A t-bone accident happens when the front of one vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle. It’s also called a side impact accident or broadside accident because of the location of the impact. Most of the time a t-bone car accident is an intersection accident. But they can also happen any time a car crosses a roadway or street. The key is that the cars are going perpendicular to each other. If you or a loved one have been involved in a t-bone auto accident it is imperative that you retain the services of an experienced car accident attorney.
How Do You Determine Who was At Fault?
Who’s at fault cannot be determined by who t-boned who. Instead, fault in a t-bone accident depends on which car had the right to be moving forward. This is called the right of way. Both cars cannot have the right of way. Instead, in a t-bone accident, one vehicle had the right of way and the other vehicle violated that right of way.
The car that did not have the right of way will always have fault in a t-bone accident. But the car that did have the right of way may also have some fault for not recognizing what the other driver was doing. Unfortunately, there is rarely evidence at the scene to help figure out which vehicle had the right of way. Who’s at fault in this type of side impact accident will almost always come down to what the drivers and the witnesses say happened. When the drivers both claim they had the right of way, it will come down to who sounds more credible.
What are the Most Common Reasons for T-Bone Accidents?
Most t-bone accidents happen at an intersection with a traffic control device. One of the vehicles involved thinks they have the right of way when they don’t. As a result, vehicles move across the intersection into oncoming traffic. The most common t-bone intersection accidents are:
- Left Turn T-Bone Accident – A left turn t-bone accident that happens at an intersection can be either drivers fault. Sometimes the driver making the left turn thinks a red light has turned green when it is really red. When the driver makes the left turn, it may do so in front of a vehicle going the opposite direction that actually has the green light. Other times, the reverse happens. The car making the left turn does have the green light and has the right of way to make the turn. However, the car traveling in the opposite direction thinks the light is green for them when it is actually red. Either way the impact is usually severe because one or both of the cars will be traveling at a very fast speed.
- Running a Red Light – In this type of t-bone accident, the drivers are driving perpendicular to each other. They are destined to cross each other’s paths. They both think they have the green light and therefore they both think they have the right of way. As a result, both cars will usually be traveling at the full speed limit for the road. Whichever car did that actually had the red light will be at fault.
- Running a Stop Sign – A t-bone collision can happen at a four way stop but they are not as likely. This is because one or both cars came to a complete stop before entering the intersection. This gives the drivers enough time to recognize what is about to happen and stop in time. The most common type of t-bone collision involves one car having a stop sign while the other car has no traffic control device. In this type of t-bone crash it’s easy to determine who is at fault. The driver that had the stop sign will always have fault because that driver did not have the right of way.
- Leaving a Parking Lot – When a car is leaving a parking lot that does not have a traffic control device, the driver of that car has an obligation to ensure the traffic is clear in both directions before crossing the street. When the driver does not see a car coming, they may pull out to cross the street and cause a t-bone accident.
- Making a U-Turn in Traffic – Making a u-turn is not always a safe thing to do. If the driver making the u-turn fails to recognize a car coming the opposite direction they may pull into traffic and get hit on the side. The driver making the turn will be at fault in this situation.
Can the Car that has the Right of Way Be at Fault for the T-Bone Accident?
The car that does not have the right of way will have fault in causing the t-bone accident. But the car that had the right of way can also have some fault as well. That’s because the car with the right of way has a duty to pay attention to the road ahead and anticipate that a driver may cut across traffic. Common ways a car with the right of way may have some fault in a t-bone accident are:
- When a car crosses many lanes of travel before the t-bone occurs. In this situation the car that has the right of way may have some fault because there was enough time to see the other car travel across so many lanes of travel.
- Failing to have headlights on when it is dark outside. This can cause a vehicle to turn in front of the vehicle without lights because they are hard to see.
- Driving while distracted by the radio, texting or talking on the phone
- Drunk driving or driving while high on drugs
- Brake failure because the vehicle was not properly maintained
How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help You Maximize Your Compensation?
T-bone car accident victims are not expected to identify at-fault parties on their own. Investigating, locating, and pursuing legal claims against parties with fault for a side-impact collision is a job for an experienced Texas car accident attorney. T-bone car accident victims should seek out an attorney who has represented dozens of clients in similar accidents, and who has a track record of success in recovering compensation for T-bone car accident victims. Having experienced legal counsel on your side is the way to give yourself the best chance of receiving maximum damages for your T-bone car accident injuries.
If you would like to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer, please call our law offices today at any of our convenient locations and get a free consultation.
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