A t-bone accident happens when the front of one vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle. It’s also called a side impact accident or broadside accident because of the location of the impact. Most of the time a t-bone car accident is an intersection accident. But they can also happen any time a car crosses a roadway or street. The key is that the cars are going perpendicular to each other.
DETERMINING WHOS AT FAULT IN A T-BONE ACCIDENT
Who’s at fault cannot be determined by who t-boned who. Instead, fault in a t-bone accident depends on which car had the right to be moving forward. This is called the right of way. Both cars cannot have the right of way. Instead, in a t-bone accident, one vehicle had the right of way and the other vehicle violated that right of way.
The car that did not have the right of way will always have fault in a t-bone accident. But the car that did have the right of way may also have some fault for not recognizing what the other driver was doing. Unfortunately, there is rarely evidence at the scene to help figure out which vehicle had the right of way. Who’s at fault in this type of side impact accident will almost always come down to what the drivers and the witnesses say happened. When the drivers both claim they had the right of way, it will come down to who sounds more credible.
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WHOS AT FAULT IN AN INTERSECTION ACCIDENT?
Most t-bone accidents happen at an intersection with a traffic control device. One of the vehicles involved thinks they have the right of way when they don’t. As a result, that vehicles moves across the intersection into oncoming traffic. The most common t-bone intersection accidents are:
Left Turn Accidents
A left turn t-bone accident that happens at an intersection can be either drivers fault. Sometimes the driver making the left turn thinks a red light has turned green when it is really red. When the driver makes the left turn, it may do so in front of a vehicle going the opposite direction that actually has the green light. Other times, the reverse happens. The car making the left turn does have the green light and has the right of way to make the turn. However, the car traveling in the opposite direction thinks the light is green for them when it is actually red. Either way the impacts is usually severe because one or both of the cars will be traveling at a very fast speed.
Running a Red light
In this type of t-bone accident, the drivers are driving perpendicular to each other. They are destined to cross each other’s paths. They both think they have the green light and therefore they both think they have the right of way. As a result, both cars will usually be traveling at the full speed limit for the road. Whichever car did that actually had the red light will be at fault.
Running a Stop Sign
A t-bone collision can happen at a four way stop but they are not as likely. This is because one or both cars came to a complete stop before entering the intersection. This gives the drivers enough time to recognize what is about to happen and stop in time.
The most common type of t-bone collision involves one car having a stop sign while the other car has no traffic control device. In this type of t-bone crash its easy to determine who is at fault. The driver that had the stop sign will always have fault because that driver did not have the right of way.
WHOS AT FAULT IN A T-BONE CAR ACCIDENT WHEN THERE IS NO INTERSECTION?
Sometimes a t-bone accident can happen when there is no intersection at all. The vehicle crossing the roadway will always have fault in this type of accident because they do not have the right of way.
Leaving a Parking Lot
When a car is leaving a parking lot that does not have a traffic control device, the driver of the that car has an obligation to ensure the traffic is clear in both directions before crossing the street. When the driver does not see a car coming, they may pull out to cross the street and cause a t-bone accident.
Making a U-turn Across Traffic
Making a u-turn is not always a safe thing to do. If the driver making the u-turn fails to recognize a car coming the opposite direction they may pull into traffic and get hit on the side. The driver making the turn will have fault in this situation.
WHEN WILL THE CAR THAT HAS THE RIGHT OF WAY HAVE SOME FAULT IN A T-BONE ACCIDENT?
The car that does not have the right of way will have fault in causing the t-bone accident. But the car that had the right of way can also have some fault as well. That’s because the car with the right of way has a duty to pay attention to the road ahead and anticipate that a driver may cut across traffic. Common ways a car with the right of way may have some fault in a t-bone accident are:
- When a car crosses many lanes of travel before the t-bone occurs. In this situation the car that has the right of way may have some fault because there was enough time to see the other car travel across so many lanes of travel.
- Failing to have headlights on when it is dark outside. This can cause a vehicle to turn in front of the vehicle without lights because they are hard to see.
- Driving while distracted by the radio, texting or talking on the phone
- Drunk driving or driving while high on drugs
- Brake failure because the vehicle was not properly maintained
WHEN WILL THIRD PARTIES HAVE SOME FAULT IN A T-BONE CAR ACCIDENT?
Sometimes it’s not just the drivers involved in the crash that have fault in a t-bone accident. For example, a repair shop may not do a good job at fixing one of the cars brakes. Other times a repair shop may not do a good job in repairing a cars headlights. If this happens the repair shop may have some fault in what happened.
Malfunctioning traffic control devices may also play a role in a t-bone accident. Sometimes the lights totally shut down and give no signal at all. If this happens drivers might not realize they are about to enter an intersection. In this circumstance the crash may be the fault of the traffic control device and one or both drivers.
Sometimes it may not be either drivers’ fault. This can happen when the traffic control device malfunctions. This can happen when the traffic control device gives both drivers a green light. It can also happen when a traffic control device gives on driver a turn signal and the crossing driver a green light. While it is possible for these things to happen it is very unlikely.