T-Bone Car Accidents: Who’s at Fault?

T-Bone Car Accident

T-bone car accidents usually include two vehicles and occur when one vehicle crashes into the side of another at a right-angle, creating a “T” shape. These auto accidents are also called side-impact collisions or broadside crashes and are known to be among the most fatal of all types of Houston car accidents. In 2019, Texas had 3,615 fatal car crashes, with 256 of those deadly events happening in Houston. Determining who is at fault for a T-bone car accident can be complicated and will depend on the facts surrounding each particular crash. Most such accidents occur at intersections where one car fails to yield the right of way to another vehicle, but they can occur in a variety of other circumstances.

Since broadside collisions often involve two drivers, either driver can be at fault. Not all cases make it simple to determine liability, which is especially true if a government-owned and operated traffic sign or signal caused or contributed to the crash. Therefore, you cannot automatically judge who is responsible for the resulting damages, making these motor vehicle accident cases more complicated than other types of passenger vehicle collisions. Sometimes the driver of the vehicle that is hit is found to be negligent and other times the colliding driver or a third party is responsible and even other times more than one driver can be at fault.

Determining which driver is at fault in a T-bone accident requires a thorough investigation, using items such as photos, videos, the police report, eyewitness testimony, and even accident scene reconstructionist experts, among other experts. This is why contacting and working with an experienced auto accident attorney is really helpful in these types of motor vehicle accidents.

Causes of T-Bone Accidents

Most passenger vehicles are designed to withstand car crashes from the front (head-on collisions have the front ends of both vehicles in between the crash victims) and rear-end (rear-ends have the trunk of the car and the front of the other car in between the occupants of each vehicle) and not necessarily side-impact collisions, making T-bone accidents all the more dangerous. Many driving behaviors, roadway impediments, and vehicle defects can cause or contribute to T-bone car accidents. Some of the most common causes of these roadway crashes include:

  1. Failure to yield the right of way at an intersection
  2. Pulling out of a driveway without being able to see oncoming vehicles in the flow of traffic
  3. Driving recklessly, including making sudden lane changes and speeding
  4. Defective automotive component parts
  5. Road conditions and/or weather conditions
  6. Broken or missing traffic signs and signals
  7. Drunk driving or otherwise driving under the influence

Common Car Accident Injuries

T-bone accident victims often suffer more serious injuries because unlike other types of collisions, in these crashes, drivers and passengers are only separated from the colliding vehicle by a thin door and window. Windows can shatter due to the direction and force of impact and the metal door can collapse or the side of the vehicle cave in. The protection of most vehicles on the sides is just insufficient to protect a driver or occupant from the force of a side-impact collision. In addition, when a vehicle is struck in this way by one car, it is often pushed into oncoming traffic only to be hit again by additional vehicles.

Common personal injuries sustained in T-bone car accidents include:

  • Head and brain injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Nerve damage and paralysis, including quadriplegia and paraplegia
  • Amputation and limb loss
  • Internal injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones or fractures

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 25% of all car accidents each year involve T-bone car crashes.

Houston Auto Accident Lawyers

Because Texas has a “modified comparative negligence rule” for car accidents, your damages can be reduced by your share of liability or eliminated entirely if the court determines you are 51% or more at fault for the collision. Our attorneys will investigate your crash, collect evidence, interview witnesses, and consult with experts – both traffic and medical – to develop a successful strategy to hold the at-fault party or parties accountable for your injuries and financial losses.

No matter the cause of your car accident, it is always worth speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer about the facts of your situation. Your life could change for the worse within minutes because of a car accident. Our consultations are free and confidential and you are not obligated to work with us in order to obtain advice. You will also owe us nothing unless we are able to recover financial compensation on your behalf. If you or a loved one was the victim of a T-bone collision in an intersection in the Houston area, contact Dax F. Garza, P.C. today.

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