Generally, the negligent motorist is at fault for a T-bone accident. Yet, that is not always the case. Depending on the circumstances, another party could be to blame for the crash. For instance, if a defective steering system led to the collision, you could sue the car’s manufacturer through a product liability claim.
If a T-bone accident injured you, the soundest advice is to seek a car accident lawyer who understands these accidents. An attorney can investigate the collision and determine who casued your losses.
Multiple Parties You Could Hold Liable in a T-Bone Accident
T-bone accidents are among the most life-threatening collisions. A T-bone accident is a side-impact collision; the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another. These types of crashes are also called broadside collisions, as they occur on the wide or broad side of the vehicle.
Ultimately, fault and liability for these collisions depend on who acted negligently.
Proving negligence involves showing:
- Duty of care. The other driver had a duty to exercise care on the road to avoid causing harm to others. All drivers have this duty under the law. So, this fact is a given in most car accident cases.
- Breach of duty. The other driver failed to exercise reasonable care while operating a vehicle. His actions did not demonstrate the same caution that a reasonable driver would have in the same situation. Someone breaches their duty of care when they text or drink behind the wheel, for example.
- Causation. The other driver’s negligence led to your T-bone accident and resulted in your injuries.
- Damages. You sustained injuries and losses resulting from the accident. You could use your medical records and injury-related receipts to prove this factor.
Proving negligence requires an understanding of the law, evidence, and experience. You shouldn’t have to worry about proving it on your own. Instead, you can entrust your case to a personal injury lawyer in your area.
How Do T-Bone Accidents Occur, and Who Can I Hold Accountable?
To understand who is at fault for a T-bone accident, it’s a good idea to understand how these accidents happen in the first place.
There are potentially numerous ways that T-bone crashes happen. Frequently, these collisions happen at intersections when traffic moves in multiple directions. Drivers may be distracted, in a hurry, confused about the right of way, or misjudge traffic lights.
Common reasons side-impact collisions occur include:
Drivers Running Red Lights
Whether they are in a hurry, drunk, or simply not paying attention, drivers who run red lights frequently cause T-bone accidents. This traffic violation puts the red-light runner at direct fault for the crash. They could also face criminal charges in addition to civil liability.
Failure to Yield the Right of Way
When drivers assume they have the right of way (when, in fact, they do not), a collision is bound to happen. The same is true when drivers disregard stop signs and yield signs.
Improper Left Turns
Drivers initiating left turns can cause T-bone accidents. For instance, if the left-turn driver ignores a traffic signal, they could collide with another car’s side.
The left-turn driver is then responsible for causing the accident. In some situations, the driver traveling straight through the intersection may be at fault, depending on the situation.
Making a U-turn creates the unfortunate opportunity for T-bone accidents to occur, especially when done illegally. Drivers attempting to make the turn hastily open themselves up to a side impact strike by oncoming cars operated by drivers who do not anticipate the maneuver.
Exiting Parking Lots
Drivers who leave parking lots or parking spaces must yield to the cars that are already on the road or in the parking lane. If they enter traffic prematurely, a driver on the road can T-bone the vehicle. The parking lot driver would be at fault for failing to yield.
Driving at excessive speeds makes it extremely difficult to stop the vehicle on a dime. For instance, a speeding motorist has less time to stop if they encounter a red light, roadway hazard, or another element.
In most scenarios involving the factors discussed above, the person at fault for the T-bone accident is generally clear, especially if they broke the law at the time. There are times when the at-fault party is not clear, however. When you partner with a lawyer, you don’t have to serve as your own investigator. Your legal team can determine the cause of your T-bone accident and pursue damages.
Other Parties Could Have Liability for Your Injury-Related Expenses
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that most car accidents result from driver error. Yet, that’s not the case for every situation.
Other factors can contribute to side-impact collisions, including:
- Driving irresponsibly in inclement weather. Some areas, like Georgia, experience their fair share of adverse weather events, from snow squalls to hurricanes. These instances can affect drivers’ ability to operate their vehicles properly.
- Vehicular malfunction. Steering problems, brake malfunction, and other concerns can affect motorists’ ability to drive safely. In these instances, you wouldn’t pursue damages from another motorist. Instead, you could file a product liability claim or lawsuit against the responsible party.
- Poor roadways. Municipalities must maintain public roadways. This involves making sure there’s appropriate signage, functioning traffic signals, and clear roads. When government agencies don’t keep roadways safe, they could bear liability for any resulting damages.
Sometimes, more than one party could have liability for a T-bone accident. In that instance, juggling communications with multiple parties can get complicated. That’s where you may consider partnering with a lawyer. They can handle all emails, text messages, and phone calls from those involved. That gives you more time to focus on healing and less time worrying.
How Could More Than One Party Have Liability?
Consider this hypothetical scenario to understand how multiple parties could have liability for a T-bone accident. You’re driving down the street with a green light when you reach an intersection. A car turning left strikes your vehicle. An investigation uncovers that the other motorist was intoxicated and their brakes malfunctioned.
In that instance:
- You could file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. You would allege that because they drove while intoxicated, they caused your accident and injuries. Here, you would have to prove negligence to resolve your case.
- You could file a claim with the brakes manufacturer. You would allege that because the brakes failed, this contributed to your accident. In this situation, you would file a product liability claim, which does not require you to prove negligence.
- Depending on the details of your insurance policy, you could file a claim with your own insurer. Some states require motorists to carry coverage for these incidents.
Again, no one wants to juggle communications with more than one at-fault party. This is yet another reason to consider entrusting your case to a car accident lawyer.
T-Bone Accidents Can Cause Life-Altering Injuries
T-bone accidents can cause:
- Head, neck, and abdominal injuries
- Chest injuries, such as rib fractures
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions
- Spinal cord trauma
- Soft-tissue injuries, such as whiplash
- Penetrating injuries
Some factors can exacerbate the severity of a T-bone collision. For instance, the higher a person’s body mass index (BMI), the more injuries they could sustain. When both vehicles travel at high speeds, this can also increase the likelihood of suffering life-altering conditions.
Knowing Fault for a T-Bone Accident Empowers You to Seek Damages
A side-impact strike could prove life-threatening, if not fatal altogether. That’s why the law allows you to recover damages stemming from the collision.
After a side-impact collision, you could recover damages for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Diminished future earning capacity
- Therapy, including chiropractic care
- Vehicle damage or other property damage
- Temporary transportation arrangements (e.g., using a rental car or rideshare services)
- Substitute domestic services (such as hiring someone to perform tasks around the house)
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of activities
- Physical trauma
- Scars and disfigurement
As noted, some T-bone accidents can have fatal outcomes. If you lost a loved one in a collision, you could recoup damages for their funeral, burial, and memorial.
How Much You Can Recover Depends on Your Collision
T-bone accidents don’t come with pre-determined monetary values. That means your compensable losses could vary from someone else’s in a similar collision.
When determining your damages, your lawyer can consider your:
- Projected recovery period
- Injury’s severity
- Working ability
- Day-to-day function
- Insurance policy
- Financial losses
- Projected care costs
A lawyer can recover everything you need to make you financially whole again. They can gather evidence to assert the value of your economic damages, such as receipts and invoices. When it comes to calculating your non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering), they consider various aspects of your situation, including your quality of life.
You Must Act Within the State’s Statute of Limitations to Seek Damages
Depending on where you live (along with the accident’s circumstances), you could have anywhere from one year to a few years to file your lawsuit. Following this deadline is crucial. Even filing your lawsuit one day outside of the applicable deadline could invalidate your right to damages.
You have enough on your plate after suffering a T-bone accident. By allowing a lawyer to manage your case, you also allow them to manage its deadlines. This preserves your right to compensation and promotes your case’s outcome.
You Need Evidence to Establish Fault for Your T-Bone Accident
Pointing fingers and making baseless accusations gets personal injury claimants nowhere. They need evidence to show how the accident happened and who is liable.
Supporting information may comprise:
- The accident report
- Traffic camera footage
- Eyewitness testimony
- Forensic evidence
- Photos of the accident scene and your car’s damage
When you work with an attorney, they may partner with an accident reconstruction specialist. These professionals rely on physics, computer models, and simulations to learn how accidents happen. Their findings could prove invaluable when asserting who caused your collision.
A Car Accident Lawyer Can Find Out Who Is at Fault in Your T-Bone Accident
Navigating a T-bone accident claim alone is difficult. To recover the compensation you deserve, it’s beneficial to have a car accident lawyer on your side. It’s next to impossible to carry on an investigation and figure out who is at fault for your T-bone crash while recovering from catastrophic injuries.
Further, lacking legal knowledge could result in you accepting a low settlement from the negligent driver’s insurance company. Your injury lawyer can take on the responsibility of getting compensation while you recuperate.
What You Can Expect From Your Collisions Lawyer
Many lawyers offer their services on a contingency-fee basis. This means, as the injured claimant, you pay nothing upfront for their services. This arrangement could make affording a lawyer’s help more accessible.
A T-bone accident lawyer can:
- Investigate the collision to determine (who and what) caused the crash
- Identify the liable parties, which may include insurance companies, government entities, car manufacturers, or another entity
- Keep track of your accident-related losses and expenses
- Calculate the total value of your T-bone accident claim to ensure you demand what you deserve
- Negotiate with the insurer for a fair settlement
- Keep you updated on the status of your case as it progresses
- Represent you in court if a lawsuit becomes necessary and your case goes to trial
Fault is crucial to recovering the compensation you need and deserve after a T-bone accident. If you’re suffering injuries from this type of crash, consider contacting a personal injury attorney in Atlanta who can help. They can assess your losses, determine the at-fault party, and advocate for financial justice.