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

Posted on January 17, 2020 in Car Accidents

A T-bone accident refers to a collision between the front of one vehicle and the side of another. T-bone accidents are often catastrophic. A T-bone involves a head-on collision for one driver and a serious side impact for the other driver. Both may sustain life-changing or fatal injuries, including broken bones, brain damage, and internal injuries. California is a fault-based car accident state, requiring a victim to name a defendant before filing an insurance claim. Fault for a T-bone car accident can depend on several factors so speak with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney experienced in T-bone car accidents if you have any questions.

T Bone Accident Fault

The Driver Guilty of Breaking the Law

The most common location for T-bone accidents is at an intersection. If one driver enters the intersection illegally, he or she can crash into another driver who is there lawfully. In this scenario, the driver guilty of breaking the rules of the road would most likely be liable for the collision. If an investigation of the side impact accident found that one driver ran the red light or rolled through the stop sign, for example, that driver could absorb liability for the crash for breaking traffic laws.

The Driver That Turned Left

T-bone collisions often result from left-hand turn accidents. The driver turning left may crash into the side of an oncoming vehicle, or the oncoming vehicle may collide head-on with the side of the vehicle turning left. The vehicle that failed to yield the right-of-way when making a left turn will most likely be responsible for this type of crash, unless the turning driver had the right-of-way and the other driver ran the red light.

In most cases, the driver turning left must yield to oncoming traffic. A driver that tries to jump the gap when an approaching vehicle is too close may cause a T-bone accident. Misjudging the speed or distance of an oncoming vehicle could lead to a left-turn T-bone collision. In some cases, however, the driver proceeding straight through the intersection could be at fault. This may be the case if the turning driver had a green turn signal and the other driver proceeded illegally into the intersection.

Both Drivers

Some T-bone accidents involve the shared fault of both drivers. One driver may have turned left at the wrong time, for example, while the other was guilty of excessive speeding that led him or her into the intersection too quickly. California is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning a victim injured in a T-bone collision can still collect compensation even while bearing partial fault for the accident. The plaintiff would simply receive a smaller compensatory award, reduced by his or her percentage of fault.

Proving Fault for a T-Bone Accident

Establishing liability for a T-bone accident in California takes evidence of one or both drivers’ fault. Even in cases of obvious driver error, the victim may need to collect evidence to show to an insurance company before obtaining compensation. The burden of proof rests with the plaintiff, not the defendant.

  • Police reports. A police report can establish facts such as where the crash occurred, the direction of each vehicle before the crash and preliminary determinations of fault.
  • People who witnessed the T-bone accident can give statements as to what happened and how the collision occurred.
  • Vehicle damage. An analysis of where each car sustained damage can paint a picture of how the crash happened and which driver may be to blame.
  • Crash reconstruction. Crash reconstructionists can create diagrams or computer-generated re-creations of the side impact accident to show a judge or jury which driver broke the rules.

Once the victim establishes the other driver’s fault, he or she must also prove damages. Proof can include pay stubs for lost wages and medical records documenting personal injuries. Demonstrating fault and damages may take help from an attorney after a serious T-bone accident in California. A skilled Los Angeles car accident lawyer with experience handling T-bone accident claims will know precisely how to navigate these cases.