Approximately 3.18 million T-Bone accidents happen yearly in the USA. According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA), these crashes also are the primary causes of 28 percent of deaths and 25 percent of injuries that occur in car accidents.
T-Bone accidents, like other car accidents, occur unexpectedly, and when the front-end of one vehicle crashes on the right or left side of another, crashes result in more severe harm when compared to head-on collisions.
Injuries you could suffer in a T-Bone collision are neck injuries, brain trauma, spinal cord injuries, and many others. You should seek immediate medical attention after your car accident and engage a personal injury law firm with a proven track record. The Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm pursues compensation on your behalf as you recuperate at home or in the hospital.
California is an at-fault automobile accident state. So, the at-fault party is held liable for causing the accident, damages, and harm to you. However, to prove that the other driver is at fault if not an easy thing, especially in California. Our team at The Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm in California could help you maneuver your ways and receive damages. We also dive into serious investigations, thanks to our able lawyers, and offer evidence in court. Reach out to us and leave the burden of pursuing your compensation award in our hands.
What Makes an Accident T-Bone?
T-Bone crashes are unique types of car accidents and very common in California. At times they are referred to as broadside collisions or side-impact accidents.
These kinds of car accidents occur when another motorist hits your car on either side. The other motorist hits your vehicle from their front end, creating a right angle or a letter “T” shape.
Records of T-Bone collisions have risen over the years in California owing to the ever-increasing numbers of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) on the roads.
Major Causes of T-Bone Collisions
Many situations result in T-Bone accidents in California. Regardless of the circumstances, human error is the primary cause followed closely by bad weather and poor road conditions. Other possible factors that cause T-Bone crashes are mechanical malfunctions and faulty traffic lights/ signages.
Common causes of T-Bone accidents are:
1. Over Speeding
Typically, driving at higher speeds than which you can control could result in a T-Bone crash.
2. Driving under the Influence (DUI)
Usually, drug abuse results in effects like blurred vision, impaired judgment, and slow-than-normal nervous response. So, if a motorist drives under the influence, the odds are that they could cause a road crash.
3. Driving while using a Cellphone
The human mind locks focus on one activity and tend to zero out on other tasks. When using your cellphone while driving, the brain zeroes in more on the phone and less on the driving task. The next thing you know, they are crashing on another car.
4. Distracted Driving
Distraction involves a plethora of circumstances. Such circumstances include texting while driving, depression, fatigue, or stress. If not careful, a motorist could crash into another vehicle, following a slight distraction.
5. Harsh Weather Conditions
Usually, the road is not quite visible in adverse weather conditions like heavy down-pour, fog, and snowstorms. The car could skid if you apply brakes at a stop sign. The skidding could cause one car to crash into another vehicle on the side.
6. Mechanical Defects
While California law ensures that vehicles undergo regular maintenance, a moving car could experience a mechanical malfunction. Thus, causing a fatal road crash. If the steering or brakes of a car moving at a significant speed fails, the vehicle could fail to stop at an intersection while another vehicle enters the road. The result is a T-Bone accident.
7. Aggressive Driving
Aggressive or reckless driving is when a motorist operates a vehicle without caring about other road users. Should the situation get out of hand, a T-Bone accident may quickly occur.
Right-of-Way and T-Bone Collisions
Traffic rules and regulations explain the right-of-way as a regulation that gives a particular road user to precede the other driver. The law also requires that one motorist yields the right-of-way to and allow another road user to go first.
If another motorist fails to yield the right-of-way for you as needed could cause a severe T-Bone collision. The California law considers this scenario as negligence.
A competent attorney is a must for you to receive compensation when another driver causes injuries to you following negligence in a T-Bone accident.
Scenarios that Result In T-Bone Accidents
There exist several reasons that a motorist may come crashing into another road user from the side. The examples below explain situations that could result in T-Bone accidents in California.
A Motorist Running a Stop Sign
Among the causes of T-Bone accidents that are not uncommon is running a stop sign. In this scenario, a motorist could enter an intersection at a slow speed while another motorist moves at a higher speed to make the light. The driver entering the intersection hits the speeding car.
The driver at fault could be the one joining the intersection or the one speeding on the highway. Here, the driver who runs through the stop sign is held liable for your injuries and damage.
A Driver Making a Right Turn During a Red Light
Under California traffic rules, motorists are allowed to turn right on a red light. But if the motorist turns right without leaving enough room for other motorists, they could cause a T-Bone accident.
In the event of such a complicated situation, you want to hire an attorney to pursue your compensation.
A Motorist Making a Left Turn During a Red or Yellow Light
California traffic rules allow motorists to turn left at a red or yellow lighted intersection, given that they leave ample room for other passing road users.
But if the motorists hit oncoming bicycles, motorcycles, or vehicles, they are held responsible for damages and harm caused to the other road users.
Here, a reputable personal injury attorney helps you prove liability and pursue compensation for damages a motorist caused to you after they failed to yield at a red or yellow light.
A Vehicle Making a Left Turn During a Green Light
Traffic rules in California allow drivers to turn left during a green light. All that you need is to offer adequate room for other oncoming motorists entering the intersection.
But if another driver decides to switch lanes abruptly and at high speed, they could cause a T-Bone collision. If you incur injuries due to another motorist’s negligence, then your attorney can help you pursue damages.
Common Injuries Associated with T-Bone Collision
T-Bone accidents result in serious harm to motorists and other passengers on-board. According to NHSA, T-Bones collision injuries come second in number after head-on accident injuries.
Severe injuries from T-Bone accidents happen because the distance between the victims and the car is only a few sheets of metal, unlike those incurred in head-on accidents. During head-on collisions, the elongated front absorbs a lot of force.
Common injuries incurred in T-Bone collisions include:
Soft Tissue Injuries
Common injuries of this kind include soft-tissue tears, ligament strains, tendon sprains, and muscle strains.
Common injuries here are joints or limb dislocation and broken bones.
Head injuries are the most common types of injuries in T-Bone collisions. See, the positions of occupants’ heads are usually with the head in the same line with windows. Thin sheets of glasses are what protect the occupants. In the event of a crash, the shattered glass could cause deep cuts in the head.
Brain trauma can occur when occupants hit their heads against each other or the metal in the car. In this event, the brain hits against the inner skull causing damage to the brain cells.
Also, sharp objects could pierce through the brain and cause severe damage.
The force coming from the crash impact can cause severe damage in the neck region. Injuries include snapping of the neck and dislocation of the herniated disc.
T-Bone accidents not only cause external injuries but could also lead to internal organs’ harm. The force from the impact on a car can cause a perforated pancreas or damage to the liver, lungs, and many other internal organs.
Facial trauma is the leading type of injury prevalent in T-Bone accidents, slight to deep cuts in car crashes.
In a side-impact crash, the car body tends to crumble more, unlike in a head-on or read-end crash. The result of this is shattered glass and small pieces of metal flying everywhere inside the car. These projectile objects can cut the victims' faces causing severe damage. Some victims undergo cosmetic surgery to restore their facial appearances to earlier states.
The above injuries are even worse if the passengers or drivers get trapped inside the cars after T-Bone collisions. See, a crashed door is hard to open and might need specialized tools to cut it open without causing further trauma to victims.
How to Prove Fault in a T-Bone Accident?
Determining the at-fault party in California T-Bone accidents is challenging for victims looking to file damage claims. The at-fault driver could be the one who crashed into your car or one you hit on the side.
An experienced lawyer understands the ins and outs of the law. They could help conduct a thorough investigation to prove that the other driver was at fault. If the results of the investigation show that the other motorist was drunk-driving, texting while driving, or drowsy driving, the court considers that as negligence.
According to California law, negligence is when someone fails to act as expected in certain circumstances. The court requires you to show the following as evidence of negligence against another motorist:
1. Duty of Care
In California, motorists owe a duty of care to fellow road users. The duty of care involves following traffic rules and regulations. Also, motorists need to look out for actions that could cause harm to other road users.
2. Breach of Care
A motorist violates the duty of care when they flout traffic rules. Also, the motorist acts in a manner that could result in a T-Bone accident. For instance, a motorist who refuses to yield the right of way at an intersection.
You must prove to the juror that you incurred injuries because of another person’s negligence or breach of care.
When making your claim, you must prove bodily injuries, economic, and non-economic injuries.
To prove that another driver's negligence caused your injuries, you need a further gathering of vital documents. You want to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone else’s mistake caused your T-Bone accident. These pieces of evidence include:
- Footages from traffic cameras
- Images of the crash scene, the position of your vehicle and injuries
- A report from law enforcers saying that the other driver was at fault
- Pictures of the stop signs
- Statements from accident witnesses
- Doctor’s reports revealing the extent of injuries you incurred
- Footages of any CCTV camera nearby
- Opinions of expert witnesses
In case you suffer serious injuries, contact your lawyer to follow up with the police, the insurer of the driver at fault, and court proceedings.
Remember not to accept liability to the other driver. A wise attorney could use your words as evidence in court, and you lose your case.
Damages Available in a T-Bone Accident Case
Damages refer to losses you incur following a car crash. Common types of damages include injuries and property damages.
Types of damages you could include in your case are both economic and non-economic ones. Speaking of financial losses, one can attach a definite monetary value to these. Examples of economic damages are auto repair fees or hospital bills. It is hard to evaluate non-economic costs, and they include trauma, pain, or suffering.
You want to engage a renowned lawyer to help you with pursuing compensatory damages like:
California statutes hold motorists who cause road accidents liable for harm caused to victims. The at-fault party should pay the plaintiff’s medical bills.
A T-Bone crash can cause severe damage to an auto. If your car is hit from the side, you want to file a claim fast. Usually, the sides of a vehicle are weaker compared to the front or back.
If hit from the side, odds are that significant damage is caused to your car. You don’t want to foot the hefty repair fees when someone else’s negligence caused the accident.
The at-fault motorist is also needed to hire a similar car to yours while yours is being repaired. Talk to a lawyer to pursue the compensation award on your behalf.
Lost wages refer to the amount of money a plaintiff could have earned if the T-Bone collision had not happened. This means that the negligence of the driver at fault caused inquiries to you. Hence, you cannot continue working.
Under California law, you are allowed to claim for the estimated future loss of salary.
Compensation for salary lost after your accident up to your current state is also known as back wages. And, the projected future loss is called ‘lost earning capacity.’
Lost Earning Capacity
Lost earning capacity is a type of damage that helps victims of car crashes receive compensation for possible loss of income in the future. Plaintiffs must prove that they cannot work in the future. The claim should be backed by a doctor’s reports.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering are non-economic compensatory damages in California T-Bone accidents. Also, California law does not limit the amount you can receive as compensation for pain and suffering caused to you.
But there exists a couple of exclusions like:
- California Civil Code 3333.4(1) - Incurring injuries when driving under the influence. You cannot receive your compensation award if convicted of drunk-driving.
- Civil Code 3333.3 – Incurring injuries when escaping after committing a felony crime. If charged with that particular felony, you cannot receive your compensation.
- Civil Code 3333.2 – Medical malpractice. If caught attempting to take advantage of your situation to receive more money as compensation, the court limits the amount you can receive to $250,000.
- Civil Code 3333.4 – Incurring injuries when driving without insurance. The court could not offer you compensation if you had no active insurance policy at the time of the T-Bone But you could get pain and suffering damages only if the at-fault driver was drunk driving
Loss of Consortium for a Spouse or Partner
The spark in intimate relationships fades for many reasons. The loss of intimacy, moral support, or companionship to your partner is referred to as loss of consortium. Like other non-economic damages, loss of consortium is compensatory.
You could only receive compensation if you and your partner are in a registered domestic partnership. Loss of consortium damages relates to the pain and suffering ones.
There are four elements you need to prove to a California jury before they can rule to your favor. The elements include:
- You experienced the loss of consortium to your legal partner
- You or your partner incurred damages and injuries due to the defendant’s negligence
- You were legally married to your spouse or registered as domestic partners.
- The offender’s negligence caused the loss of consortium
There is grief, emotional suffering, and pain when you lose a loved one in a T-Bone accident. It is more painful if someone else’s wrongful act caused the demise.
The wrongful death law - Code of Civil Procedure 377.60, in California, allows you to pursue compensation when your loved one passes on because of another person’s negligence.
With a competent attorney, you can receive damages such as burial and funeral costs, loss of emotional support and companionship from the deceased, and loss of monetary support and income. Loss income equals what the deceased could earn when alive.
California law recognizes various family members of the deceased, and they include spouses, children, grandchildren, domestic partners, or even grandchildren only if their parents are dead.
Survival Cause of Action Damages
There is yet another damage you could pursue if someone else's unlawful act caused the death of your loved one. The damage, “survival” cause of action - Code of Civil Procedure 377.30, compensates an estate for losses the deceased incurred before their death.
Note that survival cause of action only compensates the estate of the deceased and not the loved ones for losses incurred before their death if the deceased died on the spot in a T-Bone accident, the estate could not file a survival suit.
What to Do After a T-Bone Accident
A car accident can bring a lot of confusion, and if you are not careful, you could jeopardize your chances of getting compensation for injuries incurred.
Immediately after a T-Bone accident, the biggest mistake you can make is to record a statement with the insurance provider of the other motorist. You want to hire a personal injury lawyer when you could count on even when at the hospital receiving treatment.
Information is power! Arming yourself with as much information as possible will make your case, while deficiency of it would break your lawsuit. You or your lawyer could gather details and contact information from the other driver. This particular acts as the support in your claim; hence, the dire need to collect relevant data.
Another thing you need to do is keep all the reports from your doctor intact. Kindly follow the treatment process as advised by a health practitioner for the best of your health and injury lawsuit.
Certain situations may not need a personal injury lawyer, for instance, a minor fender bender. But there is a need to pursue compensation if hospital bills are piling up and have sustained permanent injuries.
It is best if you talked to a lawyer before accepting any offer from an insurance company. Odds are an experienced injury attorney who has worked with many suits like yours and knows how things tread.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm Near Me
The liability for injuries you or your loved one incurs in a California T-Bone accident is hard to determine. In such a challenging car crash incident, it is best if you involve a reputable personal injury attorney.
Our firm has several lawyers on standby and who are ready to take up your case. The Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm has worked with several car wreck cases and helped victims, their estates, and loved ones win the lawsuit and walk home with the compensation they deserve.
We could handle your T-Bone accident lawsuit as you heal at home or proceed with your daily tasks. We are top-notch investigators and leave no stone unturned until we are confident we can present enough evidence to the juror.
Get help today when you call our office at 619-625-8707.