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Who is at Fault in a T-Bone Car Accident?

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Posted By Legal Team | October 26 2023 | Car Accidents

One of the deadliest and most common car accidents happens in intersections when one driver fails to yield the right of way resulting in a T-bone accident with another vehicle. In this type of car accident, one vehicle hits the other in a broadside collision, forming a shape like a capital T. Around 5,000 people are killed in T-bone collisions each year and many more suffer serious injuries. In fault-based insurance states, it’s necessary for injured victims of T-bone accidents to determine which party was at fault for the accident so they can make a claim for compensation. So how do you prove fault in a T-bone collision?

How Do T-Bone Car Accidents Occur?

Most T-bone accidents happen in intersections when roads cross and a driver fails to yield the right of way to another vehicle. Some examples of how T-bone accidents happen are as follows:

  • One driver makes a left turn at an intersection assumming an approaching vehicle will stop at a red or yellow light but the other driver fails to stop
  • One vehicle has the right of way at an intersection with a green light and drives right through, hitting a vehicle approaching from the left or right because that driver failed to stop at the red light
  • One vehicle runs through a stop sign and hits a vehicle approaching from the right or left

Distracted driving is a major cause of T-bone accidents. When a driver is peering at their phone, they may miss a stop light or sign and blow through an intersection, hitting another vehicle broadside. Intoxicated driving also contributes to a high number of T-bone collisions.

Discovering Fault in a T-Bone Accident 

Because an accident claim requires proof of liability for insurance to pay out on the claim or to win a lawsuit in court if an insurance company fails to pay out on a valid claim, determining who was at fault in a T-bone accident is critical. Fault may be unclear in the traumatic aftermath of an accident and typically both parties don’t wish to admit fault even if they’re aware that they caused the accident. In most cases, determining fault after an accident requires an investigation. Because law enforcement focuses more on criminal investigations, it may fall to the injury victim to prove another driver’s negligence caused the accident. An experienced Atlanta car accident attorney will do the following:

  • Request traffic camera footage if a camera was present in the intersection
  • Review dash-cam videos or seek surveillance footage from nearby businesses
  • Examine the accident scene for skid marks or debris
  • Review eyewitness testimony
  • Consult with accident reconstruction experts
  • Check cell phone records to see if a driver was using their phone during an accident

If one driver failed to yield the right of way to another vehicle and ran through a red light or stop sign purposely or due to distraction, they are liable for the damages in a T-bone accident. In less common cases, the fault for a T-bone accident could rest with a city road maintenance agency that failed to fix a defective traffic light or the manufacturer of defective car brakes.

Proving the Legal Points of Liability for a T-Bone Car Accident 

Once you work with a specialized personal injury attorney in Atlanta to determine who was at fault in a T-bone car accident, they must document evidence proving liability. This requires demonstrating the following points:

  • The at-fault party owed a duty of reasonable care to prevent injury to others on the road
  • They breached this duty by acting negligently or recklessly
  • Their negligent breach of duty directly caused injury
  • The injury victim suffered significant damages from the injury

Damages in car accident claims are the economic and non-economic consequences of an accident such as medical expenses, lost income, and compensation for pain and suffering.

What if Both Drivers Were at Fault?

Sometimes both drivers play a role in a T-bone accident. For instance, if one driver fails to stop at a red light or stop sign, but the other driver fails to signal a left turn, the driver who didn’t signal could be found to be 20% at fault in the accident. In states like Georgia with modified comparative negligence insurance systems, even those partly at fault for an accident can recover a portion of their damages as long as they are less than 50% to blame. If their damages amounted to $100,000 but they were 20% at fault, they’d recover $80,000. This system makes it essential for accident victims to hire skilled legal representation to defend their rights and best interests throughout the process.

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