwork

Your attorney and their paralegals will oversee each of these duties, ensuring that insurance companies have what they need, that all paperwork is filed on time, and your case moves forward as quickly as possible.

Any Necessary Trial

Your lawyer will continue to lead if your case goes to trial. They will develop a detailed strategy, present evidence, question witnesses, and oversee every other aspect of the trial.

Your attorney will seek a settlement or judgment based on the value of your accident-related damages, which may include:

  • Vehicle repairs and other property costs: If your vehicle became damaged during the T-bone collision, your lawyer will seek compensation for repairs or replacement of a totaled car. Your case will also include the cost of replacing any other damaged property, as well as the cost of temporary transportation (if you need it).
  • Pain and suffering and related treatment: You can seek compensation for pain and suffering, which can include physical pain, psychological problems, emotional anguish, sleep issues, and lost quality of life.
  • Lost income, diminished earning power, and other professional damages: Your lawyer will consider every form of professional harm resulting from your accident, led by the immediate loss of income.
  • Medical bills: Your lawyer will track all accident-related medical bills, from diagnostic procedures to any rehabilitation services you require. 
  • Disability-related costs: Disabling injuries can be particularly costly, as they may require medical equipment, long-term treatment and rehabilitation, changes to your home, a new vehicle, and long-term income replacement.

Attorneys know how to calculate accident-related damages, including those whose value is far from obvious (like pain and suffering).

Recoverable Damages in a Fatal T-Bone Accident Case

Side-impact collisions place vehicle occupants at great risk, and sometimes, those occupants do not survive their injuries.

In these cases, surviving loved ones can seek compensation to cover:

Recovering Damages
  • Funeral costs
  • Burial or cremation costs
  • Counseling, medications, or other necessary treatment for grief
  • The loss of the decedent’s financial support (which may require calculating the income they should have earned through retirement age)
  • The loss of the decedent’s comfort, companionship, guidance, and other non-economic value 
  • Loss of the decedent’s security, handiwork, financial services, labor, and other contributions to their home
  • Any other economic or non-economic harm caused by the T-bone accident and the loss of your loved one

Losing a loved one is heart-wrenching, and you deserve to work through your grief without having to worry about a wrongful death case. Whether you are dealing with the fallout of a non-fatal or fatal accident, hiring a T-bone accident attorney can provide relief—and possibly a significant financial recovery.

How Do I Choose the Right Lawyer for My T-Bone Accident Case?

Some criteria to consider when searching for an attorney are:

  • The law firm’s client reviews, which should be largely positive if you are going to hire that firm
  • The law firm’s case results
  • Whether the law firm lists auto accidents as a practice area
  • The quality of answers you receive during your free consultation with the firm

You can combine objective measures of a law firm’s success (like case results) with your own gut instinct about the firm. By doing research and completing a free consultation, you can make an informed decision about which law firm to hire.

How Much Will I Have to Pay My Lawyer?

You will not pay your lawyer any out-of-pocket compensation.

Rather, the firm will:

  • Pay the cost to complete your case
  • Agree to receive a percentage of any money they obtain for you

This way, the law firm has a great motivation to obtain as much money as possible for you. You also don’t have to worry about paying for your lawyer.

Personal Injury Lawyer
T-Bone Accident Attorney, Matthew H. Bligh

Trust a T-Bone Accident Lawyer to Advocate for You

Do not wait any longer to hire a lawyer after a T-bone accident. If your truck accident attorney needs to file a lawsuit on your behalf, they will likely face a deadline for doing so.

Research auto accident lawyers serving your area and identify the firm most fit to lead your case.

Filed Under: Car Accidents T-Bone Accident

For a free legal consultation, call 516-451-7900

Practice Areas

Our Long Island Injury Lawyers Have Experience In

Truck Accidents
Accidents on the highways can be lethal events
Bicycle Accidents
Riding a bicycle should not be unsafe
Car Accidents
If you have been seriously injured, call our firm
Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents often result in serious injury
Medical Malpractice
Medical mistakes can cause death ruin lives
Wrongful Death
When negligence results in the death of a loved me
Premises Liability
When hurt in a location, someone has to take responsibility
Brain Injury
Brain injuries can have long term severe effects
Dog Bites
Dog bites can cause serious injury


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