Side impact collisions, commonly called T-bone accidents, often result in more severe injuries than front-impact or rear-impact collisions because of the crumple zones and safety equipment in a vehicle. However, determining fault in an Indiana T-bone accident can be complex, as many factors exist that could contribute to negligence.
Below, an attorney from The Law Offices of Stewart & Stewart in Carmel, IN, describes common causes of T-bone accidents, possible injuries from these accidents, and how to determine fault in side-impact collisions.
Common Causes of T-Bone Accidents
Most T-bone accidents occur at intersections when one or more parties fail to yield the right of way at stop signs or traffic lights. Common reasons for these accidents include:
- Approaching an intersection while speeding
- Running a red light or blowing through a stop sign
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Turning in front of oncoming traffic
- Other right-of-way violations
Typical Injuries From a T-Bone Collision
While the front and back ends of cars feature crumple zones to absorb impact from front- or rear-end collisions, many vehicles do not have as much protection against side-impact collisions. While many vehicles offer side-curtain airbags to prevent head impacts against the windows, there are still several ways a person can suffer an injury in a T-bone accident.
Some common injuries include:
- Whiplash in the spine and neck from seatbelt rollout
- Traumatic brain injury from “head knocking” between the driver and passengers
- Lacerations, bruises, and broken bones
- Burns from fire damage when the driver and passengers can’t escape
Injuries from a T-bone accident can have a lasting effect on victims, including permanent disability, disfigurement, paralysis, limb amputation, and mental trauma. Victims of side-impact collisions often strike reinforced areas of the cab or each other during the accident, as the car offers very little shock absorption on the sides of the vehicle.
How to Determine Fault for Side-Impact Collisions
Determining fault in an Indiana T-bone accident can be tricky, as right of way is not always clear. Police and insurance investigators will use a variety of evidence to determine fault in an accident. If you need to file a claim for a T-bone accident, your insurance claim adjuster will consider:
- Police reports
- Witness testimony
- Accident scene photos
- Local surveillance footage from nearby businesses
- Expert testimony from professionals, including doctors, engineers, and accident reconstruction specialists
Sometimes fault is simple to determine if one party caused the accident by running a red light or a stop sign. However, sometimes other circumstances complicate the issue of determining fault. For example, a person could make a left turn in front of oncoming traffic, causing a side-impact collision. However, a third party could have blocked the turning driver’s view, making it unsafe to turn. Who is liable then?
If involved in a T-bone accident, first call an ambulance for any serious injuries. Then contact the police to file a report and document your version of the incident. If you are able, collect witness contact information and take pictures of the scene. Document damage to your vehicle and other vehicles involved in the crash and any right-of-way signs at the intersection.
Indiana is a comparative negligence state, meaning that if you were partly responsible for the accident or your injuries, you must be less than 50% negligent to receive compensation in a lawsuit.
Contact The Law Offices of Stewart & Stewart for a T-Bone Collision Case in Indiana
Determining fault in an Indiana T-bone accident isn’t always cut and dry. For help with a side impact collision case in Indiana, call us at The Law Offices of Stewart & Stewart at 800-33-33-LAW or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.