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T-Bone Car Accident
What is It, Common Injuries & Determining Fault

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Collen Clark Published by Collen Clark

Schmidt & Clark, LLP is not currently accepting these types of cases and has posted this content for information purposes only. We encourage you to seek a qualified attorney, if you feel you might have a case.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, there are probably many questions running through your mind, such as - who’s at fault in T-bone collisions?

After all, this will determine what kind of damages you can get or be required to cover for the sustained injuries and many other legal and medical consequences.

Schmidt & Clark lawyers have been helping people involved in car accidents for decades. We'll use our expertise to explain who can be at fault in a T-bone car accident and other important things you should know about this kind of car collision.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • T-bone car accident cases usually happen at an intersection, when the driver who doesn’t have the right of way makes a left turn or goes through a red light. 
  • A side impact can cause several types of injuries, ranging from mild to severe.
  • When a side collision happens, the police have to determine fault between the drivers involved.

What is a T-Bone Accident?

car broken after accidentA T-bone accident happens when one vehicle hits the side of another vehicle. The two vehicles form the shape of a T, thus the name.

Other names for this collision are a side impact or a broadside accident

T-bone accidents can involve collisions with multiple vehicles, but it’s usually two vehicles.

These accidents most commonly occur at intersections because a driver disregards the stop sign or red light, or makes a bad judgment on a green light, and just drives through.

The other vehicle is going through the intersection at the same time, and they collide. 

However, a T-bone car accident can happen outside of intersections as well, such as on a highway or interstate, if one driver loses control of the car and skids sideways.  Side impact is one of the most common car accidents, and it often results in severe injuries. 

This is why it’s crucial to determine who’s at fault and if other violations, such as speeding, contributed to the impact.  Then, compensation has to be decided, and charges can be filed against the person who’s at fault.

Common T-Bone Accident Injuries

T-bone car accidents can have more serious injuries compared to a fender bender or other car collisions.  This is because one vehicle directly strikes another. The drivers are in danger the most because they are on the path of direct impact.

The most common T-bone crash injuries are:

  • Whiplash — This is the most common side-impact injury. The head is moved forcibly because of the impact. If a driver hits the brakes suddenly, it also causes or makes the whiplash worse. It results in neck and back pain and is usually treated with pain relievers and muscle relaxers.
  • Concussion — This is a traumatic brain injury caused by force to the head. It requires medical attention, as not treating it can cause issues in the future.
  • Broken bones — If a T-bone car accident is more severe, it can result in broken bones, where medical attention is needed. Usually, hands, legs, ribs, or forearms are broken.
  • Spinal cord injury — Can cause paralysis from the neck down or the waist down.

Who Can Be at Fault for a T-Bone Accident?

It’s often easy to determine who’s at fault in a T-bone collision. This is because a driver that doesn't have the right of way makes a left turn at an intersection [1].

“A car making a left turn is almost always liable for a collision with a car coming straight in the other direction.” NOLO, legal encyclopedia

Other common causes of a T-bone accident include:

  • The other driver — If T-bone accidents happen when one driver passes during a green light and the other driver doesn’t have the right of way, the other driver is at fault.
  • Car manufacturer — If the collision is caused by faulty vehicle parts, such as brakes, the guilt falls on the manufacturer.
  • Road engineers — if the accident happens because of confusing street layout and poor sightlines, such as faded red and green lights.
  • Other drivers — Another driver can swerve and startle the driver that hits you. This kind of car accident can be complicated because it requires witness testimonies and the driver’s contact info.

A T-bone collision can also happen if the driver goes over the speed limit, texts and drives, drives while impaired, and more. If the car accident case isn’t clear-cut, you should hire a personal injury lawyer to help you gather all the evidence and get damages.

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How is Fault Determined?

In cases when determining fault isn’t easy, or the driver won’t admit it, an investigation is done by the police [2].

It’s best to rely on a law firm or a car accident attorney to represent you and give you legal advice. Lawyers will represent your interests in the investigation while you focus on recovering.

Proving fault is done by:

  • Going to the scene of the accident — If you’re able, call the police at the site of the accident as soon as it happens. They will exchange information with everyone involved, and the police report will declare preliminary decisions on who’s at fault.
  • Gathering evidence — This is where a personal injury attorney is of great help. They can talk to witnesses from the oncoming traffic, get the statements and contact information. Pictures should also be taken, such as skid marks, vehicle debris, and damages.
  • Faulty vehicle — If the traffic accident happened because of a defective part, it has to be established whether this is the manufacturer’s fault, the driver’s for not doing the regular maintenance, or the auto shop’s for not fixing the vehicle when they had it.

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What Damages You Can Get After a T-Bone Collision

You can get compensation for any costs you’re able to prove are the result of a side impact.

man handing out a paperThe most common T-bone car crash damages include:

  • Medical bills
  • Future medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation 
  • Lost wages
  • Vehicle damage
  • Pain and suffering


Who Determines Fault in Car Collisions?

Insurance company adjuster determines fault in car collisions after checking the official police report and other available evidence. 

Do You Need a Lawyer for an Accident that Wasn't Your Fault?

Yes, you need a lawyer for an accident that wasn’t your fault. A lawyer will represent your interests, deal with the insurance adjusters and help you get damages.

Seek Help from a Reputable Personal Injury Attorney

A T-bone accident can cause minor or severe injuries, and it may also result in death.  To receive compensation for the suffered harm, it has to be established who’s at fault.

A good car accident lawyer will deal with the insurance company for you and the law enforcement, file the claim, and investigate to prove who is at fault.  At Schmidt & Clark, LLP we’ve handled hundreds of T-bone accident cases, and we can help you get damages for the sustained injuries.

Contact us as soon as today to schedule a free consultation and a free case review and get the compensation you are entitled to.