T-bone car accidents occur when one car’s front end (or rear end) rams into the driver’s or passenger’s side of another. Confusion over which driver has the right of way in an intersection or crossing often causes these crashes, but not always.

A T-bone accident can throw your life into chaos when it results in injuries and significant damage to your car. Dealing with insurance companies, juggling medical bills, arranging to take time off from work, and trying to keep your life on track while you heal from your injuries can overwhelm you.

A car accident lawyer can alleviate some of the burden by filing your claim for you and negotiating your settlement—a process that starts with figuring out who was at fault in your T-bone car accident.

Common T-Bone Accident Injuries

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), T-bone accident fatalities have risen roughly 20 percent in the past 20 years. In non-fatal T-bone accidents, the injuries are almost always severe. The rate of serious injury is higher for T-bone accidents than for other types of vehicle collisions

The reason these accidents are more dangerous has to do with automotive design. In front-end or rear-end collisions, the hood or trunk creates space between the car’s occupants and the oncoming car. This means they can absorb some of the shock of the impact.

On the sides of a vehicle, on the other hand, all that stands between the driver or passengers and the other car are the relatively thin walls of a door or side panel. There’s almost nothing to absorb the other car’s impact.

Some of the most common types of injuries associated with T-bone accidents are:

These injuries typically lead to higher insurance settlements because they generate higher medical bills—and have a more devastating effect on your quality of life—than less serious injuries. T-bone accident injuries can leave you fully or partially paralyzed, for instance, or suffering from impaired cognitive function.

Other possible long-term consequences include:

  • Loss of mobility 
  • Chronic pain
  • Lasting psychological trauma
  • Loss of income

T-bone accidents have to be taken seriously. If your medical bills are piling up, contact a car accident attorney to get the compensation you’re due.

Why Do T-Bone Car Accidents Happen?

T-bone accidents occur when one driver fails to yield to another. They’re most common at traffic intersections, particularly where there are several lanes of traffic. They also occur when a driver backs out of a parking space into a car driving past.

Who’s At Fault In A T-Bone Car Accident

We can blame these errors in judgment on blindspots, miscalculation, or distraction. In Washington state, distracted driving led to 17,682 accidents in one recent year, 99 of which were fatal.

The most common driver mistakes when there’s a car accident are:

  • Texting while driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Eating or drinking behind the wheel
  • Watching a GPS or smartphone instead of the road
  • Impaired driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Speeding
  • Running a red light or stop sign

In T-bone car accidents, simple miscalculation is often the culprit. For example, a driver might initiate a left-hand turn in an intersection, thinking they have time to beat an oncoming car going straight through. Or, two drivers arriving at a four-way stop might disagree about who got there first and therefore has the right away.

When both drivers pull into the intersection at almost the same time, the slightly later one will slam into the side of the car crossing from their left or right.

Other factors can contribute to a T-bone collision as well, including icy or slippery roads, improper signage, and malfunctioning traffic lights.

Investigating T-Bone Car Accidents to Determine Fault

If you were injured in a T-bone car accident or your car was damaged, you might be entitled to compensation. To get it, you’ll first have to establish whether you or the other driver was at fault. If you were at fault, you’ll need your own insurance company to cover your expenses. If the other driver was at fault, it’s up to their insurance company to cover your damages.

Investigating a car accident to ascertain fault takes work. Some of the documentation and evidence you’ll need to collect can be hard to get if you’re not sure where to look.

In general, the items you’ll need to send to the insurance company include:

  • The accident report from the police
  • Photos of vehicle damage
  • Photos of your injuries
  • Medical records pertaining to the treatment of your injuries
  • Photos from the scene of the accident
  • Footage from traffic light cameras, if relevant
  • Information about each of the drivers involved in the accident and the make, model, and year of their vehicles
  • Testimony or interviews from eyewitnesses, vehicle passengers, first responders, or other drivers
  • Notes on the weather, lighting, and road conditions at the time of the crash

You can get some of this information at the accident scene—unless you’re hurt too badly to attend to it then and there.

Some evidence, like the police report, you’ll have to get afterward. A car accident lawyer with experience helping T-bone accident victims can help. 

Who Investigates T-bone Car Accidents?

Police officers who arrive on the scene of a car accident usually take photos, interview witnesses, and take statements from the parties involved in the crash, then compile this information into a report. Police reports don’t always paint the full picture of what happened, though.

To learn what the police missed during their investigation, your lawyer or insurance company might hire a professional accident investigator. Their job is to reconstruct the crash. These investigators analyze various factors to determine what caused the accident and who is most likely at fault.

What Questions Will a Car Accident Investigator Ask Me?

You may need to provide information to the investigator, whether your insurance company or lawyer hired them. Just consult your attorney before speaking to anyone representing an insurance adjuster.

An adjuster may try to get you to admit you were at fault so they won’t have to compensate you for your injuries. Your car accident lawyer can help you respond to reasonable questions and recognize traps.

If you have to participate in an investigation involving your T-bone car accident, the investigator may ask you:

  • For your cell phone records
  • For your medical records
  • To complete a background check
  • To recount what happened during the crash

To convince the investigator you weren’t at fault in the T-bone accident, you’ll have to provide evidence. Your attorney can gather and organize this evidence for you.

Can You Conduct Your Own Car Accident Investigation?

Leave the car accident investigation to your attorney or you may make a costly mistake. Taking the wrong steps could jeopardize your settlement or even cost you money, usually in fees and fines. Let your attorney investigate your accident for you.

If you don’t have a car accident lawyer at the time of your accident, get the materials ready for the lawyer you eventually do retain by taking pictures of the accident scene, if you can, and your injuries.

How Can an Attorney Help Someone Who’s Been T-Boned?

A car accident attorney’s job is to help victims of accidents, such as T-bone car accidents. A lawyer can handle every aspect of your case, including negotiations with insurance companies. Car accident lawyers usually work on contingency.

Attorneys Can Handle Everything About Your Case

A car accident lawyer’s services typically include:

  • Thorough case evaluation
  • Advice catered to your situation
  • Dealing with insurance adjusters on your behalf
  • Conducting an investigation and analysis of the accident
  • Calculating the cost of your damages (injuries, property damage, pain and suffering, etc.)
  • Filing the insurance and legal paperwork related to your case
  • Representing you in court if your case goes to trial
  • Securing medical professionals to serve as expert witnesses 

Attorneys Negotiate With Your Insurance Company for You

Most of the time, insurance companies won’t look out for your best interests. They want to save money by getting you to accept a lower offer than you deserve. If you can’t recognize insurance company tactics, you may end up with a bad deal.

With a car accident lawyer, you may not have to speak directly with anyone from the insurance company. Your lawyer will handle everything: they’ll gather the evidence for your case, make a compelling argument for your settlement, and keep the adjuster fair and on track. They might even have a few tactics of their own to use on your behalf. 

Attorneys Work on Contingency

After a bad car accident—and the expenses that come with it—victims wonder if they can afford to hire an attorney. For most people, the question is whether they can afford not to. 

Most car accident attorneys make it easy by taking cases on contingency. This means that instead of billing you per hour for their services, they take a percentage of your final compensation award. Your compensation could come from a settlement or, if you went to court, a court-ordered payment. Once you receive that money, you’ll pay your attorney a percentage of it.

And if you don’t get any compensation for your car accident case? Your lawyer doesn’t earn a dime. 

Working with a lawyer on contingency means you can focus on your case rather than your legal bills. It also makes your lawyer highly motivated to secure your compensation: if you don’t get paid, neither do they.

If you’re struggling to pay your medical bills and other accident-related expenses, and navigating the insurance claims process just makes it harder, hiring an attorney is worth it.

Finding the Right Car Accident Attorney for Your T-Bone Accident Case

Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney after a T-bone car accident is a wise choice, but you can’t just hire the first name you see when you google. For the best outcome with the least headache for you, you’ll want to find an attorney with experience handling cases like yours.

Rick Park, T-bone car accident attorney
Rick Park, T-Bone Car Accident Lawyer

A good car accident attorney will listen carefully when you tell them about your situation, treat you with respect and compassion, and adhere to a high ethical standard.

Don’t be shy about calling prospective lawyers and interviewing them for the job with the following questions:

  • What are your fees for this type of case?
  • How many T-bone crash cases have you worked on before? Were you successful in getting your clients compensation in those cases?
  • How will you investigate my case to determine fault?
  • How long will it take to resolve my T-bone accident case?
  • If I don’t get a settlement, will I still have costs related to my legal case?
  • Will my case go to trial? How many cases have you taken to trial, and how many successfully obtained compensation?
  • What is my case worth?
  • Who at your firm will handle my case? Will I be able to contact them easily when I need to?
  • How involved do you expect me to be in the case?
  • Can I speak with one of your past clients about their experience with you or your firm?

You need an attorney who understands the struggle you’re going through on your side. Reach out to a compassionate, experienced, driven legal team today. Have a car accident lawyer support you as you move forward after your accident.

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