A T-bone accident is where the front of one vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle. A T-bone car crash is also known as a side impact collision. This type of car crash typically occurs in an intersection with stop signs or traffic lights when one driver fails to obey the traffic laws and drives right through the intersection and strikes another vehicle. The crash tends to form the letter “T” with the vehicles. A crash like this is usually serious because the occupants of the car struck on its side (either the passenger or driver) are more susceptible to injury.
T-bone Accident Statistics
T-bone car accidents can cause serious injuries. In fact, the National Safety Council reports T-bone accidents are the second most dangerous car accident causing serious injuries and fatalities. More specifically, according to the National Transportation Highway Safety Administration, approximately 8,000 people are killed each year due to a T-bone accident in the United States. Tens of thousands of people are injured as a result of a T-bone accident annually. Unfortunately, these injuries tend to be severe.
Oftentimes, a victim of a T-bone crash suffers permanent disabilities. Less severe, but common, injuries after a T-bone collision are broken or fractured bones, head injuries, back or spinal cord injuries and chest injuries. As a driver or passenger of a car, your best defense mechanism is wearing your seat belt. Properly buckled seat belts can decrease your risk of severe injury by 50%, even in a T-bone collision.
Establishing Fault in a T-bone Accident
In any automobile accident, determining fault is a crucial task. This is because an accident victim cannot recover financial compensation unless the other driver is found to have caused the accident. In Massachusetts, two legal conditions must be established in order to contemplate a financial settlement. These legal conditions are liability and damages.
Liability is the legal responsibility for something; an obligation in law to pay, do or make something good. A driver may be held liable for causing another person’s injuries in a car accident, if the driver is found to have been negligent. Negligence means the failure to do something a reasonable person would have done, or doing something a prudent person would not have done. When driving, a person has the responsibility, or duty, to exercise reasonable care while on the road. If the driver breaches or fails to operate his or her car responsibly and causes an accident that hurt someone, then they may be held negligent.
For Example: Assume a man is driving on Route 9 in Framingham, Massachusetts and is distracted by a text message on his cell phone. He takes his eyes off the road and looks down at his phone. While looking at his phone he does not see the light just turned red and he drives right through the red light and T-bones a woman driving through the intersection. The woman is injured in the T-bone accident. The man will be held liable for her injuries because he was negligent for failing to drive responsibly when he took his eyes off the road and ran the red light.
Proving a driver’s negligence can be difficult in some accident cases. This is because, often times, the other driver will deny that he or she was distracted and claim that you were carless. This is why we recommend following a few crucial steps after being injured in a car accident. For instance, calling 911 or the police, taking pictures of the accident and scene, and getting the names and contact information of witnesses can be very helpful in establishing the other driver’s negligence. A responding police officer will usually prepare a police report or a motor vehicle crash report and determine who was responsible for the accident based upon his training and examination of the accident scene. Also, pictures of the car crash will not only help establish how the accident happened, but can also show any traffic or road signs that may be relevant. And, of course, eye witnesses can be very helpful because they can corroborate your version of how the accident happened and help establish the other driver’s negligence.
Legally, damages is defined as monetary compensation, which may be recovered in a legal matter by any person who has suffered injury or loss, through the negligence of another. The damages of an auto accident personal injury case are the injuries sustained by an accident victim as well as the medical bills and lost wages incurred as a direct result of the other driver’s negligence. The damages sustained in an accident determine the financial compensation the victim receives in a settlement.
For Example: Using the example above, let’s assume the woman injured in the T- bone accident on Route 9 suffered a traumatic head injury and a back injury. She is transported to the Emergency Room by an ambulance and is later discharged. She then has numerous follow up visits with doctors, who diagnose her with post-concussion syndrome and spondylolisthesis. She later undergoes a course of physical therapy and cognitive therapy for her injuries. Her medical bills for the ambulance ride, hospital visit, doctors’ appointments and physical and cognitive therapy total $15,000. She also incurred $5,000 in lost wages because she was out of work for a while. Her medical bills and lost wages are the damages she incurred. Additional damages would be the damage to her vehicle and the pain and suffering she experienced from her injuries.
In a car accident, if the other driver is held liable due to his or her negligence, then the accident victim can seek and recover damages the accident caused. This is why determining liability is very important. If the other driver is not found to have been negligent, then the accident victim may not be able to recover damages. In a situation where the damages are clear, but liability is disputed, the accident victim may file a law suit to pursue recovery of his or her damages.
Getting Legal Help
A T-bone accident is often associated with the automatic assumption that the driver who hit the vehicle was negligent and at fault. This is not always the case, however. Sometimes, the vehicle that was struck may be deemed to have been negligent. Insurance companies will try to find a way to argue that the injury victim caused or contributed to the accident. This way the insurance company can either deny the claim entirely or reduce any amount it may have to pay by the percentage of fault they attribute to the victim for contributing to the accident. A personal injury attorney can help you fight for your claim. Mahaney & Pappas, LLP have years of experience handling injury cases and we pride ourselves in our investigations and handling of accident cases. Our focus and main goal is to help our clients get the maximum financial compensation they deserve.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a T-bone collision, it is important to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable car accident lawyer. If you are looking for a Massachusetts injury expert or need legal advice about your case, please feel free to contact us or call (508) 879-3500 to set up a complimentary consultation.