T-bone car accidents, also known as side-impact collisions, occur when the front of one vehicle collides with the side of another, creating an intersection of vehicles that resembles the letter “T.” These types of accidents are particularly dangerous because they often involve a direct impact to the driver or passenger's side door, which offers less protection than the front and back of a vehicle.
In 2020, T-bone accidents were responsible for a significant percentage of deaths resulting from car accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), side-impact collisions accounted for nearly a quarter of all vehicular occupant fatalities - an alarming 23% in total.
Understanding who is at fault in a T-bone accident case is important for determining liability and seeking compensation with the help of personal injury lawyers, if you have been injured in such an accident.
Common Causes of T-Bone Accidents
Most t-bone car accidents happen at intersections when one driver crosses the path of another driver after running a stop sign or red light. The resulting impact can cause significant t bone car damage and injury to both drivers and passengers involved in the accident. Common causes for t-bone crashes include:
1. Blind Spot: One of the common causes of a T-bone crash is when one driver fails to see the other car because it is in their blind spot, such as in a t-bone accident in a parking lot scenario. Drivers should be mindful of each others’ blind spots and double check that the coast is clear before making a turn.
2. Running a Red Light: The next most frequent cause of T-bone car accidents is when a driver runs a traffic light(or stop sign), resulting in being struck by a vehicle coming from another direction. It's very important for drivers to not only pay attention to traffic lights but also be aware that oncoming traffic may not obey them.
3. Speeding: When drivers are going too fast, they often don't have enough time to react or avoid an accident when athe other vehicle makes an unexpected move like turning left at an intersection or crossing into oncoming traffic.
4. Distracted Driving: Another major factor in potential T-bone collisions is distracted driving and inattention due to cellphone use, eating, drinking or talking with passengers while operating the car. It’s best for drivers not to engage in any distracting activity while behind the wheel, as it endangers everyone around them on the road.
5. Poor Maneuvering Skills or Motor Response Time: If a driver loses control and is not good enough to make evasive maneuvers when someone unexpectedly turns into their way, this can easily lead to a broadside collision with the other driver, especially if they don't react quickly enough and don't brake hard enough to stop themselves in time.
6. Drunk Driving: Impaired judgement caused by alcohol consumption means impaired drivers may make poor decisions such as turning suddenly across multiple lanes instead of keeping within one lane; this may then lead to a T-bone collision happening at intersections where intoxicated motorists enter without yielding right-of-way while running red lights, signs and other indicators causing them to collide with the other driver.
7. Bad Road Conditions/Weather Conditions/Poor Visibility: Sudden bad weather conditions like fog, snow storms ,heavy rain, icy roads which reduces visibility can also lead to T -Bone Accidents. Similarly, badly maintained roads or even broken traffic signals can cause confusion among drivers leading to these types of accidents.
When T-bone car accidents occur, it can be hard to determine which driver is at fault when there are two vehicles involved. However, it is necessary to identify the party responsible for the t-boned car crash. The at-fault driver is the one whose careless or negligent actions caused the crash and can be held legally accountable for resulting damages.
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Common T-Bone Accident Injuries
Injuries from t-bone car accidents are most often caused by blunt force trauma. This differs from other types of car crashes where the car's front or rear end takes most of the impact. In a t-bone collision, an occupant is usually unable to avoid coming into contact with part of the striking vehicle or some component inside their own car. This can result in very severe injuries due to the lack of force absorption with a side impact of the vehicle. The different types of t-bone injuries range from minor as cuts & bruises to catastrophic injuries, including wrongful death. Other examples of injuries, include:
- Traumatic Brain injury(TBIs) / Concussions
- Head Injuries w/ Skull Fractures
- Neck Injuries
- Back Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Chest Injuries
- Abdomen & Pelvic Injuries
- Internal Injuries and/or Bleeding
- Bone fractures of Upper/Lower extremities
Even if you've sustained a minor t-bone accident injury, you may be entitled to compensation. It is important to speak with an experienced accident lawyer about your case and the potential for recovery. Our law firm can help you prove that the other party was at fault for the accident and can pursue compensation on your behalf.
Who Is At Fault In A T-Bone Accident?
When it comes to determining who is at fault after a T-bone car accident occurred, there are several factors that must be taken into consideration. For example, if one driver ran a red light/stop sign or failed to yield the right of way, they may be held liable for any damages caused by the accident. Under Florida personal injury law, negligence is the basis for holding another party liable for an accident. Negligence involves failing to obey traffic laws and can be used as evidence to prove that someone else was responsible for the incident.
No matter what, it's important to get as much information as possible to determine who is at fault. Evidence at the scene can prove invaluable in this regard. Try to document everything so that you have all the facts necessary to make an informed decision.
Gathering the right evidence after a t-bone collision is essential for success in a claim. What evidence you need depends on the magnitude of the crash, and how seriously you were hurt. If you were only slightly injured, then photos of the scene and the vehicles involved, a police report, witness testimonies, and medical records will suffice. However, if your injuries are severe, you or your legal representative may want to obtain additional information such as accident reconstruction reports and engineering analyses. Below is a guide to help you understand what you SHOULD and SHOULD NOT do :
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What To DO At The Scene
1. Stop and Make Sure Everyone is Okay: It is important to make sure that everyone involved in the t-bone collision is safe. Check for any injuries and call for medical attention if necessary. Remain calm, take a few deep breaths, and use your best judgement in any situation that may arise from at accident scene.
2. Make Contact with Local Law Enforcement: Once you have made sure everyone is okay, you should contact local law enforcement to report the accident and seek advice about what should be done next. It is a good idea to take pictures of the scene and any damage that has been sustained while you wait on their arrival.
3. Exchange Contact Information with All Involved Parties: You need to exchange contact information and insurance details with the other driver involved in the car accident including occupants of both vehicles, pedestrians or bystanders who may have witnessed the incident, or anyone else who was not inside the other vehicle at the time of collision.
4. File an Accident Report: It is important that you file an official police report with both your insurance company and local law enforcement so everything gets documented properly before completing repairs or getting replacement parts for your vehicle.
5. Be Alert for Delayed Onset Injuries: Sometimes physical symptoms do not surface immediately after a t-bone car accident- especially if shock was present at the time of collision due to high speed impact or trauma from a violent crash; however these injuries can still occur even days afterwards so it’s important to remain vigilant and watch out for any signs of delayed onset injuries such as headaches, muscle soreness, sleeplessness etc., which may require additional medical attention and therapy following the incident itself.
6. Contact your Insurance Company: Contact your insurance provider within 24 hours after your t-bone accident has taken place and provide them with all relevant information regarding any damages sustained, as well as witness contacts/descriptions where possible for formal reporting purposes. This will also ensure that you are fully covered under their policy terms and conditions once all paperwork has been completed on their end too!
7. Keep Documentation Handy: Keep copies of photos from the scene along with insurance forms & records related to repairs/replacement work carried out on your vehicle handy, in case your personal injury lawyer needs them later for your personal injury case. It may also be helpful if possible to hold onto items like broken glass fragments/parts etc., found during clean up procedures which could potentially serve as evidence further down into the investigation stages too!
What NOT To DO At The Scene
- Don’t Leave the Scene: Leaving the scene of a t-bone crash is illegal in most places, and it could be considered a hit and run. Even if there is no visible damage to your car or another car, make sure to stay at the scene until authorities arrive. Leaving the area can make you liable for any damages that were later found, regardless of who was actually at fault. Should you NEED to leave for safety reasons, always let police know the details upon arrival.
- Don’t Admit Fault: After an accident has occurred, emotions may be running high. It may be tempting to admit fault but resist this impulse as it can end up being used against you later on when deciding liability or filing insurance claims.
- Don’t Neglect Seeing a Doctor: If you sustain any injuries from a car accident big or small, don't ignore them! This includes whiplash, brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorders which can take days or even weeks for symptoms to appear. Allocating time for medical appointments and follow-ups should become a priority as soon as possible following an accident.
- Don’t Immediately File Your Insurance Claim: You may want to take action as soon as possible after a crash but it's important to hold off before calling your insurance agency, because statements made during these calls are usually recorded - making them legally binding and often affecting potential compensation down the line.
- Don't Talk Too Much About The Accident With Others: Whether it's an acquaintance, co-worker or family member - it's important not to discuss much about what happened until you have consulted an attorney to thoroughly investigate what really happened during the crash (photos/videos).
- Don’t Forget To Document Everything Along The Way: Don't forget that while settling all matters related to your car accident that each step along this process must be kept track of in some sort of file format.
- Don't Delay Seeking Legal Advice If Necessary: It's important not to delay seeking your free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney, if deemed necessary
Seeking Compensation for Damages After a T-Bone Crash
If you were injured in a side-impact collision and are seeking compensation, you may be able to secure it through an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the at-fault party. You must be able to prove fault that another party caused the crash in order for your claim to be successful. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to seek compensation from one or more responsible parties.
Potentially Liable Parties in a T-Bone Car Accident
Your Health Insurer
Health insurers are generally only responsible for covering medical treatment related to a T-bone accident. In other words, they won't pay for lost wages or other damages. And, even if the insurer does pay for medical care, if you're able to get compensation from another driver who caused the crash, then your health insurance company will likely demand repayment of the money they paid out.
Your Auto Insurer
In a no-fault state like Florida, if you are involved in a t-bone accident that causes minor injuries, your car insurer can help provide compensation. Depending on what's included in your policy, you may be able to collect your medical costs through your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage or medical payments coverage (MedPay). In addition, if the other driver has inadequate insurance coverage and you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your policy, you can also receive compensation beyond your PIP limits from your car insurer.
The At-Fault Driver
To make a claim for compensation against the responsible party responsible for the damage(s) suffered, you must contact the at-fault driver's insurance company. This could potentially mean receiving a settlement or taking legal action in court. The insurance company’s payments are limited to the maximum amount of liability coverage held by the at-fault driver.
At-Fault Driver’s Employer
Based on a concept known as vicarious liability which states that a company is responsible for their employee’s actions while they are on duty, you could sue the employer, even if the company wasn't negligent at all. If the employee caused the T-bone car accident while performing work-related duties at the time of the t bone accident, you could pursue legal action for compensation against them.
In cases of T-bone car accidents caused by poorly designed roads or defective traffic lights, the responsibility for the accident may lie with the local, state, or city government. In such cases, claiming against a government entity can present its own challenges, on top of those that are presented in a typical car accident case. To ensure success in such matters, it is vitally important to work with an experienced car accident lawyer who is familiar with this type of lawsuit and its special sovereign immunity rules to maximize your t-bone accident settlement.
When T-bone car accidents are the result of a vehicle defect, the car manufacturer or supply chain involved might be held liable for any losses. This could include defects like brake failure, leaving a vehicle unable to stop. In these cases, companies that make and distribute such parts, as well as makers of the actual car itself may be held financially responsible.
Damages Compensated In T-Bone Car Accidents
Economic damages are a type of legal compensation awarded to individuals who have suffered financially due to the actions of another party. These damages are intended to help you recover any direct monetary losses such as medical bills, lost wages, vehicle repairs and other expenses resulting from the incident. To claim economic losses, you must be able to prove these losses in dollar amounts, which may require documents such as medical bills or letters from your employer’s payroll office. If you intend to seek future damages like medical expenses or lost wages, then expert witnesses may be required.
Non-economic damages seek to compensate injured individuals for the physical and emotional suffering they experienced as a result of their accident. Unlike economic damages, pain and suffering do not have an clear numerical value. As a consequence, this type of damage is often undervalued by insurance companies, which is why it is important for accident victims to understand their legal options for recovering these losses. You can prevent this undervaluation, by hiring a good personal injury attorney.
In Florida, the multiplier method is a formula used to calculate an individual's non-economic damages in cases involving personal injury or similar civil claims. It begins with the person's economic damages, such as medical bills and lost wages, and multiplies those costs by a specific number to estimate the individual's pain and suffering valuation. Insurance companies and courts can use the multiplier method for determining worth of damages in personal injury cases.
The multiplier method is a system used to calculate non-economic damages in civil cases. It involves assigning a number between 1.5 and 5 that reflects the severity of the injury, multiplying this number by the victim's economic damages, and arriving at a sum that should cover any non-economic losses they have incurred as a result of their injury.
Examples of non-economic damages are listed below:
- Physical pain and discomfort
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish and trauma
- Decrease in quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Disabilities and permanent impairments
In some legal proceedings, your car accident attorney can fight to get damages awarded to a family member for the “loss of consortium”. This type of compensation seeks to provide those close to an injured person with financial remuneration for the loss of their love, friendship, support and guidance that would have been there if not for their loved ones accident or injury.
Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are awarded to plaintiffs in civil lawsuits on top of actual damages or compensation. They are meant to serve as a deterrent for the defendant and others from committing similar offenses in the future. To be eligible for punitive damages, it must be proven that the defendant has acted maliciously or displayed gross negligence.
How A Miami Car Accident Lawyer Can Help With Your T-Bone Accident
In most t-bone car accidents, before negotiating a settlement with the responsible party or their insurer, it is vitally important to schedule a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer at Beharry Law. We will assist them in determining who is responsible for the damages caused by the accident. With our help, we can help prove the other drivers fault in the accident and get our clients compensated for their medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other expenses related to their injuries. Click the button below to schedule a consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
How common are T-bone accidents?
According to recent studies of traffic accident data, T-bone collisions (or side-impact crashes) are increasingly common. This type of crash involves the front end of one vehicle striking the side of another vehicle, often at an intersection or driveway. These accidents can range in severity, but tend to be more deadly than head-on collisions due to their higher impact force.
What happens to your body when you get t boned?
In the event of a T-bone car accident, your body can experience a number of injuries. The impact of the collision can result in whiplash in your neck, back, and head injuries. You may also suffer cuts or bruises as objects become loose inside your car, such as carpets, mats and glass fragments due to shattered windows. Even broken bones are possible when t-boned.
What injuries can you get from being T boned?
T-bone accidents can produce serious, often life-threatening injuries. Common injuries include head trauma, broken bones, spinal cord damage, internal bleeding and organ damage. While seatbelts and airbags may reduce the risk of injury in some cases, they won’t always prevent serious harm.
Who is usually at fault in a T-bone?
In a T-bone car accident, the driver who broadsided the other vehicle is almost always considered to be at fault. This is because they failed to give the right of way, or yield, to the other driver that had legal right-of-way over them.
What side of the car is most T boned?
The side of the vehicle which is most commonly t-boned is the driver's side, or left side when looking at the car head on. This is due to most streets having two way traffic and many intersections where drivers are required to turn right at a red light.
Are T-bone crashes the worst?
T-bone crashes can be among the worst, if not the worst, type of collisions due to the violent nature of these accidents. Because two vehicles are hitting directly in line with one another, there is nowhere for the passengers in either vehicle to escape the force of impact and they may be crushed by that impact. Additionally, the jerking motion caused by this crash can cause whiplash and other potentially serious injuries.