T-bone accidents can be among the most devastating motor vehicle accidents regarding the injuries and damages caused. For this reason, determining fault and liability is vital.
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What Is a T-Bone Accident?
A T-bone accident is one in which the two vehicles collide and create a T-shape. In other words, the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another, forming a T at the point of the impact.
Where Do T-Bone Accidents Happen?
A T-bone accident will often happen in an intersection when one driver ignores a stop sign or red light and, going through the intersection, hits a vehicle going through the green light. They also happen on highways when a driver loses control of their car and skids into another car sideways. T-bones also occur in parking lots when a vehicle pulling out of a parking space strikes a driver coming down the parking lot aisle on the side.
Who Might Be Liable?
The various ways a T-bone can occur mean that there are also various potentially liable parties.
Suppose the accident occurred because one driver ignored a traffic sign or light and struck a driver rightfully going through the intersection. In that case, the driver who disregarded the signal is probably at fault. This party will most likely be the driver forming the upright of the T. Of course, the drivers may argue over who had the right of way so that liability on the T driver won’t be immediately apparent every time.
The Maker of the Vehicle
If one or more vehicles contained faulty components, you might hold the maker of the vehicle, the vehicle’s components, or both, liable. If, for instance, bad brakes or a malfunction in the accelerator caused the accident, you can hold the maker of the part of the vehicle that contributed to the accident partially or fully liable for the damages.
The charge against the manufacturer will probably be under the strict liability standard of product liability, at least in many states.
Occasionally, the at-fault driver wasn’t even in the collision. A driver might, for example, make an improper left turn in front of an oncoming car. That driver might swerve to avoid the collision and hit another car. The driver who started it all with the illegal turn is liable even if that driver’s vehicle didn’t hit anyone.
Under the law, the driver who caused the accident should remain at the scene but doesn’t always do so. You (or better, your car accident attorney) can talk to any eyewitnesses and track down the missing responsible driver more easily.
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Common Causes of T-Bone Accidents
Various conditions contribute to T-bone accidents.
- Distracted Driving – Distracted driving, from cell phones, texting, car entertainment systems, and even applying makeup, causes about 3,000 deaths per year in the United States and nearly ten times that many injuries. Most sources say it is the fastest-growing accident cause in the States.
- Driving under the Influence – Using alcohol or drugs—whether legal or illegal—before getting behind the wheel reduces your driving ability. Judgment is impaired, and skills diminish.
- Speeding—Going too fast for the location and conditions means that you will not have sufficient time to stop if something goes wrong.
- Failing to Obey Traffic Signs and Signals – As we said, the definitive cause of a T-bone accident is the failure of one of the drivers to observe a traffic sign or signal. This failure can help you prove the negligence necessary to recover.
- Misjudging the Speed of Other Drivers – You may think you can make it safely through an intersection and discover that you can’t make it only when another vehicle strikes your passenger side.
Common Injuries From a T-Bone Accident
The most common injury in a T-bone accident is blunt force trauma, especially to the chest and head.
These accidents are particularly hazardous for the individuals on the passenger side of the car, with little built-in protection, and can produce:
- Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries – Head injuries are also widespread injuries in T-bone accidents. These injuries can result in concussions or more severe traumatic brain injuries. Even a concussion can have lasting effects on your life, so never disregard this as a “mild” injury.
- Whiplash – Though often treated humorously and not taken seriously, whiplash is a severe neck injury caused by the whipsawing back and forth of your head. It can lead to reduced mobility and chronic pain.
- Broken Bones – The forces in a T-bone accident, and their frequent impact on relatively unprotected occupants on the passenger side of a vehicle, can lead to severely broken bones, particularly legs, arms, and fingers.
- Spinal Cord Injuries – Spinal cord injuries, which can be severe due to the sudden jolting movements of the body in response to the impact, can be catastrophic. These spinal injuries, especially in the neck and upper spine, can cause paralysis or even death.
- Chronic Pain – Resulting from your injuries, chronic reduces your ability to live and earn a living. Plus, you may become addicted to or dependent upon some of the drugs needed to control your pain.
- Paralysis – Many injuries can leave you with temporary or permanent paralysis affecting a greater or lesser portion of your body. Again, paralysis can seriously impact your ability to work and carry on the pre-accident relationships in your life.
- Mental illness Related to Trauma – All of this trauma can result in emotional or mood disorders. These can impact your ability to earn a living and interfere with all of the relationships in your life.
- Burns and Related Scars – Burns heal slowly and are prone to developing infections. If the burns are severe, your recovery may take months, with repeated surgeries, and leave you with devastating scars.
- Torso Injuries and Internal – Because the passenger side of your vehicle, the usual impact site in a T-bone accident, can lead to torso injuries, particularly broken ribs. Broken ribs can lead to further injuries, particularly injuries to vital internal organs, such as kidneys, liver, and punctured lungs.
What Damages Can You Collect From a T-Bone Accident?
Among the damages you may recover in a T-bone accident are:
- Medical bills and expenses – You will want to keep paid invoices, statements, and receipts for medical services, hospital visits, and drugs. These are economic names because they are out-of-pocket expenses and because they are relatively easily discernible through concrete evidence.
- Property Damages – It’s easy to forget about your vehicle and other property damages when considering your recovery.
- Lost wages – You establish your lost wages by providing pay stubs, time cards, etc., from our employment, showing how much less you have made since the accident.
- Future Medical Costs – Future medical expenses are also economic damages. Nonetheless, they are much more difficult to ascertain and may require expert testimony about needed future treatment.
- Rehabilitation – Rehab includes all the costs involved in working to bring your health back to where you started. It may consist of services and equipment.
- Pain and suffering – Pain and suffering can be among the most severe aftermaths of your accident. Pain and suffering can interfere with your ability to live daily life and your future earning capacity.
- Emotional distress – Emotional can result from any number of the other injuries you suffer in the accident. Loss of earning capacity, loss of sexual ability, and a simple inability to do things you once did can lead to severe emotional distress.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
You or your attorney will need to complete many things as you prepare to negotiate or litigate with an insurance company. Your attorney will perform most of these tasks better, leaving you free to focus on your recovery.
Some of these to-dos are:
- Gathering evidence – Photos, accident reports, witness statements; a car accident creates a surprising amount of paper. An attorney will understand what documents you should acquire and how to properly organize your evidence and present it to the other side.
- Assessing the value of your damages and arranging for any necessary expert testimony. Experienced car accident counsel will be familiar with cases like yours and, therefore, the amount your case is likely to be worth. Further, they will have worked with many of the experts whose testimony can make or break your case.
- Negotiating with the insurance company’s lawyers and adjusters. These are professional negotiators. They are trained to give you as little as they possibly can. Your experienced car accident attorney knows how these attorneys and adjusters work and how to hold their own in these negotiations.
- Keeping you in the loop on your case. While you may not want to follow or be responsible for everything that happens in your case, you do want information about its status and progress. Your attorney will keep you involved as needed and informed as desired.
Remember, despite their TV commercials’ homey and nurturing quality, auto insurance companies are not your friends. Insurance companies are in the business of making profits, and they don’t do so by paying our excessive benefits in insurance claims.
The attorneys and claims adjusters who work for insurance companies must keep benefit payments as low as possible. For this reason, you will receive at least one offer, which is far below the total amount you deserve.
A skilled and experienced car accident attorney will fight for your benefits, using well-developed knowledge of the value of your case and what the company should be paying you.
And, if the company remains stubborn, a skilled attorney can and will take your case to court. Our skilled car accident attorneys have negotiated and litigated many cases. We do not hesitate to stand up to any insurance company, no matter how large or powerful.
Can I Afford an Attorney?
Like those covering car accident cases, most personal injury lawyers take their cases on a contingency basis. In this arrangement, you enter into a written agreement with your attorney stating that you will not pay any attorney’s fees unless and until the attorney reaches a successful result in your case. When the attorney settles or wins your case, they will receive a portion of the settlement. If they do not achieve a successful result, you do not receive an award or settlement. Then you will not owe any attorney’s fees.
Under American Bar Association rules, your contingency fee agreement must be in writing and explain what percentage of the recovery your attorney will receive at certain stages of the case. It must also disclose whether you will pay the case’s expenses net or gross of your settlement.
The attorney will receive the funds when your case ends, pay certain parties like your outstanding medical bills, and take their portion out. The remaining funds will be turned over to you.
Let a Car Accident Attorney Help With Your Claim
Car accident claims can be complex, especially when the at-fault driver blames you or their insurance company won’t cooperate. Dealing with challenging insurance claims takes a lot of time, energy, and resources, which you likely do not have in the wake of a serious T-bone crash and resulting injuries.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a T-bone accident, you should be devoting your energy to recovering from your physical and emotional injuries. Let a car accident attorney work vigorously to obtain the full settlement your injuries represent.
Always seek out a law firm with extensive experience and a history of solid recoveries for their clients. The right accident attorney will understand the potential damages you may qualify for and robustly pursue your case and your recovery.
Let a legal professional advocate for your financial recovery and allow you to focus on your physical recovery.