Learn what to expect from an average T-bone car accident settlement. If you were side swept by another vehicle or involved in such accident, find a lawyer today.
When a car T-bones or sideswipes your vehicle, the resulting injuries can be severe – even fatal. If you have been in this type of serious car accident, you may speculate about how much compensation you may receive in a lawsuit or insurance claim.
This article details the factors involved in the average T-bone accident settlement. It also discusses what to look for in a T bone accident lawyer, and related matters.
T-Bone Accident Injuries
A side impact or T-bone crash is one of the most serious car accidents. These terrible accidents often come out of the blue. You likely followed the rules like normal on the road. Suddenly, another car runs a stop sign or red light and slams into the side of your vehicle. Injuries in these side impact crashes can be nasty. This is because there is very little impact-absorbing material in a side impact wreck. With a rear end or head on crash, they car itself can absorb more of the forces.
In a side impact crash, the person on the side of the wreck usually has the most serious injuries. But the person on the other side also can be hurt. Some crashes may cause serious injuries because the occupants of the car are thrown against one another. Common T-bone accident injuries include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions and worse
- Neck injuries that may include a herniated disc, spinal cord injury, or whiplash
- Back injuries including spinal cord damage, paralysis, and/or nerve damage
- Chest, pelvic and abdominal injuries
- Broken bones, dislocated joints
- Soft tissue injuries, such as torn tendons, muscles and ligaments
Side impact accidents caused by a tractor trailer can cause particularly horrifying injuries. Consider: A typical tractor trailer weighs up to 80,000 pounds fully loaded. Now imagine that truck slamming into the side of your car with little to protect you except the car door. That type of terrifying scenario makes clear why T-bone accidents kill more than 10,000 people per year in the US, many of them caused by big rigs.
T-Bone Accident Causes
There are many common reasons why cars and trucks may T-bone another vehicle:
- Did not yield: At an intersection where there is a four-way stop, all drivers must stop. Some drivers do not, which can lead to a serious side impact wreck.
- Ran red light: Too many drivers speed up as a light is going red instead of stopping as the law requires.
- Turned across lanes: In heavy traffic areas, it is common for drivers to turn across traffic when it is dangerous to do so. Trying to beat oncoming traffic on a left turn is rarely worth it and dangerous.
- Failed to properly assess oncoming traffic: Drivers usually look in both directions before they turn right on red. This is often not enough. Drivers have to look very carefully before merging into traffic.
- Reckless driving: Sometimes people simply drive too fast for conditions and cause a T-bone wreck.
- Drunk driving: DWI kills thousands of people per year in America, and many are impacts from the side.
- Distracted driving: Too many people run stop signs and red lights because they are distracted by their smart phones.
- Bad weather: Rain, snow and fog can make it harder for drivers to stop. But drivers are required to slow down when weather conditions degrade.
In many cases, side impact accidents are caused by the driver of one vehicle not yielding to the other at an intersection. Thus, the driver who did not yield is often at fault. But not every one of these cases is so clear.
How to Prove Negligence in a Car Accident
Determining who is at fault for a side-impact crash can be complex. If the police determine that the person who T-boned your vehicle is to blame, you could be able to make a personal injury claim for your economic and non-economic damages. Some of these accident injuries might include lost wages, medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering.
As the plaintiff, it is your job to collect evidence to show that negligence by the other driver caused your accident injuries. To prove that the driver caused your T-bone accident injuries, you must show the following to the insurance adjuster or judge:
- The driver who struck you had a legal duty of care to drive in a safe manner
- His negligence in hitting your car from the side violated the duty of care
- The breach of the duty of care was a proximate and direct cause of both the accident and your injuries
All courts in the United States today recognize the duty of car that drivers have. This simply means that each of us must drive in a safe manner and look out for the safety of other drivers. If the driver does not drive safely and causes an accident and injuries, he can be held liable.
To prove liability, the following evidence is extremely persuasive:
- Photographs of the accident scene, vehicle position and injuries
- Police report stating that the other driver caused the accident
- Medical records that detail your T-bone accident injuries
- Statements from witnesses
Note that depending upon the state in which the accident occurred, you may bear partial responsibility for the accident. This could conceivably reduce the compensation you receive in a legal claim.
Average T-bone Accident Settlement
How much your accident settlement will be is difficult to predict; accident injuries vary so widely. There is no precise formula that can calculate your possible settlement. One of the key areas that insurance companies examine when determining how much to pay you is what they call ‘special’ damages. These damages include the financial losses that you incur due to the crash, such as lost wages and medical bills.
The goal of the insurance company is to determine roughly what a jury would give you if the side impact accident went to trial. One of the most important parts of determining the final payout for the accident settlement is to put a number to your pain and suffering from the crash. As noted earlier, side impact injuries can be very serious, and pain and suffering can be substantial in these cases.
Below are some real T-bone crash settlements and verdicts from across the US in recent years:
- $230,000: Woman was hit in a broadside accident at a busy intersection in California. Suffered herniated disc that necessitated spinal fusion surgery.
- $186,000: Man with a pre-existing lumbar fusion was hit in a low speed, side impact wreck. Suffered neck and low back injuries.
- $150,000: Man was hit from the side by a garbage truck, killing him instantly. Policy limits reached in wrongful death lawsuit.
- $520,000: Husband and wife were sideswiped. Husband had neck injuries, and wife suffered back injuries. At-fault driver was drunk and fled the scene.
Consult a Side-Impact Crash Attorney
Every car accident will involve different scenarios, people and vehicles. Recovering as much money as possible for your accident injuries means that liability has to be proven. To enhance your odds of receiving a high level of compensation, it is important to select an experienced and proven personal injury attorney in your state. You can do this by following these tips:
- Choose an attorney who goes to trial often. Many attorneys who do personal injury law usually settle out of court. It is true that most cases do not go to trial. But in a T-bone accident case with serious injuries, it is important to have an attorney in your corner who goes to trial often, and wins. The insurance company will know if your attorney is good in the court room. This can help to get the case settled for a higher amount.
- Choose a lawyer with a history of large settlements and verdicts. If you have a serious head and neck injury from your accident, you are facing large medical bills and months out of work. It is important to have an attorney who has a demonstrated record of success.
- Get an attorney with resources. Does the attorney have the cash and line of credit to prepare your case? Most good personal injury attorneys front most of the costs of the case and get paid on the back end. Expenses in a major personal injury case can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- Find a lawyer who belongs to the State and National Trial Lawyer Groups. Serious attorneys in personal injury law talk to and network with other attorneys. Your attorney should be up to date with the latest techniques and tricks in the legal field. Belonging to these groups is a good way for an attorney to stay on top of the field.
- Find an attorney who has many good testimonials. Your lawyer should have many past clients that you can talk to. They should be able to provide proof that the lawyer can produce when it counts.
If you keep in mind all of the above information, you should be better prepared if the worst happens and you are in a T-bone car accident.