No one sets out to drive somewhere and thinks they’ll be in an accident as frightening as a t-bone accident. A t-bone accident is one in which the front of one driver’s car hits the door side (either passenger or driver side) of another, forming a “t” with the two vehicles. This often happens when one of the drivers does not yield the right of way to another driver, such as at a stop sign or stoplight. Once the accident happens, drivers can be unnerved and unsure who’s at fault and what to do. Here’s what you need to know.
What Are Causes for T-Bone Collisions?
There are several. Besides the situation mentioned above involving stoplights or stop signs, the following situations can lead to t-bone collisions:
- Distracted drivers. This can be one or both.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Not obeying other traffic signs, such as a yield sign.
- Speeding or other dangerous forms of driving and other types of driver negligence.
Is One Driver Usually at Fault in a T-Bone Accident?
Not usually. T-bones are sometimes easy to assign fault, such as when a traffic or security camera catches footage of someone speeding and running a red light and t-boning someone else who was obeying the speed limit and had the legal right to be in the intersection. Since situations like this usually have the speeding driver ramming the front end of their car into the side of the other vehicle, it’s easy to assume any car that ends up in this position is at fault.
But other cases are not as clear and can be challenging to litigate, which is why it’s advised to have lawyers who have handled these types of cases on your side. An example of a more complex case is someone who ran a red light and crashed into someone speeding or under the influence. There’s potential blame on both sides. Of course, the other side’s lawyer will try and apportion more fault to you, so having a lawyer who can represent your side can be in your best interests.
How Is Fault Determined?
There are a number of ways to determine who was at fault other than assuming the person driving the car that hit the door of the other vehicle is responsible. There are several suggestions below about what to do if you’re in such an accident, including collecting evidence such as photos, videos, eyewitness statements, and filing police reports. Our personal injury lawyers are aware of various ways to assess fault, and we will use everything that’s available to us to help you. Our lawyers will often gather expert evidence in the form of accident reconstructions to prove what really happened. Using information about vehicle location, speed, time, and site variables can all impact the appraisal of fault and ultimately make the difference between a winning and losing case.
What Damages Might I Get from Being T-Boned if the Other Driver Is at Fault?
That depends on whether bodily injuries were sustained and/or your vehicle was damaged. In the first case, it’s possible to recoup any out-of-pocket medical bills and possibly lost wages if you were unable to work because of the injuries. In terms of the latter, having your vehicle repaired or, if it was totaled, fully replaced is possible.
There are other types of damages too. When the accident had severe consequences, it may be worth suing for pain and suffering and punitive damages (damages meant to punish the liable person beyond paying expenses).
If the worst occurs and there’s a death, family members may be able to sue for wrongful death, a case where if the person had not died but had been injured, they could have filed a suit for personal injury. In the case of spouses or committed couples, there’s also the option to pursue a loss of consortium case. This means that the surviving partner lost benefits such as companionship, future earnings, joint parenthood, and household services.
What Should I Do if I Was in a T-Bone Accident?
Call us at 782-824-5059 to set up a free case review to go through your specific situation. Car accidents can be complicated situations that can benefit from having experienced, knowledgeable lawyers working on them. In general, here are the steps to take when an accident happens: if you are physically able, exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. If you can, take photos and videos (your phone is fine for this) of the scene of the accident, as that will be invaluable evidence. If there are witnesses who saw the accident happen, get their names and contact info too. Note if there are any buildings nearby, whether commercial or residential, that might have security cameras that might have captured video of the accident happening. Then call the police and file a police report, which you’ll need for your case.
- Soon after the accident. Even if you don’t think you were injured, have yourself checked out by a medical professional. Some injuries don’t always have obvious symptoms, or the symptoms may not appear for a few days or even weeks. If you feel fine at first but start having pain or other symptoms later, make another visit to a doctor to document that.
- In the days following the accident. Set up time to discuss the case with a lawyer. It’s possible that the other driver’s lawyer and/or insurance company may try to contact you to discuss the case or a possible settlement. Don’t speak with them. Instead, refer them to your lawyer. Their primary goals will be to get you to say something that they can use as proof that you have more liability in the case than you do or to get you to accept a settlement that’s much lower than you might be entitled to. Let your lawyer handle the negotiations.