T-bone accidents claim thousands of lives on American roads each year. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, T-bone accidents account for up to 23% of car accident fatalities including the driver and passengers.
Depending on the circumstances, any of the drivers involved in a T-bone accident may be at fault. If the car that is hit on the side ran a red light, then they are at fault because the other car had the right of way.
On the other hand, if the car that got hit on the side had a green light, then the driver at the bottom of the ‘T’ is at fault. However, these are not the only causes of a T-bone accident. In some cases, neither of the drivers is at fault.
It is always best to engage an attorney to help you find key evidence to prove your case.
What Is a T-Bone Accident?
Also known as side-impact collision, a T-bone accident occurs when one driver is hit on the side by another vehicle. The accident is named after the shape that the cars form at the point of impact. These accidents are common at intersections and have high rates of extreme injuries and even death.
Aside from intersections, it is also possible to get into a T-bone accident when driving on a highway. A driver may lose control and skid sideways resulting in a side-impact accident. A T-bone accident can also occur when a speeding vehicle approaching from the side hits a driver pulling out of a parking spot.
How To Determine Fault in a T-Bone Accident
When a side-impact accident occurs, you cannot automatically assign fault to the vehicle that T-boned the other. Fault usually depends on the car that had the right of way. It is not possible for both cars to have the right to move forward, so the vehicle that violated the rules is usually at fault.
However, it is also possible for the car that had the right of way to be at fault. This occurs when they are not alert and do not recognize what the other driver was doing. Unfortunately, when these types of accidents happen, there is rarely any evidence to help clear the car that was not at fault.
When both drivers claim they were on the right, it ultimately depends on witnesses and evidence such as video and pictures. It is always best to contact an attorney as soon as possible to find out your options.
It is also critical to remember that if you are involved in a T-bone accident, the other party’s insurance will try to make you accept a majority of the fault. Never discuss any details of the accidents with anyone apart from your car accident lawyer.
Which Parties Can Be at Fault in a T-Bone Accident?
A T-bone accident can occur as a result of several different parties and, in some cases, more than one party. Some of the parties who may be liable in a T-Bone accident include:
The Drivers Involved
It is likely for either of the drivers involved in the accident to be at fault if they did not have the right of way. Drivers commonly cause accidents at intersections where there is:
- A left turn: In this case, either driver may be at fault. The driver making the left turn might be unaware that the light has turned green and as a result turn in front of a vehicle heading in the opposite direction.
The reverse may also happen where the driver turning left has the green light but the car heading in the opposite direction is unaware that they have a red light. The impact in both cases is severe especially when both cars are traveling at speed.
- A red light: In this case, the drivers traveling from both sides may think they have the green light. As a result, they both cross each other’s path at the same time resulting in a side-impact accident. In this case, the driver who had the red light is actually at fault.
- A stop sign: While it is not common for T-bone accidents to occur at a four-way stop, if one driver has the stop sign while the other does not have traffic control, a side-impact accident may occur. In this case, the driver who had the stop sign is usually at fault if they did not observe the sign.
A driver who has right of way may also be at fault if:
- The driver crossed many lines before the side-impact collision occurs
- They do not have working headlights while driving in the dark
- The driver was speeding
- The driver was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- The vehicle experienced mechanical failure as a result of poor maintenance
- The driver was texting, talking on the phone, or otherwise distracted
If one or both of the cars involved in a T-bone accident have faulty components such as a stuck accelerator or bad brakes, the vehicle manufacturer may also carry a percentage of the fault.
Victims involved in this type of accident may be able to sue the manufacturer for injuries and damages.
A Third-Party Driver
In some unique cases, the driver at fault can manage to completely evade the collision. As a result, another driver on the scene may swerve and cause a T-bone accident.
While the car that evaded the accident still shares fault, the driver that is actually involved in the collision may still be held responsible.
If you have ever wondered why some intersections seem more dangerous than others, it may be caused by poor design. Some features at a specific intersection make it more dangerous such as:
- Inappropriate signage
- Poor sightlines
- Confusing layouts
Drivers should approach each intersection with undivided attention to prevent accidents.
Filing a Claim After a T-Bone Accident
It is always best to consult an attorney immediately after an accident. Your lawyer can help you prove liability using evidence collected and the scene of the accident.
After an accident, you may be confused, incapacitated, and unable to collect evidence at the crime scene. Contacting your lawyer ensures you have someone to gather valuable evidence to support your claim.
A T-bone accident can leave you with many expenses including:
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation bills
- Pain and suffering
- Future medical bills
- Emotional distress caused by the loss of a loved one, and others.
Get in touch with your lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected, and you receive fair compensation for your loss.