When you’re the victim of a t-bone accident, it’s very common to seek compensation for your injuries and damage to your property. You have a right to take up a civil matter with the driver who was at fault. Seeking compensation usually means filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. In some instances, it may be your own insurance, depending on your state laws.
Some states in the U.S. are “at-fault states, otherwise known as “tort” states, meaning the driver who is responsible for the accident is also responsible for paying the other driver’s medical and property damage bills. This can be done through insurance, or the payment can be made out of pocket. If paid through insurance, it’s important to note that compensation is dependent upon the limits of the other driver’s insurance policy. If your damages exceed this, you’ll have to think about filing a lawsuit to recover the rest from the at-fault driver’s assets.
An accident in a no-fault state requires the at-fault driver to pay for property damage while your own personal injury protection (PIP) covers your own medical bills. Likewise, the other driver will seek compensations for bodily injuries through their own PIP coverage. The following states are no-fault states:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
When it comes to legal liability, we have to look at a few theories that can include up to four different parties.
The other driver: The other driver is frequently the liable party in a t-bone accident, and someone has to be identified as the one who is at fault. Since intersections are common locations for these types of accidents, one of the two drivers was in the intersection at the wrong time. Let’s take a look at what may have caused that to be.
- Speeding: Speeding has always been a primary culprit in car accidents. If a driver approaches an intersection at an excessive speed, they have little time to react. Frequently in a t-bone accident, one driver was racing to beat a yellow light. It could be either driver who does this, either to make it through the yellow light or to make a left turn before the light turns red.
- Distracted driving: Another all too common cause for t-bone accidents is inattention at the wheel. Drivers who are distracted are more likely to miss stop signs, traffic signal changes, and red lights. Distracted driving can be caused by many things such as texting, eating, or attending to children or other passengers.
- DUI: Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is always a bad decision. Driving while impaired severely limits the driver’s ability to make quick decisions and navigate out of harm’s way. DUI drivers frequently make stupid mistakes because they cannot analyze risks the same way they would while sober.
Traffic designers and developers: The manner in which roadways and intersections are designed can have an impact on the probability of a t-bone accident occurring. If the design is poor, it’s possible that the town or municipality could have some liability.
- Improper signaling: Traffic signal phasing defines the right-of-way, yellow change, and red clearance intervals in traffic cycling. There are rules for this type of design, and mistakes can easily be made depending on the complexity of the intersection. The same goes for signage on the roadways that should adequately explain to drivers the rules of that particular intersection.
- Bad sight-lines: A traffic designer should not create intersections right after blind curves or hills. Any driver deserves to have a sufficient amount of time to put on the brakes or make decisions before entering an intersection. If the designer placed an intersection in an inappropriate location, this could factor into who can be held liable.
- Car and automotive parts manufacturers: Over the years, we’ve all heard about recalls for all kinds of things like airbags, ignition switches, faulty gas tanks, and overall poor design of vehicles that have led to injuries and deaths. If a t-bone accident follows directly after some mechanical failure, the car or automotive parts manufacturer could be on the hook for product liability.