Who Is Liable in a T-Bone Car Accident?
Brian White | December 5, 2020 | Car Accidents
Side-impact crashes are often referred to as T-bone accidents because the cars form a “T” when they collide. The front of one vehicle strikes the side of another vehicle from a “T” shape. The nickname does not adequately describe the potential damage that can be caused by a side-impact accident.
T-bone car accidents cause catastrophic injuries and life-threatening conditions for the occupants of both vehicles. These accidents are hazardous for the occupants seated at the point of impact. Even with side airbags and improvements to the frames of vehicles to prevent crushing, a T-bone collision can crush the frame of the vehicle into the interior.
Additionally, the force of the impact can cause the vehicle being struck to be knocked into the path of other vehicles. The vehicle may be slammed against another object, such as a pole, tree, or barrier.
Who is responsible for the damages caused by a T-bone accident in Texas?
Texas is an At-Fault State for T-Bone Accidents
Texas is an at-fault state for motor vehicle accidents. The party who caused the car wreck is responsible for the injuries and damages caused by the crash. However, accident victims must prove that the other driver caused the crash to recover compensation for damages.
Intersections are a common location for T-bone accidents. One vehicle slams into another vehicle as both drivers go through the intersection at the same time.
However, T-bone accidents can occur in other locations. For example, a driver slams into another vehicle at the end of a parking lot aisle instead of stopping. A driver may also slam into the side of another vehicle as he is entering the roadway from a parking lot or driveway.
Drivers who fail to yield the right of way are generally at fault for a T-bone accident. Traffic signals, stop signs, and traffic laws control who has the right of way at an intersection. A vehicle entering a roadway must yield to oncoming traffic.
Determining fault may be difficult if there are no witnesses and the drivers dispute who had the right of way. When fault is in dispute, a car accident lawyer investigates how the car wreck occurred and gathers evidence proving fault.
Evidence in a T-bone accident might include:
- Statements from both drivers
- Eyewitness statements
- Video from traffic cameras and nearby surveillance cameras
- Data collected from traffic signal patterns
- Testimony from experts, including accident reconstructionists
- Data collected from driving apps or onboard recorders
Determining fault impacts the amount of compensation an accident victim might receive for a car accident claim. If you cannot prove that the other driver was entirely responsible for the crash, you cannot recover full compensation for your damages.
Blaming the Victim for a T-Bone Accident
Blaming the victim for causing an accident is a common way insurance companies avoid paying full value for an accident claim. When there is little evidence other than the drivers’ statements about who had the right of way, the insurance company may allege both drivers were at fault.
The purpose of the allegation is to reduce the value of the claim. Comparative fault laws in Texas state that a victim’s compensation for an injury claim is reduced by the victim’s percentage of fault for causing the accident. If the victim was 51 percent or more at fault, the victim could not recover any money for an injury claim.
Therefore, if the insurance company can convince a jury that you share responsibility for causing the crash, it does not have to pay you the full value of your claim.
Allegations of comparative fault highlight why it is important to avoid saying anything that could be misinterpreted as admitting fault at the accident scene. It also reinforces the need to be careful when talking to an insurance claims adjuster.
The comments you make to the adjuster could be used to blame you for causing the T-bone accident. It is best to seek legal counsel before making any statements to the insurance company, including recorded or written statements.
Recovering Compensation for a Side Impact Car Accident
Victims of a T-bone accident can sustain numerous injuries, including broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, back injuries, and internal organ damage. The cost of treatment can be high. Additionally, the victim may be out of work for weeks or months recovering from injuries.
If you were injured in a car accident, you could be entitled to compensation for damages including:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Loss of income and benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Disabilities and permanent impairments
The value of a car accident claim depends on several factors. Establishing liability for damages begins with proving who is at fault for the cause of the car wreck.