Your life could change for the worse within minutes because of a car accident. While being cautious and alert while on the road can decrease your chances of getting in a car accident, your chances of being involved in an accident are not completely eliminated.
What is a T-Bone Accident?
A t-bone accident can be one of the most devastating types of accidents on the road today. This type of accident happens when a vehicle traveling in an intersection strikes another vehicle on its side, near or toward its rear end. When this occurs, it is typically the smaller car that bears the brunt of the damage since it is hit on the side, where there is no structural reinforcement.
T-bone accidents can be fatal. For example, in 2014, one San Antonio t-bone accident resulted in the death of an elderly driver and injured her passenger. The fatal t-bone accident occurred on Highway 281 near Old Fredericksburg Road when a woman driving northbound crossed over into oncoming traffic and struck another vehicle.
Some of the most common and dangerous accidents are T-bone accidents. This type of accident occurs when the front of a vehicle strikes the side of another. This is what forms the “T,” hence the name of the accident. You may also hear of this type of accident being referred to as a broadside collision. They are viewed as more dangerous in accident types because of the point of impact. Unlike other types of vehicles like head-on-collisions or rear-ends, the amount of vehicles among the crash victims is minimal. Rear-ends have the trunk of the car and the front with the engine, and head-on-collisions have both front ends of the vehicles between the victims, so each is about a car length of space for impact. Broadside collisions are only separated from the point of impact by a thin door and window.
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 25 percent of all car accidents that happen each year involve T-bone car crashes. It is stated that these dangerous accidents claim the lives of more than 8,000 drivers and passengers and leave tens of thousands of accident victims with serious personal injuries.
This type of accident is ranked second, right after head-on-collisions, in terms of the damage they cause. They are estimated to result annually in more than $200 billion worth in medical expenses and lost productivity for the accident victims, and other costs.
T-bone car accidents typically occur at intersections and cross streets where traffic converges. Even a low-speed side-impact collision can cause serious injuries.
If someone else’s carelessness or disregard for safety caused your T-bone car accident injuries, we are sorry that you have experienced this painful ordeal. You should not have to bear the financial consequences of someone else’s mistake. You may have the right to demand compensation to cover your medical bills and other losses. An experienced Austin attorney can explain your legal options and demand the money you need from the at-fault driver and their insurance company.
At Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C, our T-bone crash lawyers and accident investigative team have the skills and experience to help you after a serious car accident. With more than a century of combined experience, our knowledgeable legal team is ready to listen and help. We offer a free case consultation. Our team includes both English- and Spanish-speaking staff ready to assist you. Give us a call today for your free case consultation at (361) 882-4357 or contact us online.
How Do Side-Impact Collisions Happen?
Many people wonder what T-bone means in a car accident. A T-bone car accident is one of the most common types of car accidents (also known as a side-impact collision) that occurs when the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another. These collisions often happen at intersections where cars cross paths at perpendicular angles.
Common Causes of T-Bone and Side-Impact Collisions
In many T-bone car accidents, one driver causes the collision by misjudging the speed of an approaching vehicle or disregarding a traffic signal and violating the other driver’s right of way.
The leading causes of T-bone car accidents include:
- Running a red light or stop sign is one of the top causes of T-bone car accidents. When drivers run a red light or stop sign, they violate the right of way of other drivers. This type of driver error and lack of caution often causes T-bone car accident injuries.
- Reckless driving – Too many people operate vehicles as though they are the only ones on the road. Speeding, swerving, and disregarding road rules can result in painful and costly T-bone car accidents.
- Poorly timed left turns – Drivers waiting to turn left at an intersection must ensure that no oncoming vehicles have the right-of-way. Some people misjudge the speed of approaching vehicles and turn in front of them, leading to a side-impact accident. A driver turning left may think he or she has enough clearance to make a turn when the other vehicle is closing the distance more quickly than recognized.
- Driving while intoxicated – Alcohol and drugs impair a driver’s judgment and recognition of traffic hazards and slow the driver’s reflexes. Even with long-standing laws in Texas that impose serious punishments for those convicted of driving while intoxicated, some people still get behind the wheel after drinking. A drunk driver may barrel through a red light and cause a T-bone accident.
- Distracted driving – Distractions can take a driver’s focus off the road and approaching traffic. Cellphones, navigation, and in-car entertainment systems are part of the modern driving experience. Distracted drivers may fail to see that light changes or overlook oncoming vehicles.
- Speeding – Speed is one of the leading causes of car accidents in general, including T-bone car accidents. Many people ignore posted speed limits at their own and others’ peril. When drivers speed, they have less time to react to avoid an accident.
Common Injuries Caused by T-Bone Accidents
Modern cars provide better protection for drivers and passengers. The front and back of automobiles are designed to crumple and absorb much of the impact of a collision. Unfortunately, the sides of vehicles lack the mass to absorb the impact of a collision. The lack of protection on the sides of cars makes serious injuries more common in T-bone car accidents.
Drivers and passengers may experience serious side-impact car accident injuries, including:
- Whiplash and neck injuries – In a side-impact car accident, the force of the accident can force an occupant’s head forward quickly, then backward. These sudden movements can cause internal neck injuries, pain, and limited movement.
- Traumatic brain injuries – Traumatic brain injuries (or TBIs) are among the most common T-bone car accident injuries. These injuries can result in permanent disabilities and death. TBIs range from concussions to catastrophic puncture injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries – The spinal cord conveys nerve signals throughout the body. Even a small injury can cause permanent harm. After a forceful T-bone accident, crash victims can face paralysis and other life-long disabilities.
- Internal and soft tissue injuries – The violent force of a side-impact accident can increase the likelihood of injuries to soft tissues and joints.
- Broken bones – In addition to soft tissue injuries, the force of a collision may cause bone fractures, which can require surgery and lengthy rehabilitation.
- Scarring and bleeding – Jagged metal, shattered windows, and other debris from a collision can cause cuts and lacerations. That could cause blood loss that requires immediate emergency surgery.
After a T-bone car accident, seek medical care even if you don’t think you’re seriously hurt. The symptoms of some injuries, including closed head injuries, may take some time to appear. If you’ve suffered a side-impact car accident injury, you should speak with a lawyer to understand your options for seeking compensation for medical bills and other expenses.
Negligence in a Side-Impact Crash
All drivers must drive with reasonable caution to avoid endangering others. Texans must follow the law, avoid speeding and never take actions that put others at risk. But some drivers don’t exercise the caution that they should be behind the wheel. Irresponsible or careless drivers who cause side-impact crashes can be held legally and financially responsible for the harm they cause.
If a driver’s disregard hurt you for safety, you might claim compensation from the at-fault party and their insurance company. You’ll need to show how the driver’s negligence caused your injuries. A thorough investigation of the crash by Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., can document the reckless or negligent actions that the driver took and how they caused the accident.
How to Reduce the Risk of a T-Bone Collision
Whenever you are on the road, you should watch for other drivers. That is particularly true when crossing intersections or turning out of side streets or driveways. To help reduce the risk of a side-impact car accident:
- Stay alert and watch your surroundings. Always be aware of your surroundings, whether on the road or in a parking lot.
- Don’t assume that other people will act the way they should. Some drivers disregard traffic rules. Protect yourself by watching others carefully and reacting defensively.
- If your line of sight is obstructed while waiting to turn left and you cannot see whether vehicles are approaching, don’t take risks. Lack of visibility is a factor in many T-bone car accidents.
- Move through intersections cautiously. Most T-bone car accidents happen at intersections, so approach them with caution every time.
- Come to a complete stop when required. Red lights and stop signs mean stop. It’s a simple rule, but too many people ignore traffic signals.
Another driver’s carelessness can injure even the most cautious driver. T-bone accidents happen without warning. Don’t wait to get the help and support you need.
Who Is at Fault in a Side-Impact Crash?
The fault for a T-bone car accident depends on the facts of the accident. While a negligent driver is often responsible for side-impact car accidents, other factors can also play a part. For example, faulty brakes or other mechanical failures could contribute to an accident.
To determine who was at fault, attorneys and investigators look at many different types of evidence. Documentation such as photos and videos of the accident and the scene, witness statements, and police reports can help establish the cause of a side-impact accident. In some cases, accident reconstruction specialists may help explain how the accident occurred.
If you’ve been injured in a collision, don’t assume anything about the accident. Talk with a knowledgeable lawyer at Herrman & Herrman to understand how car accident fault laws apply to your case. You may be owed significant compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. In certain circumstances, you may have a right to seek punitive damages if the other driver’s conduct was outrageous or intentional.
Contact an Austin Side-Impact Car Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a T-bone car accident in Austin, contact the expert car accident lawyers at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. now. We’ll always put you first with decades of combined experience and a commitment to results. We’re ready to start right away. We can quickly dispatch our accident investigative team to gather crucial evidence before it disappears.
We are available to assist you if you have questions about your rights after an Austin car crash. Start by contacting us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call us at (361) 882-4357 or reach out online now.