Who Is At Fault in a Car Accident T-Bone Crash?
Updated October 8, 2021
Getting compensation for property damage and personal injuries after an auto accident is an issue of determining who is at fault. This is true no matter what type of crash it is. Who is at fault in a car accident T-Bone crash? Some might assume it’s the person who hits the side of another car, but that is not always the case.
If you’ve been in a T-Bone crash, it’s important to figure out who was responsible. If you are the victim of a negligent driver, the St Louis car accident attorneys at Hipskind & McAninch can help you gather the relevant evidence and get fair compensation for your damaged car and your injuries.
Defining a T-Bone Crash
What is commonly called a T-Bone crash is also known as a broadside crash or a side-impact collision. It happens when the front of one car hits the side of another, ending up looking like the letter T. T-Bone crashes can total a car and cause serious personal injuries.
“Getting T-Boned” can be particularly dangerous compared to a front-end or rear-end collision. When a car hits the side of another car with enough force, it can smash in the side. With nothing but the door and window between the passengers and the other car, injuries can be severe. Side-impact airbags may cushion the blow, but the sideways force can still cause head and neck injuries. There can also be internal injuries and cuts and scrapes, especially if the window breaks. Damage to the doors can leave victims trapped in the car until first-responders can get them out.
T-Bone crashes are the second most deadly type of accident according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. They account for 27% of fatalities in cars based on point of impact, second only to head-on crashes (which make up 57%).
T-Bone Accidents at Intersections
A lot of T-Bone crashes happen at intersections. A common scenario is that a driver with the right-of-way pulls into the intersection, while one who should stop, does not. Typically, someone ignores a stop sign or runs a red light. In these cases, it is usually easy to determine who is at fault. But a negligent driver could argue that they had the right of way. Hopefully, there were witnesses to help the victim prove liability. Hiring a lawyer to help make the case is a good idea.
Making a left turn in front of someone is another common cause of a T-Bone crash. Even though it is their car that is hit from the side, the driver who turned is at fault for not yielding to oncoming traffic. The same is true when a driver pulls out of a driveway or side street into traffic and is hit broadside. They did not follow the rules of the road and wait for an opening in traffic, so they are at fault and liable for damages.
Losing Control of a Car
In some weather conditions, such as an icy road, a driver might lose control of their vehicle and spin. They may T-Bone another car in the process. Or if they swerve into another driver’s path they may be T-Boned themselves.
It might seem logical that in this type of accident it was the ice that was to blame rather than either driver. But that is not the case. The driver who loses control is at fault. The law assumes that drivers know the danger involved in driving in various conditions. If they fail to control their vehicle, they are held responsible for any damages resulting from an accident.
A Third-Party Car Accident T-Bone Crash
A driver might cause two other cars to get into a T-Bone crash and never get a scratch on their own car. If they cut someone off, pull out in front of another car, or make some other unexpected move, it could cause another driver to swerve to avoid hitting them. That driver might then get in a T-Bone crash with another car.
This “third-party” is responsible for the crash, whether they actually hit anything or not. This can be very difficult to prove. The two drivers who crashed might need to find witnesses to explain exactly what happened, especially if the third driver leaves the scene. This is another situation where the chances of collecting compensation are better when an attorney handles filing the claim or a lawsuit.
Getting T-Boned in a Parking Lot
Parking lots are a common spot for T-Bone crashes. A car backing out of a parking spot can be T-Boned by someone driving down the lane. Or, the car backing out might T-Bone a passing car. In both of these scenarios, the car leaving the parking spot is most likely at fault. Other factors could come into play though, such as one driver speeding or driving distracted. Luckily, both cars are usually driving at low speed, so the damage often isn’t bad.
Can the Car Manufacturer Cause a T-Bone?
It is rare but possible that neither driver in a T-Bone crash is liable. If the accident happened because one car had faulty brakes, a gas pedal that stuck, or an engine that died in the middle of an intersection, it could be the car manufacturer that is to blame. Depending on all of the other factors that led up to the crash, they might be partly or fully responsible.
Something like this would become a product liability case requiring a lawyer’s help. It is not the typical situation of seeking compensation for property damage and personal injuries from another driver and their insurance company.
Follow These Steps After a T-Bone Crash
When someone is in a T-Bone crash—or any type of car accident—it’s important to seek medical help right away. People who feel fine right after a wreck might have injuries that don’t show up right away.
Gather as much information at the scene as possible. Ask for contact and insurance information from the other driver the names and numbers of witnesses. Take pictures of the scene, damage to the cars, and injuries. All of this will be evidence for the insurance company and if you end up having to file a lawsuit.
Contact the police and get an official police report. It will have information about tickets issued if, for example, the at-fault driver is intoxicated. This could help prove a case as well as potentially expanding it to include dram shop laws that determine liability for the business that served them alcohol.
Contact your insurance company and start the process of filing a claim. Be aware that the state where the wreck happened plays a role in how the claim is handled. Missouri and Illinois have different ways of assigning liability, so determining who is at fault in a car accident T-Bone crash is essential.
Finally, settling any type of car accident without an attorney is not easy. Instead, contact a car accident lawyer like Hipskind & McAninch. They will help determine liability, assist in collecting evidence and filing the claim, and initiating a lawsuit if it becomes necessary to get you the compensation you deserve.