In the USA, there are about 3.18 million T-Bone incidents each year. The National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA) reports that these crashes contribute to 28% of fatalities and 25% of injuries in auto accidents. Like other auto accidents, T-Bone collisions are unpredictable and cause more severe injuries than head-on collisions because they involve two vehicles colliding with each other's front ends on either their right or left sides.
Neck injuries, head damage, and spinal cord injuries, among other traumas, could happen if involved in a T-Bone crash. After your vehicle accident, you should seek immediate medical help and hire a personal injury lawyer with a solid reputation. While you heal at home or the hospital, your lawyer could help chase compensation on your behalf.
At Foos Gavin Law Firm, we have helped several injured victims receive fair compensation for damages and injuries caused to them. It might be difficult, especially in Sacramento, California, to prove that another driver is at fault. We conduct thorough investigations and present evidence in court. Reach out to us and give us the responsibility of seeking your compensation award.
How Does A T-Bone Accident Happen?
A T-bone accident, also known as a side-impact collision or a broadside collision, occurs when the front of one vehicle hits the side of another. This type of accident is called a T-bone collision because its shape resembles the letter "T." T-bone collisions can be dangerous because the side of a vehicle offers less protection than the front or back. As a result, T-bone collisions often result in serious injuries or fatalities.
Major Causes of T-Bone Accidents
Many factors can contribute to a T-bone collision, including:
- Failing to observe traffic signals: Failing to observe traffic signals, for example, stop signs and traffic lights, risk causing a T-bone accident. For example, if a driver runs a red light, they may collide with a vehicle with the right of way.
- Aggressive driving: Engaging in aggressive behavior, such as tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, or making sudden lane changes, are more likely to cause a T-bone collision.
- Making improper turns, for example, turning from the wrong lane or failing to signal before turning, may cause a T-bone accident.
- Turning left when it’s not safe: Turning left when it is not safe, such as when there is oncoming traffic or when there is not enough time to complete the turn, may cause a T-bone accident.
- Mechanical defects: If a vehicle has a mechanical defect, such as a faulty brake system or a malfunctioning steering system, it may be more prone to causing a T-bone accident.
- Harsh weather conditions: Poor weather conditions, such as heavy rain or snow, can make it more difficult for drivers to see and react to other vehicles on the road. This can increase the risk of a T-bone collision.
- Distracted driving: Drivers distracted by texting, eating, or using a GPS device may be more likely to cause a T-bone accident.
- Driving under the influence (DUI): Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol may be more likely to cause a T-bone accident due to impaired judgment and reaction time.
- Overspeeding: Drivers going too fast may not have enough time to react to other vehicles on the road, especially at intersections, hence, increasing the risk of a T-bone collision.
Common Injuries You Could Incur in a T-Bone Collision
T-bone accidents, also known as side-impact collisions or broadside crashes, happen when the front of one vehicle crashes into the side of another. These types of accidents are dangerous due to the lack of protection offered by the side of a vehicle. As a result, T-bone accidents often result in serious injuries.
Below are common injuries that you could incur in a T-bone collision:
- Facial trauma: The force of a T-bone collision can cause facial trauma like cuts, bruises, and broken bones.
- Internal injuries: Internal injuries include organ damage and internal bleeding.
- Neck injuries: Whiplash is common in T-bone accidents due to the sudden impact and movement of the head and neck.
- Brain trauma: A T-bone collision can cause brain trauma, such as a concussion or a brain bleed.
- Head injuries: Your head can be injured in a T-bone crash due to the force of the impact and the potential for it to hit the dashboard, steering wheel, or window.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries: Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can occur in T-bone accidents as a result of the impact of the collision causing the head to suddenly and forcefully hit an object or for the brain to be shaken within the skull. This can lead to bruising, tearing, or swelling of brain tissue and have serious and potentially long-term consequences.
- Limb injuries: Your limbs can be injured in a T-bone accident due to the force of the impact or being trapped in the vehicle.
- Soft tissue injuries: Soft tissue injuries include sprains, strains, and contusions.
- Broken limbs and a fractured pelvis
- Ear damage and hearing loss: The ears can be damaged in a T-bone collision due to exposure to loud noises after an accident impact or blast.
- Concussions: A concussion is a common injury in T-bone accidents due to the potential for the head to hit the dashboard, steering wheel, or window.
Factors Determining the Injury You May Sustain in a T-Bone Crash
T-bone accidents cause serious injuries due to the lack of protection offered by the side of a vehicle. Below are some factors that can determine the injury you may sustain in a T-Bone crash:
- The victim's age: A person's age can affect their susceptibility to injury in a T-bone accident. For example, older adults may be more prone to severe injuries due to decreased bone density and muscle mass.
- Use of restraints: The use of restraints, such as seatbelts and airbags, can help to reduce the severity of injuries in a T-bone accident.
- The side of the automobile the occupant is sitting on: The side of the vehicle that an occupant is sitting on can affect the injury they may sustain in a T-bone collision. For example, a person sitting on the side of a struck vehicle may be more likely to sustain serious injuries.
- The angle of the collision: The angle at which the vehicles collide can affect the injury sustained in a T-bone accident. For example, a head-on collision may result in more severe injuries than one at a glancing angle.
- The speed of the car side-impacting the other: The car's speed can affect the injury sustained in a T-bone crash. Higher speeds can result in more severe injuries due to the increased force of the impact.
- The type of vehicle: The vehicle involved in a T-bone accident can affect the injury sustained. For example, a smaller vehicle may sustain more damage and result in more severe injuries than a larger vehicle.
- Airbags: The presence and deployment of airbags can help to reduce the severity of injuries in a T-bone crash. However, if an airbag deploys improperly, it can cause injuries.
Proving Fault in a T-bone accident
If involved in a T-bone accident, you may seek compensation for injuries and damages you incur. To do so, you must prove that the other motorist was at fault for the collision. Below are the steps for establishing fault in a T-bone accident:
Duty of Care
The first step in proving fault is establishing that the other driver owed you a duty of care. In California, all drivers owe a duty of care to other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians on the road. This means they must act reasonably and drive safely to prevent accidents.
Breach of Care
The next step is to prove that the other driver breached their duty of care. This means that they failed to act reasonably and safely, and their actions or inaction caused the T-bone accident.
To prove fault, you must also show that the other driver's breach of care was the direct cause of the T-bone accident. You must show that the accident would not have occurred if the other driver had acted reasonably and safely.
Finally, you must prove that you suffered damages from the T-bone accident. This may include medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other damages.
Below are some pieces of evidence that can help to prove that the other driver's negligence caused the T-bone accident:
- Footages from traffic cameras: If there were traffic cameras at the intersection where the T-bone accident occurred, the footage could help to show who was at fault.
- Images of the crash scene, the position of your vehicle, and injuries: Photos of the crash scene, your car, and your injuries can help to establish the cause of the accident and the extent of your damages.
- A report from law enforcers saying that another motorist was at fault: If law enforcement officers responded to the T-bone accident, their report might include information about who was at fault.
- Pictures of the stop signs: If the T-bone accident occurred at an intersection with stop signs, photos of the stop signs could help to establish who had the right of way.
- Statements from accident witnesses: If there were witnesses to the T-bone accident, their statements could help to establish who was at fault.
- Doctor’s reports revealing the extent of injuries you incurred: Medical reports can help to establish the extent of your injuries and the treatment you received.
- Footages of any CCTV camera nearby: If there were CCTV cameras nearby, their footage could help to establish who was at fault.
- Opinions of expert witnesses: Expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists, can provide views on the cause of the T-bone accident based on their analysis of the evidence.
What Damages are Available In a T-Bone Collision Settlement?
If involved in a side impact or a broadside accident, you could seek compensation for injuries and damages you incur. Damages that may be available in a T-bone accident case are:
Economic damages are tangible losses that have a specific monetary value. They may include:
- Medical Bills: If you incurred medical bills due to the T-bone accident, you could seek reimbursement for those expenses. This may include bills for hospital stays, surgeries, medical procedures, medications, and other medical costs.
- Vehicle Repairs: If the T-bone accident causes damage to your car, you could seek reimbursement for your vehicle's repair or replacement costs.
- Lost Wages and future loss of salary: If you missed work due to the T-bone accident, you could seek reimbursement for your lost wages. Additionally, if injuries prevent you from returning to work or result in a loss of future earning capacity, you may seek compensation for those losses.
- Lost Earning Capacity: If injuries prevent you from returning to your job or result in a loss of earning capacity, you may seek compensation for those losses.
Non-economic damages are intangible losses that do not have a specific monetary value. They may include:
- Pain and Suffering: If you suffered physical or emotional pain from the T-bone accident, you could seek compensation for those damages. There are several exclusions to pain and suffering damages in California, including:
- Civil Code 3333.4: This code limits the damages you can recover for non-economic losses in medical malpractice cases.
- Civil Code 3333.3 limits the compensation you can recover for non-economic losses in personal injury cases involving injuries to multiple people.
- Civil Code 3333.2 limits the damages and compensation you could receive for non-economic losses in personal injury cases involving injuries to a single person.
- California Civil Code 3333.4(1): This statute limits the damages you could recover for non-economic losses in wrongful death cases.
- Loss of Consortium for a Spouse or Partner: If you are married or in a domestic partnership, your spouse or partner may seek damages for the loss of your companionship, affection, and support. To recover damages for loss of consortium, your spouse or partner will need to prove the following:
- The existence of a valid marriage or domestic partnership.
- The loss of your companionship, affection, and support resulted from the T-bone accident.
- Wrongful Death: If a loved one dies due to a T-bone accident, their surviving family members may seek damages for their wrongful death.
- How do I file a wrongful death claim in California?
To bring a wrongful death claim in California, you will need to:
- Identify the party or parties responsible for the decedent's death.
- Gather evidence, such as accident reports, witness statements, and medical records, to support your claims.
- Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim In California?
In California, the following family members are entitled to bring a wrongful death claim:
- The decedent's spouse.
- The decedent's children.
- The decedent's parents, if the decedent was a minor.
- The decedent's siblings, if the decedent had no spouse, children, or parents.
- Survival Cause of Action Damage: Under Code of Civil Procedure 377.30, if a loved one died due to a T-bone accident, their estate could seek damages for their survival cause of action. This includes damages for their pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other damages they incurred before death.
The Statute of Limitations in T-Bone Accidents
The statute of limitations describes the time frame during which a victim may submit a personal injury claim. In California, you can bring a side-impact accident claim within two years from the accident's date. You only have six months to bring a claim if it pertains to a government entity.
Additionally, the surviving family members of the deceased have two years to bring a wrongful death claim if the person dies from their injuries due to the accident. So make sure to speak with a personal injury attorney before the window of opportunity closes.
Can I File A Lawsuit If I Was Partly To Blame For The Accident?
If you are partly responsible for a T-bone accident in California, you might wonder if you can still file a lawsuit to seek damages for injuries caused to you. In California, the legal doctrine of comparative negligence may apply in these situations.
Brining a Claim If an Uninsured Motorist T-Bones You
If an uninsured motorist t-bones you in California, you may wonder if you have any options for seeking damages for injuries you sustain. One option could be to bring a claim thanks to your uninsured motorist insurance.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Insurance?
Uninsured motorist insurance covers your injuries and damages if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. It is required by law in California for all auto insurance policies to offer uninsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured motorist insurance typically covers the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Note that the coverage available under your uninsured motorist policy may be limited. You should review your policy carefully to understand the limits of your coverage.
How Do I File A Claim Under My Uninsured Motorist Insurance?
To file a claim under your uninsured motorist insurance, you will need to:
- Notify your insurance company immediately after the T-bone accident.
- Provide the insurance company with all relevant information about the accident, including the date and location of the accident, the names of any witnesses, and the details of your injuries and damages.
- Cooperate with the insurance company's investigation of the claim.
The insurance company may dispute your claim or offer you a settlement lower than what you believe you are entitled to. You may need to negotiate with the insurance company or seek legal assistance if this occurs.
Filing a Lawsuit Against an Uninsured Motorist
If you cannot reach a satisfactory settlement with the insurance company or do not have uninsured motorist insurance, consider filing a lawsuit against the uninsured driver. To do so, you will need to:
- Identify the party or parties responsible for the T-bone accident.
- Gather evidence, such as accident reports, witness statements, and medical records, to support your claims.
- File a lawsuit in the appropriate California court within the deadline set by the statute of limitations
It is advisable to consult with an attorney before filing a lawsuit to ensure that you have a strong case and to understand your legal options. A competent lawyer can help you gather evidence, negotiate with the other party or their insurance company, and represent you in court.
Suing an uninsured driver may be challenging, as they may need more financial resources to pay a judgment against them. However, if you can show that the uninsured driver was at fault for the T-bone accident and that you suffered damages, you may recover some compensation through a lawsuit.
In addition to suing the uninsured driver, you may seek compensation from your insurance company if you have underinsured motorist coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage provides coverage if the other driver's insurance is insufficient to cover your damages.
Find a Competent Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me
T-bone accidents, also known as side-impact or broadside collisions, happen when the front of a vehicle hits the side of another. These accidents are dangerous because the side of a car offers less protection than the front or back, often resulting in serious injuries or fatalities.
Many factors can contribute to a T-bone collision, including failing to observe traffic signals, aggressive driving, making improper turns, turning left when it is not safe, mechanical defects, harsh weather conditions, distracted driving, driving under the influence, and overspeeding. Common injuries resulting from a T-bone collision include neck injuries, head damage, and spinal cord injuries, among others.
If involved in a T-bone accident, it is crucial to seek medical attention and consider hiring a personal injury lawyer with a solid reputation to help you seek compensation for damages and injuries.
At the Foos Gavin Law Firm, we have experience in helping T-bone accident victims receive fair compensation and can conduct thorough investigations to present evidence in court. If you are involved in a T-bone accident in Sacramento, California, and have been involved in a T-bone accident, consider contacting us at 916-779-3500 for assistance.