T-Bone Car Accidents: What Do I Need to Know?

T-Bone Car Accidents: What Do I Need to Know?

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T-Bone Car Accidents: What Do I Need to Know?

A t-bone car crash gets its name from the “T” shaped impression left on a car when the front of another car makes an impact. They are also commonly known as side-impact or angular collisions. These types of accidents are usually caused when a driver fails to yield at an intersection, blows through a stop sign, or makes a risky decision when turning left on a green light. A t-bone car accident can happen in a variety of ways which we will discuss further.

As with any car accident, determining fault will significantly affect how and if you’re eligible for compensation. The outcome also depends on which state the accident occurred in. For many, this kind of accident is only something they see in the movies, but the trauma can be life-changing for those who experience it in real life. These types of accidents are among the most severe and often cause serious injuries and even death.

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  • What are t-bone accident statistics?

    According to a 2019 report by the Insurance Information Institute, angle collisions with another moving vehicle were responsible for 6,039 deaths resulting in the highest percentage of all fatal two-car collisions at 18.2%.

    T-bone accidents also represent about 13 percent of all crashes in the U.S. annually. These types of accidents are particularly deadly for children and have gone up over the past 20 years because of the introduction of newer types of vehicles such as SUVs and increased speed limits on highways.

    Angle collisions are simply more catastrophic because, unlike a rear-end collision, the driver and passengers are only protected by glass and door frame metal. Vehicles have the least amount of protection from reinforcement and framing on the sides compared to the rest of the vehicle. 

    When you’re hit broadside, you’re also more likely to be shoved into another lane, potentially putting you in the pathway of another unsuspecting motorist and getting hit a second or even third time. Even if there is no oncoming traffic, your vehicle could be pushed into stationary objects such as utility poles or guard rails. It’s not at all uncommon for your car to roll over from such an impact causing further serious injuries or death. 

  • Who is at fault in a t-bone accident?

    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:

    • Florida
    • Hawaii
    • Kansas
    • Kentucky
    • Massachusetts
    • Michigan
    • Minnesota
    • New Jersey
    • New York
    • North Dakota
    • Pennsylvania
    • Utah

    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.

    1. 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.
    2. 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. 
    3. 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.

    1. 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.
    2. 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. 
    3. 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.
  • What are the common causes of t-bone crashes?

    Most frequently, a t-bone accident will occur when one or more drivers fail to yield or give right of way to other drivers. Failure to obey traffic signals and signs is another common cause of a broadside accident. 

    This type of accident could be caused by crumbling infrastructure, power outages at traffic lights, poor car maintenance, or failure to consider inclement weather. For example, suppose an old car stalls while trying to make a turn from a side road onto a major highway during a thunderstorm. Another driver on the highway fails to see the stalled driver because they are driving unreasonably fast for the weather conditions. In that case, it may be that both drivers will share in the fault.

  • What are common injuries in a t-bone collision?

    Side impact collisions are among the deadliest, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This is because the human body can only withstand the sudden transfer of intense energy up to a point. This is called the mechanism of injury (MOI). Once that point is passed, the body’s tissues, bones, organs, and muscles can be injured because tissues and organs slam against internal cavities, and bones break.   

    Here are the most common injuries from a t-bone collision:

    • Bone fractures
    • Tissue injuries
    • Traumatic brain injuries
    • Organ shear
    • Aortic dissection
    • Concussion
    • Whiplash
    • Spinal cord injury
    • Hip and leg injuries
    • Knee, ankle, and foot injuries
    • Shoulder injuries
  • What is the average payout for a t-bone accident?

    An important thing to understand is since every accident is unique, there is no average for a settlement. The amount you can obtain in compensation is dependent upon many factors such as who was at fault, the severity of your injuries and damages, if you are unable to work moving forward, and losses from a spouse or dependants.

    When you have an injury that causes pain and suffering over the course of time, such as a herniated disc, we may be able to get more for you on that basis alone. For example, a client of ours was offered just $16,000 for injuries he sustained from a t-bone car accident. The insurance company wouldn’t budge on that number, but we understood his pain and suffering were worth much more than that. In the end, we were able to secure a verdict that awarded our client $245,000. 

    When you’re in a car accident, it’s imperative that you first see a doctor, then contact Morgan & Morgan attorneys to represent you.

  • How can Morgan & Morgan’s experienced trial attorneys make a difference in my case?

    Throughout our more than 30 years of experience with personal injury cases, we have learned that people don’t understand what they have to gain. They are only looking at things from the standpoint of how much they have to lose. Being injured in a car accident takes its toll, both physically and emotionally. The insurance companies know this and may use your weakness as an excuse to pad their bottom line instead of settling fairly with you.

    We know the difference a trial can make, and that’s why all of our attorneys are trial-ready. From the moment we take on your case, we’re preparing for a trial. Not all personal injury attorneys take that approach. Instead, they’re more interested in settling for what may be pennies on the dollar for you. It’s just easier that way. Then they can churn and burn through the next client. 

    At Morgan & Morgan, we never take that approach. We understand that every client has a right to the most compensation possible, and we make every effort to get it to them. Contact us today for a free case evaluation, and let us show what a difference the right kind of lawyer can make for your future. 

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