T-bone collisions are those devastating crashes you may see occur at a street intersection. These crashes, also known as broadside crashes or side-impact collisions, tend to result in injuries that may prove catastrophic or even fatal. ” T-bone accidents” get their name from the position of two vehicles during such a crash. In these types of side-impact collisions unlike head-on collisions, one of the vehicles is almost perpendicular to the other during the collision.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 8,000 people suffer fatal injuries in side-impact or T-bone collisions. In addition to the deaths, tens of thousands suffer serious injuries in these crashes. Often, our West Virginia car accident lawyers see that T-bone crashes result in major injuries that require extensive treatment and rehabilitation. Many of these accidents also result in permanent injuries and disabilities.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a T-bone collision, you need an experienced Morgantown car accident lawyer on your side – one who will fight hard to protect your rights and help you secure maximum compensation for your losses.
What Causes T-bone Collisions?
There are a number of reasons why T-bone or broadside crashes occur. They almost always occur at street intersections and are often caused by driver error or negligence. Here are some of the most common causes of T-bone collisions:
Running a red light or stop sign: Under West Virginia law, drivers are required to come to a complete stop at red lights as well as stop signs. At a red light, motorists are to proceed only when the light turns green and at stop signs, they are required to stop completely and proceed when it’s safe to do so. Drivers who run red lights at street intersections or race through intersections to “make the light” may end up causing devastating side-impact crashes. When a driver fails to come to a stop at a stop sign, there is also the possibility of a side-impact crash.
Failing to yield: There are certain intersections where motorists are required to yield the right of way to oncoming vehicles. When a motorist fails to do so and goes through the intersection, it may result in a devastating broadside crash.
Errors while turning: When a driver is attempting a left turn at an intersection, he or she must wait until it is safe to do so and yield the right of way to oncoming vehicles. When negligent drivers make the left turn without yielding the right of way, there is a huge risk of a T-bone crash. A driver who turns right without looking for an approaching vehicle may also end up causing such a crash.
Drunk driving: A driver operating under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is likely to be speeding, driving recklessly or aggressively. Impaired drivers make poor decisions on the road, which may lead to a T-bone crash.
Distracted driving: When a driver is distracted by a cell phone or other activities such as operating the radio, GPS or talking to a passenger, he or she may lose their sense of judgment and cause an injury crash.
Dangerous roadway conditions: In addition to driver error, when a roadway or intersection is dangerously or defectively designed, there is the added risk of a street intersection collision, particularly a T-bone crash. Examples of dangerous roadways include those that have poor lighting or overgrown vegetation that obscures motorists’ views. In such cases, the at-fault driver, as well as the city or governmental entity responsible for designing and maintaining the dangerous roadway, may be held liable for the crash.
What to Do After a T-bone Crash?
After a T-bone collision, motorists should stop immediately and remain at the site where the accident occurred. If you can safely get your vehicle away from the roadway, please do so. File a report with the responding/investigating police officer. Get a signed copy of this report, which should be available a few days after the incident.
Secure immediate medical attention and go to the nearby hospital or emergency room if you believe you are injured. Collect as much evidence as possible from the scene including photographs, eyewitness contacts, and information from other parties involved in the crash such as auto insurance, driver’s license, vehicle registration, etc. Be sure to save all receipts and invoices relating to expenses stemming from your accident and injuries. Immediately contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who will be able to deal with insurance companies and other parties, helping you avoid the pitfalls that may jeopardize your case.
Injuries and Compensation
T-bone crashes result in major injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, lacerations, limb amputations, multiple broken bones, and internal organ damage. These are all injuries that may require hospitalization, surgery and extensive rehabilitation such as physical therapy. For brain injuries and spinal cord trauma, victims may have a long road to recovery and may be looking at years of physical and occupational therapy.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a T-bone crash, you may be able to seek compensation including:
· Medical expenses
· Lost income
· Cost of hospitalization
· Expenses relating to rehabilitative therapy
· Cost of nursing care
· Cost of medications and medical equipment
· Lost future income
· Loss of livelihood
· Loss of life’s enjoyment
· Pain and suffering
· Loss of consortium (sought by a spouse for inability to be intimate with the victim).
A number of important pieces of evidence may be used to prove fault in a T-bone crash. For example, a police report that cites the other driver for a moving violation or traffic violation such as running a red light or driving while impaired can provide significant support to your claim. An accident reconstruction expert retained by your attorney on your behalf can also establish fault based on physical and other evidence.
An experienced car accident lawyer has the experience, knowledge and resources to help you prove your case and secure the compensation you rightfully deserve. Most attorneys offer a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation, so there is no reason to delay learning about your right to compensation after an accident has caused serious injuries.
West Virginia Auto Accident Attorney Jeff Robinette