T-Bone Accidents

T-Bone Accident Attorneys

While T-bone auto accidents (also called side-impact or broadside accidents) are relatively rare compared to rear-end or head-on collisions (only about 13 percent of all accidents based on currently available data), they account for a high relative proportion of accident-related deaths (more than half of deaths related to car accidents, according to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).
There are several reasons that T-bone accidents are the most dangerous types of auto accidents, and this section will go into these and help you determine liability if you are involved in one of these accidents.

Where Do T-Bones Happen?

While any auto accident can (in theory) happen anywhere, most T-bone accidents occur in areas where it is legal for traffic to cross in each other’s way – namely, intersections. Intersections are very busy and predominant with cross traffic and cars turning from one direction into another, and often these T-bone auto accidents occur when cars enter an intersection either violating or being ignorant of the rules of the road.

Why are T-bones So Deadly?

While there are a lot of factors that go into T-bone auto accidents and their severity, there is perhaps one common thread among all these accidents that can contribute to the relatively high death toll compared to the other, more common auto accident types.

It has mostly to deal with the area of impact.

And it makes sense when you think about it. With front- or rear-end collisions, there are crumple zones with engine space and the trunk to absorb much of the energy created by a forceful impact of two vehicles. In these types of crashes, injuries to persons in the vehicles are mitigated significantly because the crumple zones absorb so much of the kinetic energy of the impact.

But in a side-impact or T-bone situation, the drivers and/or passengers have only a door and window separating them from the other vehicle. This is not a crumple zone, so there is very little kinetic energy absorbed by the door and window, which means the human bodies closest to the point of impact will end up getting much of the direct kinetic energy, which can mean very significant injuries like broken bones, internal bleeding or even massive head trauma and/or brain injury.

What are Common Reasons for T-bone Crashes?

As stated before, T-bone or side-impact auto accidents generally occur in intersections where there is cross-traffic and one or more drivers violate or ignore the traffic laws or general rules of the road. In that sense, there are several causes for T-bone accidents, and thus liability can be placed on either or both drivers depending on the results of the accident investigation.

One of the more common T-bone situations involves left turns. A car that makes a left turn in an intersection is supposed to yield to oncoming traffic, and is supposed to maintain speed through the turn (no acceleration or deceleration). But often, a car may be speeding through the intersection, or a left-turn driver fails to maintain speed and slows down in the middle of the intersection and is unable to clear the oncoming traffic.

Another reason may be excessive speed or failure to obey traffic signals or signage in an intersection. A T-bone crash may happen if a driver speeds through a red light and hits a car that has the right of way in the intersection. Or if a car speeds excessively and does not have an opportunity to swerve out of the way of another car.
The severity of the injuries depends much on physics – the weight and size of the vehicles in the crash, the restraint systems in use for the passengers and/or driver, the speed of the vehicles and the force of the impact. All of those cannot usually be determined without a thorough accident investigation. This is where having a quality Memphis personal-injury attorney on your side can become a valuable and necessary ally in a complicated auto-accident situation, where liability may not be so clear to determine.

Get the Facts, Know Your Rights

Though a T-bone auto accident looks gruesome and seems to be a clear determiner of liability, do not ever assume that T-bones are any easier to understand than rear end or head-on collisions. Liability cannot easily be determined simply because the front of one car happens to hit the side of another car. Knowing that there are several reasons and causes for a T-bone accident makes it all the more imperative to get a thorough, independent accident investigation completed before making any conclusions.

Once those conclusions are found from the facts and evidence, you still have rights even if you are found to be at-fault in a T-bone auto accident. Even if you are responsible for injuries and damage, you still don’t have to just give into whatever the victims want. You have rights, and you should have the very best representation. You are entitled to that just as much as the victims. Don’t give up your rights. Defend them by contacting us for a free consultation about your auto-accident case. We respect your rights, and will treat you with the dignity you deserve.