What Happens When a Car Is T-Boned?

When a vehicle is hit broadside or T-boned, the results are often horrific. As many as 10,000 people die annually in the U.S. Those fortunate enough to survive the impact frequently suffer severe and permanently disabling injuries. Formally known as a side-impact collision, the term T-bone originates from the formation occurring after the collision, with the car that crashed head-on impaled into the side of the other.

How T-Bones Happen

T-bone collisions generally occur at intersections. A driver running a red light or stop sign or failing to yield the right-of-way slams into another car. Other factors involved in T-bone accidents may include:

  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Fatigue
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence
  • Failure to correctly assess traffic
  • Vehicle defects, such as brake failure

T-Bone Injuries

The good news is that side-impact airbags have reduced the severity of many T-bone injuries. Much depends on the angle of the crash and the speed involved, as well as the age of the car. Older vehicles do not have the protective technologies found in later models. Common T-bone injuries may include:

  • Back injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Disfigurement
  • Internal organ damage
  • Neck injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Traumatic brain injury

Because of the nature of the collision, those hit broadside may find themselves unable to exit the vehicle, and people coming to their aid often cannot help them. These accidents may require the use of “jaws of life” equipment by emergency personnel to free the victims. Of course, the longer an injured person is trapped inside a car and not receiving medical attention, the more likely they are to die or worsen their injuries.

Due to the severity of injuries, victims may miss months of work or never return to their jobs. Some may find themselves dependent on wheelchairs or other equipment for mobility or require long-term care.

Along with physical injuries, many T-bone accident survivors develop psychological issues stemming from the crash, including PTSD. Symptoms may include flashbacks, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and mood swings.

T-Bone Vehicle Damage

Not surprisingly, T-bone accidents usually result in totaling of one or both vehicles. In addition, the broadsided vehicle may roll over or spin, striking other cars or pedestrians. When an SUV or truck T-bones a car, the larger vehicles may end up repairable, but that is usually not the case with the smaller vehicle.

If the crash occurred at a relatively low speed, the car may not end up totaled, but will likely suffer damage to the doors, windows, and frame. If the insurance company decides your car is repairable, it is critical to have an auto body shop assess the structural integrity of the vehicle.

T-Bone Liability

Determining which driver is responsible for a T-bone accident requires careful investigation. Much depends on who had the right-of-way, and both drivers may prove partly at fault. Surveillance video, eyewitness statements, and the police report can help with driver liability assessment.

Anyone involved in a T-bone accident who is physically able to take photos and document the scene should do so. Due to the serious nature of these injuries, some victims are in no condition to do anything but wait for emergency medical services to take them to the hospital.

Sometimes, the intersection itself is partly at fault. Many poorly designed, dangerous intersections in the New York City area have a history of such crashes. Traffic signal data from the crash time may show which driver had the red or green light. Inclement weather may play a role, as wet or icy surfaces makes it harder for a car to stop.

Contact Douglas and London today

If you or someone you know was T-boned by a reckless or negligent driver, you need the services of the experienced New York City car accident lawyers at Douglas and London. We offer free consultations, and you can schedule one by calling us 24/7 or contacting us online. Our firm has recovered more than $4 billion for clients in settlements and verdicts. While most cases are settled, we will take your case to trial when necessary.