Representation in Your North Tampa Car Accident Case
The severity of a car accident victim’s injuries depends on a host of factors, including the location of the impact. When a T-bone accident occurs, there is often not enough of the vehicle to protect a passenger from the brunt of the crash. The Spring Hill car accident attorneys at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC provide car wreck victims with the legal help they need to pursue claims against the parties that caused their injuries. Our lawyers have handled a number of complex auto accident cases, including those related to T-bone collisions. We can bring our 50 years of collective legal experience to fight for your right to compensation. Please call our office today to discuss how we can help you in your case.
T-bone collisions, also known as broadside and side-impact collisions, occur when one vehicle strikes the side of another vehicle. A T-bone accident typically occurs at intersections or at a traffic light or sign. T-bone collisions can cause more serious injuries than other types of car accidents. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows that nearly 3,000 passenger cars involved in fatal crashes in 2011 were initially struck on either their left or right sides. In Florida, twenty percent of vehicles involved in deadly crashes were first impacted on their sides.
T-bone accidents often cause significant injuries to the car driver or passengers. Broken windows or crumbled doors can cause major head or brain injuries, fractures, and disfigurement. A person may also be partially ejected from the car in a T-bone crash.
Side Impact Car Crash Liability
A careless driver is usually responsible for causing a side impact accident. Drivers who do not obey traffic signs, fail to yield, or speed are more likely to cause a side impact crash. These drivers can be held liable for their actions and any injuries they cause as a result of their unsafe driving.
Most side impact motor vehicle accidents are caused by a negligent driver. Negligence is the failure to act as a reasonably prudent person would act under the same circumstances. To prove that a driver was negligent, you must show:
- Duty of care – Florida drivers owe a duty of care to others when they drive. This includes an obligation to follow the rules of the road and refrain from any actions that can cause injury to others.
- Breach of care – A driver breaches the duty by failing to act with reasonable care. A driver who fails to yield the right of way and speeds through an intersection, for example, violates his or her duty to exercise care.
- Causation – The breach of the duty of care must cause the plaintiff’s injuries.
- Damages – The plaintiff must be able to show actual damages for his or her injuries, such as lost wages or medical bills.
Once you establish the defendant’s negligence, you can potentially recover damages for your injuries. A defendant may claim that you were at least partly responsible for your injuries, but a Florida court will not bar your right to recovery, regardless of your degree of fault. Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means you can recover damages in proportion to your degree of fault.
Florida requires that you file your claim within four years from the date of the car accident. If you do not file in time, you may not be able to get damages. Another type of accident would be a head on accident.
Head-On Vehicle Collisions
Head-on collisions occur when a motorist is driving the wrong way down a lane or crosses the median into the opposite lane. In a 2012 study, the National Transportation Safety Board estimated that wrong-way collisions account for three percent of all traffic crashes in the U.S. However, they have a much higher rate of fatality than other types of collisions. Drunk driving was a major factor in many head-on collisions, and a reduced line of sight also can be a factor.
Many drivers and passengers suffer catastrophic injuries in head-on crashes with other vehicles, and some injuries can be fatal. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 5,400 people died in passenger car accidents when the initial point of impact was the front of the car. In Florida, over 26 percent of fatal car crashes were the result of head-on collisions.
Liability in Head-on Car Crashes
Drivers who cause head-on collisions are accountable for the injuries and damages they inflict on their victims. You can hold a driver liable for the harm he or she caused you as a result of a head-on collision.
Florida requires you to show that the driver who caused the crash (the defendant) is liable for your injuries. You can make your case by establishing the defendant’s negligence, which means proving everything in this list:
- The defendant had a duty to exercise care. Drivers in Florida must exercise the prudence and care that any other driver would exercise under similar circumstances.
- The defendant breached the duty of care by his or her actions. For example, this can happen when the driver is too distracted and swerves head-on into your lane.
- The defendant caused your injuries by failing to exercise care.
- You incurred damages, such as medical expenses, for your injuries.
If you were struck by a drunk driver, you may be able to establish the driver’s liability under negligence per se. This does not require you to show that the driver breached the duty of care. It is obvious that the driver breached the duty of care if he or she drove drunk, which is a criminal offense in Florida. You would still need to prove that your injuries were caused by the head-on collision, however, to get damages.
Liability for a T-Bone Crash
T-bone crashes are often the result of a driver’s careless behavior. Causes of T-bone collisions can include failure to follow traffic signs and signals, distraction, or speeding. You can hold a driver responsible for your injuries by suing under a claim for negligence.
Motorists in Florida must use reasonable care when they operate their vehicles. To hold a party liable for negligence, you need to establish that the defendant:
- Had a legal obligation to exercise reasonable care (duty),
- Failed to exercise reasonable care (breach), and
- The failure to exercise care caused your injuries and damages (causation and damages).
The defendant’s actions must be a substantial factor in causing your injuries. If you can prove a nexus between the defendant’s breach and your injuries, you can potentially hold the defendant liable.
You may be able to obtain compensation even if you partly contributed to your injuries. Plaintiffs in Florida personal injury suits can recover damages to the extent they were not at fault for their injuries. For example, if a jury determines you are 60 percent at fault, you may still recover for 40 percent of your damages against the other negligent party.
There is a four-year time limit on general personal injury suits in Florida, though shorter time limits apply in wrongful death and other cases. With the help of a seasoned attorney, you can secure your rights and obtain the appropriate compensation for your injuries.
Seeking Compensation for T-bone Crash Injuries
You can potentially seek compensation for a T-bone collision if you can prove the defendant is liable for the accident. These crashes can cause significant harm, and the amount of no-fault coverage Florida requires may be insufficient to cover your injuries. Through a personal injury claim, you may be able to obtain compensation for your medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering.
If you lost a family member in a T-bone crash, you may be able to recover damages through a claim for wrongful death. You may potentially recover for your deceased relative’s medical expenses, burial bills, and loss of companionship.
Aggressive Legal Representation
At Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC, our New Tampa motor vehicle accident lawyers represent victims of T-bone collisions. The attorneys at our firm have years of experience handling complex car wreck cases, and are prepared to offer you the aggressive legal representation you need. We can review the facts of your case and discuss your legal rights with you. If we proceed with your case, we will thoroughly investigate the accident to ensure you have the strongest claim possible. Our attorneys can effectively negotiate a settlement or advocate for you in civil court if necessary. Please call our office at (866) 597-0009 or reach us via our online form and we will schedule a free initial consultation. We proudly serve clients in local areas including Lutz, Brooksville, and throughout Hernando County.