A T-bone collision, also called a side-impact crash, is often severe, requiring extensive medical care and a lengthy recovery time. Many victims injured in this type of car crash may never fully return to their pre-crash condition. In addition to dealing with the injuries and medical treatments, victims and their families also face a significant and unexpected financial burden.
When a side-impact crash happens, who may be liable for your damages? How do T-bone crashes happen? Get answers to these and other legal questions if you suffered severe injuries in a side-impact collision.
At Jay Trucks, we have the resources and staff to handle even the most complicated car crash claims. Our Flint vehicle crash attorneys are prepared to fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.
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How T-Bone Collisions Often Happen
It is possible, though rare, that a mechanical defect, such as failed brakes, may cause a side-impact crash to occur. However, most often, these types of crashes are the result of driver negligence.
Some of the most common causes of a T-bone collision are:
- Failing to yield the right-of-way: Trying to maneuver a turn fast enough to beat oncoming traffic is just one example.
- Ignoring traffic signals or road signs: When drivers run a red light or stop sign, a serious T-bone crash could result.
- Distracted driving: This includes texting, grooming, horsing around or other distracted driving behaviors.
- Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol: Any kind of substance that causes impairment increases the risk of a crash.
- Poor weather conditions: Drivers are responsible for taking weather and road conditions into consideration for safety.
- Speeding: Going too fast could make it impossible for a driver to stop fast enough to avoid a T-bone crash.
There are other ways that side-impact crashes may occur, such as driver confusion caused by a broken traffic light. That said, drivers still owe a duty of care to try to avoid causing harm to themselves and others. This duty includes following traffic signals, posted speed limits and other laws.
For example, if you fail to use your signal, an oncoming driver may not know you are about to turn. Drivers can also be negligent if they do not turn on headlights at times required by law, such as when it is raining. This failure could make it hard for other drivers to see you and increase the risk of a high-speed T-bone crash.
Who May Be Liable for a T-Bone Crash?
Most people mistakenly think that the driver who hits the other car is automatically the liable party. This could be true in many side-impact crashes, but not always. Sometimes the turning driver is to blame, but in other cases, both parties may share fault.
Driver Turning Left
When a driver is turning left, a side-impact crash could happen in a couple of different ways. For example, the driver turning left may be hit by an oncoming vehicle. Alternatively, the vehicle turning left could hit the side of an oncoming vehicle. Who is liable in that situation? Likely, it would be the vehicle that failed to yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic.
Driver Who Broke the Law
Very often, side-impact crashes happen because a driver broke the law. For instance, say a driver blew through a red light. If the left-turning driver was already mid-turn, the oncoming driver who ignored the traffic signal would likely be fully liable. However, sometimes the left-turning driver may be to blame. For example, if the left-turning driver failed to yield, and the oncoming driver had the right-of-way.
Drivers of Both Vehicles May Share Liability for a T-Bone Collision
There are some situations where both parties may share liability for a T-bone collision. One way this could happen is if the left-turning driver failed to yield and the oncoming driver was speeding.
As you can see, first responders must investigate the crash and any evidence to discover what happened before determining fault. Regardless of the outcome, the plaintiff (person filing a lawsuit) has the burden of proving negligence caused the crash, which resulted in injuries and damages.
What Damages Can I Seek After a T-Bone Crash?
In Michigan, drivers can file a no-fault benefits claim through their auto insurance company to cover their medical costs, lost wages and more. It is important to remember, however, that this compensation is only available up to the limits of your personal injury protection (PIP).
If you sustain injuries in a T-bone collision that meet or exceed the state’s injury threshold, you may have other legal options. You could be eligible to file a lawsuit against the other party for additional damages, such as pain and suffering. You can learn more about your potential legal options by speaking with a qualified attorney.
How Can I Avoid Being in a T-Bone Collision?
It would be easy to say that the best way to avoid being in a T-bone collision is to follow traffic laws. This means stopping when the light is red, following posted speed limits, and not driving impaired or distracted. These steps are actions that you can control, but they are also your legal duty as a driver.
While following traffic laws is part of the solution, what can you do about the other drivers on the road? You cannot control what others may or may not do. This is very true. For instance, a driver may speed through a red light as you are about to turn left. However, there is more that you can do more to further help avoid a T-bone collision. This is where defensive driving comes into play.
When behind the wheel, you can help to prevent side-impact crashes and other traffic accidents by:
- Crossing any intersection cautiously: Check and check again for any traffic in or approaching the intersection once your light has turned green. Take another look in the intersection for any red-light running drivers or hard-to-see vehicles, such as those without headlights on. It is one second that could save you and others from serious harm.
- Being mindful of your surroundings: Whether turning right, left or going straight, defensive driving may help you avoid hazards, such as a driver who failed to stop at a red light, that may lead to a crash.
- Watching for vehicles, such as buses or trucks: Keep in mind – before turning – that heavier trucks, buses and other large vehicles need more time and distance to stop.
Our Firm is Prepared to Help After a T-Bone Collision
At Jay Trucks, our qualified attorneys have been helping injury victims in Michigan for decades. This extensive experience has led to a history of proven results – we have recovered millions on behalf of our clients.
Find out what legal options you may have by calling our firm today and setting up an initial consultation. This meeting is completely free, and there is no obligation to hire our services. However, if we do represent you, it is important to note that there are no upfront costs. In fact, we do not collect our costs or fees unless we win your case.
Experienced. Local. Lawyers. 989-244-0356