Who Is at Fault in a T-Bone Accident?

Identifying fault in a T-bone accident is often complex. Because these collisions are often catastrophic, and in many cases fatal, proving the fault of the other driver can be essential for victims who face enormous financial burdens following a crash, including steep medical bills and lost wages from time missed at work.

Following a T-bone collision, a team of New York City car accident lawyers could help an injury victim or their family. However, before an attorney can proceed with a personal injury lawsuit, they will first need to determine who was at fault in the accident.

Understanding T-Bone Accidents

T-Bone accidents are also commonly known referred to as broadside accidents or side-impact collisions. These accidents involve one vehicle colliding with the side of another.

These accidents typically fall into two categories. Many of these crashes are direct impacts, in which the front-end of a vehicle crashes into the side of another. These accidents are dangerous, given the limited amount of cushioning in a vehicle’s door or window. In many cases, only a few inches of plastic and metal stand between a driver and the vehicle crashing into the side of their car. 

These accidents differ from the other type of side-impact crash, known as a sideswipe. These collisions involve the sides of two vehicles colliding with each other as they drive parallel in the same direction.

Liability in a T-Bone crash

It may be easier to assume the vehicle that strikes the side of another car is always at fault. However, liability in a T-Bone crash is rarely so straightforward. In most cases, driver error is responsible for these accidents. However, the error does not always belong to the driver that strikes the side of the other car.

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A large number of T-Bone accidents occur at intersections. Many times, a careless or reckless driver will fail to notice a red light or disregard it altogether. When a driver enters an intersection illegally, they could cause a collision with a driver that has the green light. This could lead the driver with the right-of-way to crash into the side of the at-fault driver’s vehicle.

Ultimately, the party responsible for a T-Bone accident is the person or entity whose negligent conduct caused the accident. It is one thing to understand the cause of these crashes, however. It is another entirely to prove it, and that is where the help of a personal injury attorney comes in.

Compiling evidence of fault

Building a case in a T-Bone accident lawsuit often starts with investigating the scene of the crash. Reviewing the police report is often a good first step. The report can identify the street or intersection where the crash occurred, as well as identify any potential witnesses to the accident.

At the scene, it is important to notice if the crash occurred at an intersection. If so, the next step is to determine how the intersection was controlled at the time of the accident. Were there stop signs? A working traffic light? Flashing yield lights? These questions will go a long way towards identifying the at-fault party.

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Finding neutral witnesses is also especially valuable. When video of the crash is not available, it is common for both parties in an intersection crash to claim they had the green light. While only one of these accounts could be accurate, these claims often devolve into a disagreement between the parties at trial. An independent witness could be beneficial, as their recollection of the crash could be the least-biased account of the crash. A skilled personal injury lawyer can be key to securing the testimony of independent witnesses.

Finally, a thorough review of the vehicles is important. While many T-Bone accidents occur due to driver error, that is not always the case. Some crashes stem from a defect in one of the vehicles in the accident. Defective parts like braking systems, steering wheels, and transmissions could lead to a crash.

Seeking legal help

While understanding the nature of T-Bone accidents is important for people who have been directly affected, it is important to know these claims are best handled by an experienced team of New York City personal injury lawyers. To learn more, contact Douglas & London right away.