Claiming T-bone Accident – How Can You Prove Negligence?

by | Sep 14, 2021 | Personal Injury, Car Accidents | 0 comments

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Accidents that result in death are a nightmare for drivers. A T-bone accident is the deadliest of all the collisions since the occupant or driver has less chance to shield himself from the impact. In 2019, around 36,000 Americans lost their precious lives in motor vehicle accidents. According to National Transportation Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), around 8000 people die per year in T-bone accidents.

What is a T-bone accident?

A T-bone accident, also known as a broadside impact, occurs when one vehicle collides with the broadside of another vehicle in the shape of a ‘T’. Usually, side impacts occur in or around intersections or crossroads, multi-lane highways, and signals, when drivers deny the right of the way of other users.

Main Causes of T-bone accidents:

Let’s have a look at the multiple factors that decide the cause of T-bone accidents.

  1. Over speeding: At intersections, crossroads, and signals, drivers must adhere to the posted speed restrictions. Over speeding in these areas puts people’s lives in grave danger. They are unable to maintain control of the moving car to avoid collisions.
  2. Drunk driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol impairs the driver’s ability to reason and make timely judgments to avoid accidents.
  3. Unsafe left-turns: NHTSA records most number of car accidents due to unsafe left turns at the intersections. When a driver turns left, he must be extra cautious as he had to cross the oncoming traffic. The fast-moving cars pose relatively a great threat while turning left. Therefore possibilities for a T-bone accident are more in maneuvering left turns.
  4. Distracted driving: Distractions like talking or texting on a mobile phone, listening to music, eating, etc., would take the attention away from the road and cause horrific accidents.
  5. Running red lights: When the negligent driver runs the red light ignoring the traffic rules, the possibility of a T- bone car crash cannot be eluded. When two cars t- boned at the signal, the driver who has the green light has the right of the way to go. And the one who ran the red light was liable.
  6. Inclement weather conditions: Slippery roads due to snow or rain, less visibility due to intense fog, dust storms, vehicles can be T-boned.
  7. Mechanical deficits: Due to defective auto parts, like brake failures, bursting tires, broken auto parts, etc., the vehicles may lose balance and collide against other vehicles.
  8. Road conditions: The road conditions like slippery roads due to liquid spills, uneven lanes, potholes, confusing signs, faded lines, etc., T-bone accidents occur.

Facts that make T-bone accidents dangerous:

  • Less protected sides: When a person gets t-boned, the protection he has is very flimsy, and he is exposed to fatal injuries or death. Because he is only protected by a thin door or window from the potential danger. The machine parts will protect the passenger or driver from the severity of the impact in front-end or rear-end collisions to some extent.
  • The more the speed, the more the injuries become: When speed becomes the primary cause of an accident, the window of opportunity for survival shrinks. Especially in T-bone accidents, excessive speed can be detrimental. Death becomes unavoidable. Even at low-speed impacts, the injuries will be severe.
  • Leads to multiple accidents: A broadsided vehicle is pushed out of its lane and into oncoming traffic. The vehicle may collide with stationary objects or collide with other vehicles, resulting in one or more on-the-move collisions. Even if it is not your fault, you may be involved in multiple collisions while driving.
  • Intensifies the trauma: When a vehicle is involved in multiple collisions, the severity of the injuries to the occupants increase and can result in irreversible losses. When a vehicle is hit by a speeding truck or trailer, the vehicle is crushed or rolled over multiple times, exacerbating the severity of the injuries.


Injuries caused by T-bone car crashes:

Depending on the vehicle type, speed of the car, the force of the impact, angle of the impact, airbag condition, and use of seat belt, the severity of the injuries from a T-bone accident vary.

In mild and low-speed impacts the following injuries can occur:

  • Whiplash
  • Lacerations
  • Mild fractures
  • Sprains and strains

High-speed collisions can result in grave injuries such as:

T-bone accident and personal injury law:

If you are involved in a T-bone collision, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to know how to proceed with your claim. Knowing the statute of limitations to file the claim differs based on each state. For example, in California, the time limit to pursue a personal injury lawsuit is two years. In Tennessee, the time limit is only a year. You need to file the litigation within the time limit. Claiming later than the time limit will raise questions over the credibility of your claim.

Who all are at fault in a T-bone accident?

When multiple vehicles are involved in an accident, determining liability becomes more difficult. We need to investigate the specifics to determine who can be held accountable.

  • T-bone car accidents commonly occur at intersections when any of the drivers fail to yield the right of way to the rightful driver. Misinterpretation of the green signal is also a contributing factor. One of the drivers had the right of way, and the other would have violated traffic laws. In such cases, those who failed to follow the rules will be held accountable.
  • Other people who had run red lights could sometimes be the cause of a crash. The driver who attempted to avoid a potential collision may end up colliding with another vehicle. Here, the person who ran the red light is the root cause of the multiple crashes. In such cases, he can be held liable.
  • People who maneuver unsafe left turns to pose greater threats to the oncoming traffic. Most of the time, such traffic violations create multiple vehicle crashes.
  • In parking lots, when a driver backs out a vehicle without warning, he can impact other cars on the road.

How can you prove liability in T-bone car accidents?

Proving liability becomes a tough task when each person involved starts blaming the other. Only based on the statements of the witnesses, reliability of the statements given by those who are involved in the crash, and various pieces of evidence available, the liability can be determined.

You should do the following to strengthen your claim if you plan to sue for your injuries.

  • Document the damages of the vehicles in different angles either in photo or video.
  • The position of the vehicles, skid marks, broken pieces scattered, etc., are all valid pieces of evidence. Never miss anything while documenting them.
  • Inform emergency medical services, if you are injured.
  • Document your injuries in the photo.
  • Inform the highway patrol or police.
  • Don’t forget to collect the traffic collision report.
  • Collect the personal and insurance information of all the people involved.
  • Collect the details of the witnesses, if any, and document their statement, if possible.
  • Register your injuries, pain, and pain level with ER or medical provider since medical records play a vital role in litigation.
  • Get the help of a personal injury attorney to file your lawsuit on time.

Damages claimed for T-bone accident:

If you have sustained injuries from a detrimental T-bone accident, you may not be able to return to work for a long time depending on the severity of the injuries. Some may be disabled temporarily or permanently, which in turn adds more burden to the emotional distress already they undergo.

To relieve yourself of the financial burden, you can claim the following damages.

  • Medical bills
  • loss of wages
  • loss of earning capacity,
  • loss of consortium to the kids and spouse,
  • future medical expenses
  • property damage,
  • pain and suffering,
  • emotional distress,
  • wrongful death claim, if death occurs

T-bone accident settlement:

Traditionally, courts applied classical negligence, which said that if the plaintiff contributed to the accident in any way, he could not recover any damages. It was later altered, and the amount of compensation received by the plaintiffs varied based on the degree of fault on his part. The following are the many categories of negligence that the court considers.

  • Contributory negligence: This is the traditional legal method in which, even if the plaintiff is 1% at fault and contributed to the accident, he is barred from recovering any restitution. States such as Alabama, the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia continue to do so.
  • Pure comparative negligence: Based on this, the court assesses the plaintiff’s degree of negligence and awards him the compensation to which he is entitled. Even if he was 99 percent to blame for the accident, he would only receive 1 percent of the restitution he is due. This rule is followed by 13 states to compensate the plaintiff.
  • Modified comparative negligence: Under this theory, if the plaintiff is equally or more responsible for the accident, he will be denied restitution. In different states, two types of modified comparative negligence are considered. If the plaintiff is 50 percent or more to blame for the accident, he is barred from receiving compensation. If his contribution is less than 50%, he will be compensated based on the degree of negligence. For example, if he is 45% responsible, he will get 55% of the reparation. 10 states follow this type of negligence law. In 23 states, the plaintiff will get his recompense if his negligence is below 51%.


Being injured in a T-bone accident can become detrimental when it is a near-sided impact. Far-sided impact also can be dangerous depending on the force of the collision. No two cases are equal. Each case is unique and the liability in each case is decided depending on multiple factors.

If injured in a T-bone accident, never delay the medical evaluation. Try to collate all the possible pieces of evidence and contact a well-experienced T-bone accident attorney. The assistance of a competent lawyer can help you receive your deserved restitution without much difficulty. Depending on the state and your degree of negligence, you will be able to get what you deserve.


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