The majority of T-bone accidents happen at intersections, usually when one driver fails to yield the right of way. In the aftermath, the vehicles are left in a T-formation (hence the name,) and it can be difficult to know who was at fault. How is liability determined in these kinds of serious crashes?
Also known as broadside accidents, T-bone crashes can result when a driver disregards a red light or runs a stop sign at an intersection. The driver who does not yield could smash into the side of a vehicle that is passing through the intersection at the same time. It is also possible for the at-fault driver to be hit by another vehicle that is driving through. T-bone accidents also happen when drivers make illegal turns, and when two vehicles are traveling at right angles to one another.
After the two vehicles come to a stop, there can be serious or deadly injuries and significant property damage. It is not unusual for at least one of the persons involved to be taken to an emergency room.
The same factors increase the likeliness of broadside accidents at intersections and other locations. These include:
Besides driver negligence and errors, T-bones can happen due to poor road conditions, mechanical defects (failing brakes), broken traffic signals, and missing stop signs. When there are no signs or signals at an intersection, drivers should slow down and be prepared to stop, in case another vehicle is speeding down the other road in their direction.
T-bone crash injuries can be more serious than in other kinds of car accidents. That is because the sides of vehicles get impacted, and passengers are right there without any kind of barrier. With front and rear-end collisions, the hood or trunk of the vehicle absorbs some of the impact. Vehicles with side airbags may offer some head and chest protection and can spread out the load of impact. Still, if another vehicle is speeding and crashes into the driver or passenger sides, people can still be seriously injured.
Here are some of the more common kinds of injuries related to broadside crashes.
The serious nature of these injuries makes it imperative to call for emergency medical services right after T-bone crashes.
As mentioned earlier, an at-fault driver who causes a T-bone crash could crash into the other vehicle, or the other driver could crash into the at-fault driver. Herein lies the complex nature of proving some of these cases. If anyone witnessed what happened or there was a traffic camera at the scene, either could serve as helpful evidence. Or, if it can be shown that one driver made an illegal turn, that information could suffice.
A police report can also provide evidence, but you may have to wait a few days or weeks to get a copy. If there were major injuries, law enforcement officers will investigate what happened to see if any laws were violated. This goes beyond a basic report, and could have details that might help your case. Photos are also helpful when they depict evidence from the scene. For example, a picture of a no left turn sign might show that the allegedly at-fault driver ignored it. In some cases, lawyers and their clients work with forensic investigation teams who can recreate accident scenes.
To strengthen a case, claimants can present their medical records showing that the injuries were directly related to the crash. This might include documentation pertaining to exams, medical tests, diagnoses, treatments, and medications. It is also wise to keep all of the invoices, statements, and payments well-organized.
As with other kinds of automobile accidents, a plaintiff must prove several things to establish another driver’s liability. When this is done successfully, the at-fault driver could be held legally responsible for what happened, and be ordered to pay compensation for the plaintiff’s losses. This could be negotiated through a settlement or played out in court. Plaintiffs must show that:
Things can get a bit more complicated when neither driver is found to be at fault. If the T-bone crash was caused by a malfunctioning traffic light, a local government agency might be responsible. Or, if one of the vehicles had a defective brake system, the manufacturer could be held liable.
In the State of Georgia, car accident survivors are entitled to full compensation for their losses (damages), including medical expenses, lost income from not being able to go to work, other economic losses like car repairs, and pain and suffering from the crash and injuries. The state’s statute of limitations for filing personal injury cases related to car accidents is two years after the crash date.
Georgia has a fault-based system for motor vehicle accidents, so no matter who caused your T-bone accident, your own insurance might cover some of the losses. Still, the at-fault party’s insurance provider may also cover your losses, to that policy’s liability coverage limits. There is also a comparative negligence law that can impact the amount of damages you might receive. If it is found that you were partially responsible for causing the crash, a percentage will be assigned and any compensation award will be reduced by that amount. If the percentage is 50 percent or greater, you will not receive any damages.
Determining fault in a T-Bone accident is not always an easy road to navigate, but the experienced Savannah car accident lawyers at Childers & McCain, LLC can guide you through the process and pursue the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 478-254-2007. Our Macon, Georgia offices are located in Macon, Savannah, Albany, and Atlanta.
Facing the aftermath of a serious accident can be overwhelming. Before you speak with the insurance companies, make sure you schedule a free consultation with the Macon personal injury lawyers at Childers & McCain. We can protect your rights while anticipating the insurance company’s tactics to make sure you get the full compensation you deserve. You don’t have to navigate this tough road alone – let our team of professionals help you move forward.