Do I Need to Call a Lawyer After a Truck T-bone Accident?
April 19, 2022 | Truck Accidents
Some of the most catastrophic and harrowing accidents on the road are T-Bone accidents, also known as side-impact accidents. These accidents happen when one vehicle collides with another on the broadside. This impact causes a T shape between the two vehicles.
You will often see these accidents at intersections or four-way stops, but they can happen in several areas. These accidents leave victims with catastrophic and lifelong injuries. You will often see victims in the struck vehicle sustain the most injuries due to the brunt of the force. This ratio occurs more often when the parties are a truck and a passenger vehicle.
The vehicle that strikes the other vehicle can have its occupants sustain injuries, but they are often not as severe as the other vehicle’s occupants. When one vehicle is larger than the other, the outcome can be different for all parties involved. These accidents are especially traumatic when a truck is involved. If you suffered injuries in a Truck t-bone accident, you must call a truck accident lawyer to discuss your options.
What causes truck T-bone accidents?
Since these accidents are so severe, you will assume that they do not happen often. The reality is that they can when there is a negligent party involved. As we mentioned, these kinds of accidents most often occur at intersections or four-way stops.
While negligence is nearly always the cause, there are specific ways these accidents occur. These accidents usually happen when a driver does not yield the right of way, takes a red light, or takes a stop sign. Truck drivers are at least prone to making rolling stops, leading to broadside accidents.
Other causes, however, include:
- Inclement weather: Weather can significantly impact driving habits, and drivers need to adjust to the weather conditions when inclement weather causes roads to be slippery and lowers visibility. If a driver does not adjust to the weather, the truck can slide through an intersection and strike another vehicle.
- Faulty braking and steering parts: Vehicle maintenance is essential for ensuring the safety of everyone on the road. For trucks, this is especially important since they travel longer distances and for more extended periods. They need to undergo proper maintenance, especially when the braking and steering system. Another possibility is that a truck parts manufacturer sends out a faulty part which causes an accident. The brakes can go out on a trucker during a turn and make them unable to maneuver.
- Improper left turns: Anytime a driver makes a left turn, the driver should do so when a green arrow or other indicators grants the right of way to that driver. Trucks can avoid hazards more slowly than smaller vehicles, and if truckers miscalculate oncoming traffic, they can cause a sideswipe accident.
- Blind intersections: Visibility is essential, and when a driver cannot see oncoming traffic, they may proceed into an intersection simultaneously with other vehicles. This confusion can happen if there is no signage outlining the right of way or objects are blocking the view.
Distracted or fatigued driving can also cause truck T-bone accidents. Alcohol impairment can also play a role in these accidents and any other condition that might impair a driver’s ability to focus on the road. When a driver acts negligently, you need to call a lawyer to discuss your options.
What happens during a truck versus passenger vehicle T-bone accident?
As we mentioned, these accidents are among the most dangerous. These accidents are so severe because of the size of a commercial truck compared to a passenger vehicle. A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds compared to the average passenger vehicle, weighing 3,400 pounds.
While the weight and size of the two vehicles can play a pivotal role in the severity of these accidents, there are other factors to consider. The sides of a passenger vehicle often offer less protection since this is where the doors and windows are. If there are passengers in the direct path of the impact, they will sustain the brunt force of the impact and the most traumatic injuries.
Another, often fatal, way these accidents go is the commercial truck completely running over the passenger vehicle during a broadside accident. As you might imagine, there are few survivors after these incidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that 9 percent of fatal truck accidents happened on the left side during a broadside accident.
Common injuries from T-Bone accidents
Since these accidents are often so, severe injuries sustained are life-altering. Many times these accidents result in fatalities.
Some injuries that victims may sustain include:
- Deep lacerations
- Broken bones: These injuries occur in nearly any type of accident. They will often require the victim to wear a cast for several months. Surgery may be necessary for these injuries, as well as physical therapy.
- Traumatic brain injuries: When you strike your head, whether from hitting the window or the dashboard or something hitting you, it can cause an extreme jolt to your brain. You may then have a traumatic brain injury that can affect your cognitive function for years to come.
- Crush injuries: If a passenger vehicle becomes stuck under a truck, this can result in crushed limbs. Doctors may need to amputate a crushed or otherwise severely injured limb to save your life. This decision is difficult for victims as they will have to relearn how to accomplish even the most menial task, which they once did as second nature.
- Spinal cord injuries: When the spinal cord undergoes extreme trauma, this can result in the victim becoming paralyzed. A person can suffer paralysis on one limb or several. It will vary depending on where the spinal cord injury occurred.
- Neck and back injuries: Because these accidents involve extreme force, victims can sustain severe neck and back injuries. This injury is most often herniated discs or fractures.
While some of these injuries can take months or years to heal, others result in permanent disability. All injuries will require hospitalizations, therapy, medication, and specialist visits. You will need the help of a lawyer to file a claim for your injuries and subsequent medical treatments.
Determining liability in t-bone accidents
When you are involved in a truck T-bone accident, you must call a lawyer to obtain compensation for your injuries and damages. To do so, you or your attorney must determine and prove liability.
A lawyer will need to prove:
- The truck driver owed you a duty of care. This duty can be as simple as the truck driver was supposed to stop at a red light and did not.
- Next, the truck driver breached their duty of care. Using the stop sign as an example, the truck driver may have completed a rolling stop instead of a complete stop when approaching the stop sign.
- Lastly, your lawyer will need to prove that the breach of duty caused the accident, which led to you sustaining injuries.
While you must prove these elements in a T-bone accident, it is also essential to determine who is the liable party. While many accident victims assume that the only party that can be held liable for an accident is the truck driver, other parties may also be liable for your accident and injury.
The truck company is another party that can be held liable for a broadside accident. The trucking company is the one that hires the driver, provides training, and essentially becomes responsible for the actions of the driver. They are also responsible for the driver’s schedule and load. If the schedule does not allow the driver to take adequate breaks or is too intense, the truck company can cause a driver to be overworked and act recklessly.
We mentioned that truck maintenance is essential. Therefore, any entity responsible for maintaining the truck can be liable if an accident occurs. Many times trucking companies will hire a third party to conduct regular truck maintenance. In other cases, the truck company or the trucker may be the ones who maintain the truck themselves.
Since there are various truck parts, various manufacturers are in charge of providing working parts. The manufacturer can be liable if they send defective brakes installed on the truck leading to an accident. In a product liability claim stemming from a truck accident, you can hold the part manufacturer responsible with the truck company, the truck driver, and other parties.
The last possible liable party for a truck accident is government agencies. It is difficult to hold these parties liable for an accident, so you need to call a lawyer as soon as possible following an accident.
Determining who the liable party is is arduous and should be the attorney’s job. Liability will be critical to obtaining compensation for your injuries and damages. It is important to note that multiple parties can be held liable in a T-bone truck accident. There are no limits to how many defendants you can name in a truck accident claim, so long as you can prove each defendant played a role in the crash.
Securing damages from a T-bone accident
Once you or your attorney establish fault, cause, and liability, the next step will be to secure compensation for your injuries. There are various kinds of compensation you may be entitled to after a side-impact accident.
A lawyer can seek the following compensation on your behalf:
- Medical bills: You should include any medical bills you may have incurred due to the accident. These expenses also include out-of-pocket costs as well as estimated future medical treatment.
- Lost income: After an accident, you will likely be unable to work, whether for a short period or indefinitely. You may be entitled to obtain compensation for time off of work. If you have a reduced r earning capacity, you may be entitled to compensation for future lost income.
- Property damage: Any property damaged in the accident, such as your vehicle and personal belongings, can be recoverable through a personal injury claim.
- Pain and suffering: A lawyer can help you obtain compensation for any emotional or physical distress and pain you suffered from the accident. Keep in mind this type of compensation is difficult to obtain.
- Wrongful death: If a loved one has passed away from one of these tragic accidents, the surviving family may be entitled to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim.
Your settlement will vary depending on the factors of your case. The more severe your injuries and damages, the higher your settlement. While there is no dollar amount we can estimate, we can give you an idea of what compensation may look like for these accidents after looking at your case.
Call a lawyer after suffering an injury in a truck T-bone accident
There are several steps you will need to take after a truck accident. Of course, the priority and focus should be getting medical attention for anyone involved in the side-impact accident. You will need to contact emergency services to secure the scene and provide medical attention.
When you call the police, they will also file a report which you will need to file a claim down the line. If you can, you should take photos and videos of the scene or have someone else do it for you. Again if it is safe to do so, gather any information from witnesses and others involved in the accident.
You should follow all doctor’s orders and call a lawyer immediately. Do not speak to insurance companies or make a recorded statement, as they will try and use this to deny your claim.
Having a truck accident lawyer on your team will help to ensure that you are not taken advantage of by the truck driver’s insurance company and secure the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages. Call a lawyer after a truck t-bone accident to discuss your legal options as soon as possible.