Lawsuit Info Center / Car Accident Lawsuits / T-Bone Car Accident Settlements Guide

T-Bone Car Accident Settlements Guide

A car accident can be an overwhelming experience. This is especially true when you are T-boned from the side, and you’re sitting where the collision occurred. When you are involved in a T-bone car accident (also known as side impact), the resulting injuries can be severe — even fatal. If you have been injured in a T-bone Accident, you may wonder how much compensation you are legally entitled to if you were injured.

We explain some of the common injuries suffered in T-bone car accidents, the factors involved in the average T-bone car accident settlement, and settlement examples involving side-impact crashes.

Understanding Settlement Valuation

There are several parts that go into the determination of a T-bone car accident settlement. Knowing how they will affect a T-bone accident settlement will help you to get the most out of your claim and help ensure that what you are receiving is fair and reasonable.

Severity of Your Injury

The type of injury and severity will affect the average payout for a T-bone accident. Due to the side impact that occurs in this type of collision, a wide range of injuries can result. When the injury is more serious, the average settlement compensation will increase. Settlements for a traumatic brain injury can be well over a million dollars, while broken bones or soft tissue injuries will get significantly less compensation.

Economic Damages

The economic impact of the accident will affect the average payout for a T-bone accident. The more medical bills you have, lost wages, and the effect of the accident on your quality of life, the likelier it is that you’ll be offered a higher settlement amount.

Determining Who’s At Fault

Because T-bone crashes can lead to severe injuries, it is important to determine if the other driver was at fault so you can receive proper compensation in a T-bone car accident settlement.

Types of T-Bone Car Accident Injuries

T-bone car accidents can cause various injuries with highly variable recovery times, directly affecting the average payout for a T-bone car accident settlement. The most frequent types of car accident injuries also have different pay rates.

When you are hit broadside, the door protecting you is a relatively thin piece of metal absorbing the kinetic energy of another vehicle. When you’re hit from the front or rear, there are many layers cushioning you from the impact. The injuries are likely much more devastating with only the door for protection.

T-Bone car accidents also cause more injuries due to the high rate of occurrence of secondary collisions after initial impact. The violence of these crashes is why approximately 3,662 Americans were killed in T-bone car accidents in 2021. When you are T-boned, vehicles are knocked off course and have a second collision. The T-boned vehicle is pushed violently sideways, and the impact can send the car wildly off the road or into oncoming traffic. The force of the crash may spin one vehicle into another car’s direct path or into roadside barriers or telephone poles. Once a car has deviated from its intended path, the likelihood of suffering severe injury increases, and this means that the average settlement for T-bone car accidents is higher than for other types of accidents.

Injuries Common in T-Bone Car Accidents

When a car is T-boned, it is almost always true that an individual on the side of the car where the impact happens will have more severe injuries, especially since the side of a vehicle will not absorb the impact of the crash entirely. More force will be transferred to the occupants.

Different injuries will lead to different ranges of average T-bone car accident settlements being awarded. With side-impact collisions, the average settlement for a T-bone car accident depends on the injuries’ severity.

Some common injuries include:

Traumatic brain injuries and concussions. These conditions are caused by a force so strong it moves the brain within the skull. These are a leading cause of permanent disability and death in the United States. The permanent, lasting effects of these injuries yield higher payouts. In California, the median payout is $1,595,000. Elsewhere, the average is between $700,000 and $1.2 million.

Herniated Discs, also known as slipped or bulging discs, occur due to the force of the T-bone car accident. This can cause a nerve to be pinched, causing pain to radiate down your limbs. These can be mild or more severe, causing life-long pain. Settlements average $140,000, though 7% of verdicts are over $1 million.

Vertebral Fractures can be devastating. They can cause pain, are the main cause of spinal cord injuries, and even lead to paralysis. These will have a lasting effect, causing the payout for a T-bone settlement to be higher. For a single fractured vertebra, the average payout is $112,500, and it jumps to $207,000 for multiple fractures. 7.5% of settlements involving these fractures are over $2.5 million.

Internal bleeding and organ rupture are common when the body absorbs the force of a traffic accident. This type of trauma leads to serious complications and lifelong problems. These types of injuries will get you settlements similar to herniated discs.

Bone fractures and dislocated joints are also common in T-bone car accidents. Luckily, these types of injuries are less devastating regarding lasting impacts. If you are treated properly, the chance of continuing issues is low, as are the payouts. Usually, T-bone settlements for bone fractures are between $15,000 and $100,000.

Car Accident Settlement

Real Examples of T-Bone Settlements

Below are some real T-bone car accident settlements and verdicts from across the US we’ve seen in recent years:

$230,000 T-Bone Accident Settlement: A woman was hit in a broadside accident at a busy intersection in California. She suffered a herniated disc that necessitated spinal fusion surgery.

$186,000 T-Bone Accident Settlement: A man with a pre-existing lumbar fusion was hit in a low-speed, side-impact wreck. He suffered neck and lower back injuries.

$150,000 T-Bone Accident Wrongful Death Settlement: A man was hit from the side by a garbage truck, killing him instantly. Policy limits reached in wrongful death lawsuits.

How much your car accident settlement will be is difficult to predict; accident injuries vary widely. There is no precise formula that can calculate your possible settlement. Insurance companies will consider all the different components of the accident, including “special damages” that account for financial losses due to the accident.

Proving Fault in T-Bone Accidents

Sometimes, liability is quite evident based on how the crash happened. One driver may have run a red light and slammed into your car’s side. But in other situations, the driver may claim they had the right of way, and you are liable for the accident.

The driver at fault for these accidents cannot always be determined by which driver t-boned the other. Instead, liability in these accidents hinges on which car had the right of way or the right to move forward on the roadway. The car that did not have the right of way will be assigned fault in a T-bone collision, and in certain instances, the fault can be shared by both drivers.

Common Causes of T-Bone Accidents

When certain traffic conditions are met, drivers are more likely to have side-impact accidents. Whether those conditions are inside or outside of the car, when a distraction takes enough of a driver’s attention from the road, side-impact collisions increase.

Here are the most common causes of T-bone accidents:

● Failure to stop or yield the right of way
● Drunk driving
● Cell phone use
● Running a red light
● Turning across oncoming traffic

Any of these distractions will need to be proven; for that, you need to collect evidence proving another driver’s negligence or carelessness.

Proving Fault Starts at the Accident Scene

When you have just been T-boned and are still at the accident site what comes next will be the same as for other car crashes.

First, call the police. They will come to the scene, do a preliminary accident investigation, and write a police report, which will likely determine who was at fault early.

You will also want to find any eyewitnesses, obtain contact information from them, and take photos of the scene. Pictures should show the immediate aftermath before vehicles are moved and any other damages besides those to the involved vehicles.

Evidence to Prove Fault in a T-Bone Accident:

Any evidence you can collect to show that you are not at fault for the collision will prove your case. Gathering evidence is one of the main reasons you may hire an attorney, but you can also gather evidence yourself, like eyewitness information and crash pictures. With or without an attorney, you need specific evidence to prove fault for a T-bone accident. You should try to get the following:

● Police report
● Traffic light programming
● Eyewitness statements
● Traffic camera footage
● Surveillance video footage from any nearby cameras
● Physical evidence from vehicles
● Electronic data from vehicles
● Expert witness testimony

Things like traffic programming and footage are resources that a lawyer might be most capable of getting, and can be pertinent to the case. Traffic light programming can show you if a light was red or green based on the time of the accident and can earn you more for your T-bone accident settlement by supporting your recollection of the events.



Documenting Your Case

In addition to police reports and witness statements, you must keep careful records and document anything relevant for your T-bone accident settlement. This includes:

● Medical diagnoses and treatments
● Medical bills
● Projections of future medical treatment needed
● Car expenses (including towing, rental cars, uber rides, etc.
● Loss of income directly following the accident
● Future wages lost due to loss of capacity
● Property damages
● Photos of anything from the accident

You also should consider keeping a list of all daily activities impacted by the accident. If you can no longer fly on a plane or can no longer join the cycling club on Saturdays for the 12-mile weekend ride, document all of this. This shows that the accident affected your quality of life negatively and can increase the average payout for your T-bone accident. Also, suppose your injury has affected your ability to be the spouse you once were. In that case, this is considered a loss of consortium and can increase the T-bone accident settlement amount by up to 500% .

Getting a Fair Settlement

To ensure you get a fair T-bone accident settlement for your injuries and damages, you need to have certain facts ready to present to the opposing party or insurance company.

● Proof that the other driver was at fault: This can include pictures, traffic cameras, witness statements, and police reports.
● Documentation of economic losses: A big part of the T-bone accident settlement will be reimbursement for your medical expenses, loss of income, andproperty damages.
● Your documentation of accident impact: .This is where you include loss of consortium, impact on quality of life, and pain and suffering. Detailed proof showing impact can greatly increase the T-bone accident settlement.
● A consultation with a personal injury attorney: A free consultation can be enlightening even if you intend to settle the claim without hiring a lawyer. It can give you an idea of how strong your case is and may give you some ideas on what to include in your T-bone accident settlement demand.

Negotiating with Insurance Companies

The insurance company aims to determine what a jury would give you if the side impact accident went to trial. One of the most important parts of determining the final compensation for your car accident settlement is to put a number to your pain and suffering from the crash. As noted earlier, side impact injuries can be severe, and pain and suffering can be substantial in these cases.

This is also true in a T-bone collision where both drivers share the blame for the accident. You still may be able to recover damages, depending on the state. California, for example, has a ‘comparative fault’ law where the at-fault driver can still obtain damages even if they were partially to blame for the accident. However, the damages received may be reduced based on that person’s level of fault.

Starting the negotiation process involves sending a demand letter to the other party’s insurance company. You need to send a letter with a summary of the accident, a list of expenses, and economic losses directly caused by the accident. You need to include the non-economic losses along with the economic losses like lost wages and medical bills. These are circumstances like loss of consortium and pain and suffering, and you need to outline the amounts you believe you’re entitled to in your letter.

Finally, you need to include an overall amount you believe you should be paid based on the facts you have included in the letter. Making a reasonable claim can end up with pleasantly surprising results, as most insurance companies do not want to go to trial. If the company offers you an unreasonable settlement or a settlement that is simply not enough, you should consider contacting a lawyer and taking the matter to trial.

When to Consider an Attorney

When you feel overwhelmed by the process or find negotiations are not going well, hiring an attorney is a smart next move. Many offer free consultations so that you can make the best choice for your circumstances, and many also work on contingencies. A contingency means that they don’t get paid until the case is settled, and then they will take an agreed-upon amount of the final T-bone car accident settlement.

Some tips for choosing a lawyer after a T Bone Car Accident:

Choose an attorney who goes to trial often. The insurance company will know if your attorney is good in the courtroom. Having a lawyer with a history of winning in court means they are familiar with the process and are less likely to accept an unfair out-of-court settlement.

Choose a lawyer with a history of large auto accident settlements and verdicts. If you have a serious 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. You want an attorney who is capable of handling the costs of fighting your case, especially if they are working on contingencies. Having more resources also means the lawyer will have the connections and the ability to find the right experts to prove your case.

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 in 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.


When you are in a T-bone accident, seeking a payout for the extensive injuries you may have suffered is important. You want to ensure you follow the right steps and make the best choices for your case to provide an adequate T-bone accident settlement. Make sure you are documenting and collecting evidence as soon as the accident ends. Pictures and eyewitness statements are a key component in your case. Don’t forget to keep the proof of economic impact and write down the non-economic impact to show the full scope of the accident’s impact. Understand the negotiation process and know when to talk to or hire a lawyer to help.

Following the right path after the accident can make the settlement process much less stressful. It will also help you to receive the best possible outcome for your T-bone accident settlement. The fact is that no matter what your circumstances, an average payout for a T-bone car accident is widely variable. Factors like your location, the severity of injuries, and who was found at fault will affect your settlement. For example, the average payout in Louisiana is between $20,000 and $34,000, while the average in California falls between $20,000 and $100,000. Most settlements fall somewhere in this range, and the stronger the case, the higher the payout.

Frequently Asked Questions about car accident settlements

T-Bone Car Accident Settlements

If you have serious injuries that greatly affect your life for weeks and months, such as broken bones, head fracture and or internal injuries, you should be entitled to a serious settlement for a T-bone accident. If you have serious injuries, and the insurance company only uses a ‘2’ multiplier to determine your pain and suffering, you are being low balled. Bring in a good personal injury attorney to get you the pain and suffering compensation to which you are entitled.

A T-bone accident is one of the most serious types of car crashes. The problem is when a vehicle slams into the side of your at high speed, you have little protection from the resulting forces other than the thin metal and plastic of the door, as well as the side air bags.
In a T-bone accident, the person who is on the side of the crash could have very serious injuries.
How much the settlement can be for a T-bone accident varies so much based on the speed and size of the vehicles involved. One of the areas the auto insurance company will look at when determining what to pay is ‘special damages.’ These are economic damages that include your losses financially were due to the crash, including medical costs and lost wages.
Once it is decided how much you have lost in economic damages, that number will usually be multiplied by a number from 1 to 5 to represent your pain suffering. Depending on that number, your settlement could range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

There are a few different types of car accidents one can get involved in during their lifetime. One such accident is the sideswipe accident. A sideswipe accident occurs when the right side of one vehicle collides with the left side of another vehicle. These accidents can range from minor to severe, with the most severe being when one of the vehicles involved winds up on its side in a rollover. So, when compared to an average car accident settlement, are sideswipe accidents more or less serious?

Side impact collision settlement values vary due to each accident and their unique variables.  In order to get an estimated value on your t-bone collision, the best way to do so is by using our t-bone accident calculator. Generally, there is a simple formula used by adding up all of the following:

  • Property damage to the vehicle
  • Medical bills if injures are present
  • Future medical bills
  • Wages lost due to the absence of work
  • Passenger damages

Once you have determined the value to the damages above you then must apply a multiplier which is generally a number 1-5 that represents the pain and suffering from the injuries sustained due to the accident. If the pain is continuous and extremely severe affecting the victims’ everyday activities, the number will be on the higher scale such as a 4 or 5. If the pain and injuries are less severe and are capable of quick recoveries, the multiplying number will be lower such as a 1 or 2.

Car Accident Settlement

Related Articles

Whiplash Payout Scale for Grades 0-4

Whiplash is common in car accidents, especially rear-end collisions. Your head and neck are forcefully jerked back and forward by the rapid acceleration-deceleration combination, causing injury to the head, neck, and shoulders. Each auto accident is...

About Graham Bersche, JD
A graduate of Trinity Law School in Southern California, Graham Bersche has experience as a paralegal, negotiator, and legal writer. He lives in Los Angeles and is passionate about helping people who’ve been injured in car accidents to understand the laws governing their situations and learn how to maximize their car accident settlements.