T-bone accidents are unique for car accident lawyers.
Determining fault can be tricky when the other party is dishonest and refuses to admit violating safety rules. And the injuries can be severe because automobiles can’t protect you from a side impact as well as they can for a rear end accident.
Below, our Tampa-based team helps you learn the basics of a T-bone accident and how to make a side impact accident claim.
What Makes T-Bone Accidents Unique?
Unlike head-on collisions, a T-bone accident involves the front and sides of your vehicle. It is when the front of a vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle. Some people call them a broadside or side impact collision. The force involved in these accidents is significant. This car crashes often occur at an intersection when a driver fails to stop at a red light or a stop sign. Failing to correctly yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic can also result in a T-bone accident.
A T-bone auto accident can lead to devastating injuries and losses. This is especially true if the impact is to the driver’s side door. A T-bone can also happen on the passenger’s side. The invention of side airbags can lessen the severity of the injuries sustained in a T-bone. This is not always the case though. Sadly, T-bone accidents are the deadliest type of car crashes for children.
Over the past 20 years, deaths due to side-impact crashes have risen from 31% to 51%. Increased vehicle speed and the number of SUVs on the road have caused this 20% jump.
If You’re in an Accident
Whether it happens on the highway or on a country road, car accidents involve many factors. There are almost 400,000 motor vehicle accidents every year in Florida. It is important to know ahead of time what to do after a car accident.
- By law, you should stay at the scene.
- If you aren’t hurt and can move, try to help others in your car or in the other vehicle.
- Call the police as soon as possible, even if it seems like a minor incident. The police report is useful when you need to file an insurance claim for property damage.
REPORT THE ACCIDENT
Gather information if you are able. Names, insurance companies, and contact info are all important to know. Also note the location of the accident and the other driver’s license and plate numbers. Remember to write down the police report number for your insurance company. Talk to eyewitnesses and take photos for your records. Report the accident as soon as possible to your insurance provider and follow their instructions.
GET MEDICAL HELP
Accept medical attention even if you think you are ok. The impact may have caused internal or neck injuries. Adrenaline highs or shock may mask your pain symptoms. Let the doctors determine if you are still in good health. Be sure to keep records of any medical bills for insurance purposes. If it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit, these records can be used as evidence in court.
EVALUATE PROPERTY DAMAGE
From a broken window to a bent fender, document all the property damage you or the other party caused. This can help determine the facts in car accident cases. It also gives protection against malicious people who may make false statements.
WATCH FOR SCAMS
Insurance and tow truck scammers prey on distracted car accident survivors. Avoid accepting that the accident is your fault. Don’t sign any documents without your attorney present. Don’t make promises to pay for damages or injuries at the scene. Don’t say that you aren’t injured, because you may be hurt and not realize it yet. Use tow truck drivers from a reputable group and choose where to have the car towed. Your insurer can often provide roadside assistance.
HIRE AN ATTORNEY
Have you been involved in a T-bone side impact collision? Have you suffered property loss or damage? Severe injuries or lost income? If so, it’s worthwhile to consult with a personal injury lawyer today.
UNDERSTAND THE DEFINITION OF A “NO-FAULT” STATE
If you live in Florida, you are in a “no-fault” state. This means insurance companies cover medical bills and lost wages no matter who is at fault. Under Florida law, every driver must carry $10,000 in personal injury protection or PIP. You can sue an insurance company for injuries and property damage caused by auto accidents if necessary.
Who is at Fault in a T-Bone Car Accident?
Sometimes car wrecks are simply accidents. There is no one responsible or at fault. Other times collisions are due to a driver’s negligence. An auto manufacturer’s negligence can cause a car accident as well. Negligence is the failure to use the amount of care expected. In personal injury cases, a car accident attorney in Tampa must prove that another’s act or failure to act caused damage. These negligent actions are grounds for seeking financial compensation.
For example, imagine a driver fails to yield and makes a left turn in front of you. This causes a T-bone accident when you hit their vehicle’s side. You hit them, but they are at fault. This is because they acted on impulse and failed to yield. Not only is your property damaged, but also your child suffers a serious brain injury. Brain injuries can ultimately be fatal. At the very least, your child is in pain and suffering, you are under emotional distress, you are responsible for myriad medical bills, and you lose income while you stay home to care for your child. This would be a case a car accident lawyer could help you pursue.
T-Bone Accident Injuries
Side impact car crashes are devastating. Head on and rear end accidents have substantial safety features such as airbags that can reduce the seriousness of injuries.
Most vehicles, however, offer little or no protection from side impact crashes besides the door.
Side impact car crash injuries include head injuries, ear injuries, neck injuries, cervical and lumbar back injuries, shoulder injuries, rotator cuff injuries, and leg and hip injuries.
Concussions and head trauma are common even in low-speed T-bone accidents. Concussions occur from blunt trauma to the head. The brain strikes the hard skull, which can cause injury. The impact can also cause a side whipping action where the head of the driver and/or passenger is launched into the side window or door frame of the vehicle.
Any head trauma should be reported to emergency room medical providers. If you have headaches that start at or near the time of the accident (even days later) and/or these headaches persist, you should consult with a medical provider who specializes in auto accidents.
The settlement amount depends on the severity of the accident. It is hard to calculate because each crash is different. Be aware that there is a statute of limitations in Florida for a vehicle accident. A personal injury lawsuit can be filed up to four years after the date of the accident. A wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years after someone’s death.
How a T-Bone Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
The best T-bone car accident law firms handle everything about your case from start to finish. Your job is simple: recover from your injuries and try to get back to normal.
Specifically, your lawyer will:
- Investigate your claim to prove that the other driver is responsible for the accident.
- Find the owner of the other vehicle (if it is not the other driver).
- Determine all insurance policies available for your injuries.
- Work with your doctors to make sure they have whatever financial assurances they need to help you get better.
- Uncover the true value of your case: what is the dollar amount that covers what has been taken from you because of the accident?
- Negotiate with the insurance company to get the full financial value for your T-bone case.
- File a lawsuit if needed.
- Take depositions and otherwise build a case against the insurance company.
- Attend mediations and other formal settlement conferences.
- Go to trial if needed and seek justice from a jury.
T-Bone Auto Accident FAQ
CAN YOU GET WHIPLASH FROM A SIDE IMPACT CRASH?
Absolutely. In fact, whiplash from T-bone accidents is often more severe. The spinal column can suffer permanent damage from the “side to side” whipping that happens during a T-bone. Remember, most automobiles have limited safety protocols for side impact crashes.
Let our experienced T-bone car accident attorneys here at Denmon Pearlman help you. We help injured drivers throughout the Tampa Bay area. Get a free auto accident settlement consultation from us today.