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Who’s At Fault in a T-Bone Accident?

T-Bone AccidentT-bone crashes, also often called side impact or broadside accidents, occur frequently. This type of accident can cause severe injuries.  In Virginia, the at-fault driver must compensate the injured victims — but how do you know who’s at fault in a T-bone accident?

How T-Bone Accidents Happen

A T-bone accident happens when the front of one car crashes into the side of another car.  The accidents commonly occur at intersections and in parking lots. The collision impact may be on the passenger or driver’s side of the car. 

Most often, the cause of a side impact crash is one driver’s failure to yield to another driver’s right of way.  In an intersection accident, traffic signals or signs usually control traffic.  The primary question frequently is which driver failed to abide by the signals or signs at the intersection.

Regardless of the circumstances, the driver who failed to yield the right of way likely violated a motor vehicle law in the process.  A traffic violation is evidence of fault in a side impact accident.

Fault in a Side Impact Accident

In some types of accidents, fault often is easy to determine.  For example, in rear end accidents, the driver in the back car usually is at fault.  Even then, factual evidence may demonstrate that the front driver was at fault.

T-bone accidents present circumstances that are more difficult to analyze.  Although sometimes one driver admits fault, often both drivers claim they had the right of way when the accident occurred. 

To complicate the situation even further, side impact crashes often cause chain-reaction collisions.  Then the accident becomes a multiple-vehicle crash — and sorting out who is at fault becomes even more difficult.

When a broadside collision accident causes serious injuries, a personal injury attorney uses a number of types of evidence to determine who is at fault and responsible for compensating injured victims.  The evidence may include:

  • Police report
  • Witness statements, including both drivers and others who witnessed the accident
  • Traffic camera video
  • Videos from surrounding businesses
  • Programming information from traffic signals
  • Physical evidence and photos of the vehicles and crash site
  • Electronic data from the vehicles, if available
  • Expert witnesses, including accident reconstruction experts

Evaluating and analyzing all the evidence is a complex task.  When the analysis is complete, the attorney concludes whether sufficient evidence of fault exists to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver.

Injuries in a Broadside Crash

Even though many newer cars have side-impact airbags and other safeguards against T-bone accidents, a driver or passenger can sustain significant injuries in a broadside crash.  Children are especially at risk for serious injuries in this type of accident. 

Severity of injuries increases when cars travel at higher rates of speed.  A side impact accident can be fatal when the crash occurs with the cars going high or excessive speeds.  In fact, T-bone crashes rank second behind head-on collisions in causing traffic fatalities.

Injuries from broadside accidents vary depending on the part of the vehicle struck, the types of vehicles involved, speeds of both vehicles, and the nature of the accident.  Some side impact crashes actually cause a vehicle to spin around or turn on its side.  If multiple chain-reaction collisions occur, a victim may suffer successive impacts and injuries. 

Traumatic brain injuries are one of the most serious types of injuries that occur in side impact accidents.  Even a concussion, which is a mild traumatic brain injury, poses dangerous risks.

Chest injuries and fractured ribs, which can cause significant internal injuries, also frequently occur in T-bone accidents.  Other types of bone fractures may result as well.

What To Do If You’re in a Side Impact Accident?

If you suffer injuries as the driver or a passenger in a car broadsided by another driver, the most important step to take is getting immediate professional medical evaluation and treatment.  During recovery, you should avoid discussing the accident with anyone, especially insurance companies representing a driver who may be at fault.

Talking with an insurance adjuster or making a statement without talking to a lawyer could hurt your case.  The insurance company’s only interest is settling the case for the smallest possible amount.

If you think another driver caused the accident, and your injuries are severe, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case.  After collecting and analyzing all the evidence, your attorney will advise you whether the evidence supports a claim for compensation against the driver who caused the accident.  Then, you can make an informed decision about the best way to proceed.

Talk With an Experienced Virginia Beach Personal Injury Attorney

Jeffrey Brooke is a trusted, respected Virginia Beach attorney who dedicates his practice to helping injured victims and their families.  If you suffered severe, long-term injuries in a T-bone accident, The Jeff Brooke Team is here to help.  We always focus on your and your family’s interests and rights and aggressively pursue your case to get the full compensation you deserve. Contact us by phone at (757) 552-6055 or by using our online contact form.

Jeff Brooke is a personal injury attorney devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligent and careless actions. The Jeff Brooke Team serves all of southeastern Virginia. The firm helps clients in the Greater Tidewater and Greater Hampton Roads areas, including in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Chesterfield. The Jeff Brooke Team also handles cases in northeastern North Carolina, including the Outer Banks.

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