Who Is at Fault for a T-bone Accident?

Who Is at Fault for a T-bone Accident?

Driving through an intersection when the light is green is something most of us do without thinking. But what if a driver doesn’t stop on red and slams into your vehicle? The result can be a devastating T-bone accident that destroys your vehicle and severely injures you and your loved ones. Then, you probably wonder who is at fault and how to receive compensation for your medical bills and other damages.

T-bone collisions can be especially devastating because individuals on the side of the impact can suffer life-changing, if not fatal, injuries.

You need a lawyer who understands all aspects of T-bone collisions, including legal concepts about fault, negligence, and other matters related to these serious accidents. After reading this article, speak to a Florida car accident attorney about your T-bone accident for more information.

What Is a T-Bone Accident?

A T-bone accident happens when one motor vehicle hits another in the side. This type of collision results in the two vehicles forming a T at the moment of impact. 

Who Is at Fault for a T-bone Accident

These crashes are also referred to as broadside or side-impact accidents. Most T-bone collisions happen at intersections with traffic signals or stop signs.

Depending on vehicle speed and other factors, T-bone collisions often involve severe or fatal injuries. The accidents are often serious because of the high speeds involved. Also, the impact occurs on the side of the vehicle, which offers less protection for the driver and passengers than the front or back.

T-bone accidents are extremely dangerous; approximately 23 percent of car accident deaths happen in broadside collisions. Injuries and deaths involving children are also some of the highest of all accident types.

What Causes T-Bone Accidents? 

There are many possible causes of T-bone collisions:

  • Ignoring a stop sign or red light 
  • Turning left into oncoming traffic
  • Not looking both ways when turning at an intersection 
  • Failure to yield
  • Aggressive or reckless driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Medical emergency
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Brake failure
  • Bad weather

Common T-Bone Collision Injuries

Fatalities are common in T-bone accidents, as are severe injuries, such as: 

  • Concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spine and spinal cord injuries
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Cuts and abrasions
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Internal injuries and organ damage
  • Puncture wounds 
  • Crush injuries to limbs

Who Is at Fault for T-Bone Accidents? 

Generally, state law says that all drivers on public roads have a duty of care to other drivers and pedestrians using the road. This means a driver must drive safely and not break traffic laws. Not meeting the duty of care and injuring others is negligent behavior, and the at-fault party may be responsible for the other driver’s damages.

Determining who is at fault in a T-bone collision and who violated the duty of care depends on the facts of the case. Whether a driver slams into the side of another car or the other car slams into them, the driver who didn’t yield to the person with the right of way is typically found at fault. However, many people mistakenly assume that the driver who hit the other vehicle broadside is always at fault. That is not so.

T-Bone Collision

Determining the at-fault party in a T-bone crash requires a complete crash investigation. Video and pictures of the crash scene, eyewitness accounts, the police report, skid marks, and the vehicles themselves are important evidence for the stakeholders to collect to determine fault.

The fault will eventually be assigned to the driver who didn’t yield as they were supposed to under the law. For example, if the car that T-boned you ran a red light, they should be liable for your damages. But, if you ran the red light and T-boned the other driver, you may be at fault.

Your attorney and the insurance company will review the crash evidence and determine who needs to pay. If a car accident attorney accepts your case, you can assume they strongly believe the other driver is at fault for the T-bone collision.

If the other driver was working during the T-bone collision, suing their employer may be possible. The employer can be liable for their employee’s actions if they were working when the crash happened. This is known as the respondeat superior legal theory.

Here is more information about the parties who may be liable for the T-bone collision:

The Drivers That Hit Each Other

Most T-bone accidents are the fault of one of the drivers involved in the T-bone collision. One or the other driver usually failed to yield at a stop sign or red light, and one vehicle hit the other.

Depending on who had the right of way at the time of the accident, either party can be to blame. Your attorney will review the case evidence to prove the other driver caused the accident.

Another Driver

Some T-bone collisions are caused by a third driver who avoided the impact. For instance, another driver may make an illegal left turn in front of oncoming traffic, causing the oncoming driver to veer and hit another car. The driver who made an illegal turn will ultimately be responsible for the accident.

Auto Or Parts Manufacturer

The manufacturer can be responsible for the incident if one or more motor vehicles involved in the crash had faulty parts or systems. For example, if one driver’s brakes failed and hit another vehicle broadside, the brake part manufacturer or mechanic can be liable.

Every state has product liability laws that allow injured parties to file a personal injury claim for a defective product that led to injuries or death.

What Compensation Can You Receive In A T-Bone Collision Claim? 

After being injured in a T-bone collision, you may be dealing with severe injuries, lost earnings, and unbearable pain and suffering from injuries and treatments. You can find your medical bills piling up. Meanwhile, you can’t work and support yourself.

Assuming the T-bone collision wasn’t your fault, you should not have to pay out of pocket for your losses.

T-Bone Collision Claim

You can recover compensation in a personal injury lawsuit for: 

  • Current medical expenses and in the future
  • Past lost earnings and the ability to earn a living
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy 
  • Repair or replacement of your vehicle
  • Pain and suffering and mental anguish

The above is only a partial potential list of your losses and damages in a T-bone accident claim.

If the T-bone crash caused the death of your loved one, you can seek justice through a wrongful death lawsuit. Further, if your loved one filed a personal injury claim and then died from their accident-related injuries, that action can be converted to a wrongful death lawsuit.

As the immediate family, you can seek compensation for: 

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost future income
  • Lost inheritance
  • Mental and emotional anguish
  • Your loved one’s pain and suffering
  • Medical bills
  • Lost of love, care, and affection 

How Your Attorney Can Assist After a T-Bone Collision Accident

After a T-bone collision, you may wonder how or if a car accident attorney can benefit you. Minor accidents with minimal damage or injuries may not require an attorney’s help. But a T-collision often has serious injuries and damages, so it is usually preferable to hire a lawyer.

Generally, your car accident attorney can:

  • Communicate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This way, you can avoid saying anything that damages your case. You can also focus on getting better instead of fighting with an insurance adjuster. 
  • Obtain important evidence to prove fault for the T-bone accident. Suppose you claim the other driver was texting and driving during the crash. Your attorney can file a subpoena for their cell phone records. 
  • Work with your healthcare providers to supply important injuries and treatment plan documentation. 
  • Organize and present vital case evidence to prove fault and damages. 
  • Negotiate with various lien holders, such as healthcare providers. Your attorney can usually set up medical liens for your doctors to be paid from your settlement. They also may reduce the amount you need to pay. 
  • Negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company for your T-bone accident injuries

Proving Liability 

Perhaps the most critical duty of your car accident attorney is to prove the other driver caused the T-bone collision.

You may have taken photos and video of the crash scene. But your attorney and possibly a crash investigator may return to the scene to secure additional evidence. Your lawyer will also obtain all relevant photo and video evidence from the crash and police or accident reports.

They will track down eyewitnesses and obtain their official statements, as well. Doing these things alone is difficult, especially when you’re injured and lack legal experience. Your lawyer will handle all these duties, removing a burden from you so you can heal.

Proving Your Losses

Your attorney’s experience is worth a great deal in proving your injuries and losses. Even if the other driver was clearly at fault, you must prove your damages to receive fair compensation.

T-Bone Collision Accident

Unfortunately, while you are entitled to all your medical records and receipts, getting that information for a T-bone accident claim may not be their priority. 

Small doctor offices often lack the staff or time to react quickly to documentation requests. Large providers usually have detailed procedures for obtaining these records. If you don’t follow their procedures, they may not respond or will be slow to do so.

When the provider responds, they may not provide everything your attorney needs to prove the damages. Many attorneys and paralegals say they must make many requests for the same information to receive all the documentation they need to prove injuries and damages.

How Much Can You Get in a T-Bone Collision Claim? 

All T-bone collision cases are different, so it’s impossible to say what you can receive without analyzing the specific circumstances of the accident and your losses. However, several factors will influence the size of your settlement or jury award:

Severity of Injuries

The severity of your injuries is the largest factor in your case outcome. Two cases that happened the same way can be worth different amounts based on the severity of the injuries.

Suppose you broke your leg when an SUV T-boned your car. It is a simple femur fracture that heals cleanly and requires no surgery. Your prognosis is a complete recovery.

This case will probably have a lower value than a compound fracture of the femur that requires two surgeries and leaves you with a permanent limp. You might get more money for the second example because of higher medical bills, more rehabilitation, pain and suffering, and lost earnings.

Who Is Liable

You will receive more compensation if the other driver is 100 percent at fault for the accident. Also, if the fault is clear, the other driver’s insurance company will likely offer a faster, fairer settlement. If they fight the claim, they can go to court and pay much more if the jury rules against them.

Amount of Damages

Your total damages also affect the case value. A low-speed T-bone accident with minor injuries will have a lower value than a high-speed crash with devastating injuries and damages.

James Holliday
James Holliday, Car Accident Lawyer in Florida


Another major factor in the case is how much insurance is available. Auto insurance is mandatory for all drivers, but many drivers only purchase the legal minimum coverage.

Many states only cover $25,000 in bodily injury per person. If the at-fault driver has no other assets, their insurance policy limits can be all you receive for your losses. However, your attorney will carefully review the case and determine every possible insurance policy that can be tapped for compensation.

Speak to a Car Accident Attorney Today 

Being injured in a T-bone collision by a speeding or reckless driver is terrifying and devastating. If you’re overwhelmed with severe injuries and other losses, you shouldn’t have to go through this without legal and financial assistance.

A car accident attorney can review your case promptly and determine your legal options.
Speak to a car accident lawyer today for a complimentary consultation about your auto accident case. Most personal injury lawyers in Florida don’t charge legal fees unless they win your case.

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James Wayne Holliday Author Image

James Wayne Holliday

James Wayne Holliday has been practicing law since 1995. He has been named as a “Best Attorney” Lifetime Charter Member in Florida, an honor awarded to less than one percent of the nation’s lawyers.

Mr. Holliday has earned a reputation as a relentless trial lawyer because of his outstanding work ethic and thorough preparation of his cases for trial.

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