Who Is At Fault in a T-Bone Accident in Indiana?

T-bone accidents in Indiana.

Motorists are at risk of severe injury if they’re struck in a T-bone accident. Also called side-impact collisions or broadside accidents, these crashes occur when a vehicle is struck from the side, placing them in a “T” shape at the moment of impact.

Despite today’s safety innovations, vehicle occupants have less protection when they’re hit from the side compared to the front or rear ends. That means that both drivers and passengers can sustain life-threatening injuries in a broadside crash.

Were you hurt in a T-bone accident? If so, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the person or party who is responsible for your injuries. Talk to an Indiana car accident attorney at Truitt Law Offices today. Our law firm has offices conveniently located in Fort Wayne and Huntington.

Call or contact us to schedule a free consultation.

What is a T-bone Accident?

In a T-bone accident, the front end of a car strikes another vehicle from the side. Around 25 percent of U.S. crashes are side-impact collisions, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

T-bone crashes are particularly dangerous because the side portion of a vehicle, especially near the door, is structurally vulnerable. There is no bumper or front zone to absorb the impact of the crash. Instead, the force lands squarely against the vehicle. The addition of side-impact airbags with head protection provides extra padding that reduces the chances of death in a T-bone accident from between 17 and 33 percent, according to one NHTSA analysis.

How Do T-bone Accidents Most Commonly Occur?

Many T-bone accidents are hard to avoid. They commonly occur when the at-fault driver violates another driver’s right of way, including:

  • Running a red light
  • Ignoring stop signs
  • Turning in front of an oncoming car in an intersection

Typically, the person at fault in a T-bone collision is the driver who failed to observe the right of way. However, the facts of every car accident are so unique that a detailed investigation needs to be conducted to determine whether more than one party is to blame. For example, if a malfunctioning traffic light gave both drivers a green light at an intersection, a state Department of Transportation could be liable for the crash.

Are T-bone Accidents Worse Than Other Types of Car Accidents?

Cars are designed with front and rear crash zones, and these areas of the car will crumple and absorb much of the impact of a collision before anyone inside the vehicle is affected. Unfortunately, most cars have much less protection on the sides compared to the front or rear, and there may only be a thin sheet of metal between a passenger and a car in a T-bone collision.

Some of the most common injuries from T-bone collisions include:

  • Cuts and bruises: T-bone collisions can send shards of glass from side windows flying through the cabin, causing deep gashes in the skin. The force of the impact may also leave deep, painful bruises.
  • Broken bones: If a driver or passenger is struck on their side of the vehicle, the impact force can easily cause painful and complex fractures.
  • Neck injuries: The sudden force of a crash can cause the neck to snap forward and back in rapid succession, resulting in whiplash, vertebral fractures, and nerve damage.
  • Back injuries: Herniated discs, broken vertebrae, spinal compression and bulging discs can cause painful and chronic injuries. If the spinal cord is cut or damaged, victims of a T-bone accident may suffer from temporary or permanent paralysis.
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI): The impact of a T-bone collision can rattle passengers and cars alike, leading to traumatic brain injuries if someone hits their head or is shaken severely in the crash. A TBI can cause cognitive, emotional, motor, and physical impairments, as well as death.
  • Burns: If a T-bone accident causes a car to catch fire, passengers trapped inside can suffer serious burns all over their body.

How is Fault Proven in a T-bone Accident?

It’s important to speak to an experienced lawyer if you’ve been hurt in a side-impact collision. Obtaining compensation will depend upon proving your accident claim and showing that the other driver or party was at fault. Without good evidence, you may be limited in your ability to collect the compensation you deserve.

Examples of evidence that your attorney can help you collect include:

  • Police reports
  • Photos from the accident scene
  • Video surveillance from nearby businesses
  • Witness statements
  • Expert testimony from doctors, accident reconstruction teams, financial planners, and others

In Indiana, you may still be able to recover compensation after a car accident even if you are partly at fault. Money is possible as long as you are less than 51 percent to blame. The amount you receive will be subtracted from your percentage of fault, which is assigned by an insurance adjuster, judge, or jury. Because your ability to receive compensation hinges on falling below the 51-percent mark, it’s wise to have a car accident attorney on your side to ensure that you are not unfairly blamed.

What if I Accidentally Ran a Red Light and T-boned Another Driver?

Even if you ran a red light and T-boned another driver, remember that you are not the only one who could be at fault. Here are some tips for what to do at the accident scene to protect your legal rights.

  • Never admit fault to a police officer. Don’t even apologize for the crash. The insurance company can use these statements against you if you file a claim for compensation.
  • Get the other driver’s insurance information: Ask for the names, insurance information, addresses, and phone numbers of anyone involved in the accident.
  • Document the scene: Take pictures of the vehicles, your injuries, and any environmental evidence that you think contributed to the wreck. For example, if the driver ran a stop sign, make sure to get shots of the intersection from multiple angles.
  • Get witness information: Names and phone numbers of anyone who saw the T-bone accident can help your claim significantly.
  • Call a T-bone accident lawyer: In Fort Wayne and Huntington, you can count on a car accident attorney at Truitt Law Offices to build a solid and strong claim for compensation for you.

Contact an Indiana Car Accident Attorney Now

The path to compensation after a T-bone accident will go more smoothly with the help of a strong and compassionate injury attorney. Talk to Truitt Law Offices today. Contact us right away to arrange your free consultation.

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About the Author

As an attorney who has practiced law in Northeast Indiana for nearly four decades, Richard Truitt has seen many changes in the way personal injury and wrongful death cases are handled. However, at least one aspect of his work has remained the same. “You always have to listen to your clients, and you have…