Determining fault for a T- Bone accident will be important when dealing with insurance companies or if legal action needs to be taken. Car accidents happen in an instant, leaving those involved confused and often in pain. T-Bone accidents can be especially devastating since serious injuries are not uncommon. The way that the accident happened will determine fault. Fault will then determine how the financial aspects of the accident will ultimately need to be handled.
What is a T-Bone Accident?
T-Bone accidents are also known as side collision impacts or sideswipes. The name comes from the point of impact between the vehicles, where the front end of one car collides with the side of the other, forming a T shape. The vehicles often end up at a 90 degree angle in relation to each other, or close to it.
How Fault is Decided in a T-Bone accident
Under the laws of the State of Illinois, fault for any car accident will ultimately be decided by a judge or a jury if there is no consensus. If you were hurt in a car accident, remember, the majority of personal injury claims are resolved before a trial in court, so don’t worry.
Insurance companies are always going to start from the position of an accident not being the fault of the person who they insure, and need to be convinced otherwise. Hiring a good lawyer will improve your odds of the insurance company taking responsibility for the claim of an injured person who was not at fault. If the insurance company cannot be convinced, or – as often happens- they accept fault but are unwilling to pay a fair amount on the claim, a lawsuit can be filed at the appropriate time.
Fault is determined in any car accident by carefully examining the sequence of facts. Was there a traffic control device like a stop sign or traffic light? Who had the right of way? If intersection related, where was each car in relation to the intersection immediately before it happened? What were the respective distances of the vehicles? These are some of the questions that need to be answered when looking at the fault of the drivers. The most common causes of T-Bone accidents are:
- Failure to stop at a stop sign
- Miscalculation on a yellow light
- Misunderstanding as to who has the right of way
- Improper left turns
- Blowing a red light
- Cutting off another driver
- Failure to Yield
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- U Turns
Less commonly, T-Bone accidents sometimes happen when both vehicles are traveling in the same direction and one vehicle loses control, causing others to swerve and resulting in a multi-car accident. In these instances, the car which caused the accident might not have come into contact with the colliding cars, further adding to the confusion. If there were any witnesses, they might be helpful in tracking down the at-fault driver. Also less common but certainly not unheard of are instances where a defective car is to blame, such as faulty brakes or steering.
Due to the nature of T-Bone accidents, fault will usually depend upon who had the right of way. If traffic tickets were given out, the police report is often helpful in documenting the layout of the street and recording each driver’s recollection of how the accident happened.
Common Injuries after T-Bone Collisions
Sideswipes or side impact collisions are often more damaging to those inside the car because of the location of impact. If you are hit on the door, there is less protection to your body because there is only a door to protect you. Compare this to a rear end accident where there is often a trunk and perhaps another row of seats behind you, to absorb the force of impact. Common injuries after a T-Bone accident are:
- Neck Pain. This “whiplash” type injury can take time to resolve and may require physical therapy. Doctors may check for herniated discs or other neck problems after an accident.
- Back Pain. Back pain is also very common and should also be taken seriously, since herniations are not uncommon after a hard sideswipe accident.
- Head injuries. Head injuries come in different forms and can range from cuts and bruises to more serious problems. Concussions may heal but in some cases, post concussion syndrome will develop.
Anyone who has been hurt in a car accident should take it seriously and get checked out by a medical provider.
Next Steps after a T-Bone accident
Before speaking to the other driver’s insurance company or signing anything, talk to an attorney to be sure that you are protected from the beginning. You might not even need a lawyer, but having an honest conversation with someone who does not work for an insurance company is the best way to clarify next steps. If you do need to hire a lawyer, we will deal with the insurance companies and their lawyers for you. We can handle all aspects of either settling your claim or filing a lawsuit. Give us a call at 630 250-8813 to learn more.