Daily, car accidents occur in San Diego, California. There are many causes of accidents, some leading back to negligence, while others are a result of a miscalculation on the road. T-bone accidents are one of the many vehicle accidents that affect drivers on roads. They make up a considerable percentage of recorded accident statistics in California. The high number of recorded incidents is due to their nature. They are bound to happen where the road leads to an intersection.

T-bone accidents can cause a lot of destruction and injuries to the victims, depending on nature and events leading to the incident. Despite the devastating circumstances that a victim may encounter after a T-bone accident, he or she should rest assured that his/her personal injury attorney will fight for rightful compensation. When negligence and liability are proven against the defendant, a settlement will then ensue.

The San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm is made up of a brilliant team of attorneys who are experts in handling personal injury cases. We enable our clients to receive the best representation and settlement to claims that they can get. Moreover, we offer legal advice to those who may require alternative methods of resolution that do not involve active litigation.

What are T-bone Accidents

The nature of T-bone accidents involves one car colliding with another on the side. The name results from the appearance of a T-shaped collision arising from that description. They often include two vehicles. However, in extreme cases, the initially involved cars may roll over or move sideways due to the force of impact, creating a domino effect. As a result, a multiple car crash may arise from a single T-bone accident.

Usually, vehicle manufacturers fit airbags on the front dashboards of cars. Newer car models may also have airbags on the side doors to protect passengers from impact in case of a T-bone accident. Nevertheless, protecting is not always adequate, as not all car doors can fit the airbags. Therefore, the force from the side of a T-bone accident is horrible. It is likely to injure any passengers inside the car seriously.

Causes of T-bone Accidents

Similar to other road accidents, drivers may be at fault by failing to remain keen on the road. Moreover, some accidents occur because of negligent actions that a motorist may involve himself or herself in. Common causes of T-bone accidents are:

  1. Failure to Yield to Right of Way

Most drivers comply with road regulations that require one to give way to a driver who has the right to pass before the other. However, some drivers may ignore these stipulated regulations and force their way into a different highway or lane, creating a risk of T-bone accidents occurring. These kinds of motorists usually practice aggressive driving, a practice that is prohibited on the road. Their justifications are that they are in a hurry or trying to attend to a probing emergency.

Whenever a driver fails to give way to another, the risk of an accident happening alleviates. For example, a driver with the right of way may assume that no other motorist will interfere, and may, therefore, proceed into another lane without apprehension. Should the negligent driver who ignores the obligation to give way also continue, the two vehicles may run into each other and cause a horrible T-bone accident.

  1. Left Turn Accidents

Similarly, when a driver makes a left turn and any other turn for that matter, he or she should confirm that there is no incoming vehicle. The confirmation is to prevent the incoming car from foreseeably colliding with his/hers and cause a T-bone accident. A driver should practice extra caution when making left turns because the vehicles from the left always have the right of way. In California, cars drive on the right and can only pass on the left. Owing to this guideline, drivers who do not give way when making left turns are endangering themselves as well as other road users.

  1. Distracted Driving

A motorist is prone to several distractions when on the road. The most common distracting factor is the phone. There have been numerous cases of accidents arising from a driver who failed to notice an oncoming vehicle because he or she was looking at the phone screen instead of focusing on the road. Such drivers indulge in texting, which tasks them with giving divided attention to vehicle coordination. Besides texting, a phone call may fully indulge a driver and prevent him/her from consciously controlling the car. For example, when someone receives shocking or saddening news, he or she may indulge in endless thoughts and could be detached from reality for a while. In the meantime, such a driver may end up losing concentration and find themselves caught up in a T-bone accident.

On top of phone distractions, sleep is also a conventional concentration deterrent for motorists. When you feel drowsy, you could quickly doze off and lose focus on the road. Some incidents may also include a driver who sleeps and exerts continuous pressure on the gas pedal, causing the vehicle to veer off into another. The result is an accident, which may end up categorized as a T-bone accident if the requirements are met.

Conversely, you could be on the receiving end of the accident if you are slightly distracted. When your mind is not actively working to detect any possible risks on the road, your reaction time to an oncoming vehicle may be slow. Once you are unable to brake or swerve away from another car promptly, you are likely to get involved in an accident. An excellent example is whereby you may be drowsy and fail to notice a vehicle approaching yours from the side. Although the accident that results is not your fault, you will still suffer significant loss and injuries that may arise from such a T-bone accident. It is advisable always to remain alert to prevent any avoidable inconveniences from occurring.

  1. Running Red Lights

There is an absolute risk of failing to stop when lights indicate that you ought to do so. Typically, traffic lights operate in a systematic way that allows vehicles to proceed into the intersection while halting others for a while. The aim is to prevent congestion and confusion that may be caused by all cars competing to transverse the intersection box and proceed to join the next highway.

Regardless of prompt and automated traffic lights, some motorists still fail to observe them and create the very same hazards that the lights serve to eradicate. As in the case of failure to give way when required, drivers who run red lights usually interfere with the right of other drivers to access the intersection and safely proceed to join different routes. A T-bone accident is highly foreseeable in such a scenario because car brakes may fail, or a driver may be unable to avert the danger promptly. You are likely to be the innocent motorist who inevitably gets involved in such an accident, and will thus be justified in seeking your compensation for the damages and losses caused.

  1. Unmarked Intersections

In some road sections, traffic lights may malfunction or fail to operate altogether. Therefore, drivers will rely on properly demarcated intersections that have lines to guide them on where to stop and give way to other motorists. When the intersection point is not marked or has faded boundaries that are not easily visible, you may fail to establish a proper position to stop and proceed as you wait for other vehicles to pass.

If you happen to stop too far ahead of the required space, an oncoming car may hit yours from the side, which will be a T-bone accident. The vehicle that collided with yours may be significantly larger and heavier than yours, as may be the case involving a truck and a smaller personal car. If the impact of the collision is massive, you and others in the vehicle may suffer significant harm. Most of these accidents also cause a lot of fatalities.

Unmarked intersections also mean that joining lanes are not correctly marked. Therefore, when drivers are entering different paths, they may get involved in a side sweep accident. They are a less severe variation of T-bone accidents, whereby two or more vehicles collide on their sides. Often, these accidents do not cause serious injuries or fatalities. Nevertheless, they do destroy property because of the severe scratches on the car.

Laws Preventing T-bone Accidents

Statutory provisions have set specific guidelines that should prevent cases of T-bone accidents. The California Vehicle Code enshrines all traffic regulations to be followed by drivers within the state, including in San Diego. The highlighted provisions relate to T-bone accidents and focus more on laws that direct drivers to give way. Such regulations are at the epicenter of accident control because most T-bone accidents often occur because of failure to let drivers with the right of way move first.

Section 21800(b)(1) of the vehicle code states that any vehicle on a terminating highway is required to yield the right of way to any vehicle that may be intersecting the continuing road. Typically, these are the vehicles approaching from the left.

Further, (d)(1) of the same section incorporates the rules to guide drivers approaching intersections that have inoperative traffic signs/lights. In such a scenario, the driver should stop at the intersection and confirm that the way is clear. After that,, he or she may proceed into the intersection with caution if it is safe to do so.

Section 21801 describes what a driver should ensure to do when taking a U-turn. If he or she needs to make the U-turn, he/she should provide the right of way to oncoming vehicles and only proceed if it is safe. Some T-bone accidents have occurred because of rushed entry into the required lane, as the approaching vehicle maintains its speed and, therefore, collides.

Moreover, section 21804 gives the provisions to govern vehicles entering or crossing a highway from personal property or alleys. Private property includes home driveways or any other premises. If you are emerging from such a driveway or service lane into the main highway, you should ensure you give way to the cars that are already moving on the main road. A sudden entry would easily cause a T-bone accident, and you will probably be the one on the receiving end as your vehicle will be hit on the side.

There are many other regulations in the California Vehicle Code, with the relevant ones covered from section 21800 to 21807. They were incorporated in the code to ensure that motorists follow them and, therefore, avoid accident risks. Thus, when a defendant is found liable for defying these rules, he or she will face penalties in court. On top of that, he/she has to compensate the aggrieved parties. They require compensation for the loss suffered from the accident caused by negligence.

Injuries Sustained From T-bone Accidents

Most T-bone accidents affect passengers and drivers significantly because of the high exposure to impact. It is important to remember that victims suffer more from such accidents because the sides of the cars are not necessarily built to withstand that much force. Consequently, bent car doors and shattered windows give way to the entry of debris or even a section of the vehicle that collides with yours. The injuries sustained are:

  1. Whiplash

Whiplash is a condition that affects the neck and causes pain and discomfort to the victim. It occurs when there is a sudden forward surge that pushes the passengers involuntarily. Due to the sudden movement, the neck bone may disjoint and create a temporary state of a fractured or disjointed neck. A victim of whiplash injury needs to wear a neck brace for a stipulated duration, at the doctor’s discretion. He or she will be uncomfortable during the healing process and may have limited neck movement. As a result, turning the head to move or see obstacles on the way becomes difficult and generally complicates a victim’s lifestyle.

Despite a general perception that whiplash is not a severe injury, many patients have recorded a recurrence of pain. The pain also comes with discomfort on the neck that lasts for a lifetime. For others, the neck never gets back to its normal functioning, and the victim is left to live with the pain that arises from whiplash.

  1. Spinal Cord Injuries

The spine may also suffer injury because of the jerking force that moves the body forwards or sideways. Additionally, a spinal cord injury could be caused by the high impact that your body receives from the colliding vehicle. The result is common, especially if the colliding car was very close to yours, as it exerts more force in this way. Some car parts may protrude into your vehicle and hit your back.

Spinal injuries are often severe to handle, owing to the delicate and complex nature of the spinal cord. Most nerve fibers and endings entwine themselves on the spine, thus making it very sensitive. Nerves are part of the human central nervous system that coordinates all homeostatic bodily functions. The homeostasis in our bodies enables us to adapt to the environment accordingly to survive. For example, when it is cold, the relevant nerves will send signals to allow the body to produce more heat. Having understood the importance of the spinal cord in harboring these nerves, we can establish how devastating a spinal injury is.

Additionally, the spinal cord acts as the backbone that supports our upright posture. It also enables other bones to stay in place. Consequently, a spinal injury may cause paralysis on the victim and leave him or her bound to use a wheelchair for life.

  1. Fractures

Bone fractures from T-bone accidents are inevitable. The injuries result from the impact on the bones from the car rolling over or hitting other objects. Alternatively, the vehicle that collided with yours may entirely penetrate your vehicle and cause direct injury to your body. Regardless of the origin of the injuries, bone fractures will still occur in most cases. They range from arm, legs, to rib fractures.

The femur bone on your thighs is susceptible to fracture, and may also extend to the pelvis. The probability of injury arises from the debris weight. Such a load is bound to fall on your lower body after an accident. Your humerus and tibia and fibula bones are also highly exposed both on the arms. These injuries are sustained when the victim tries to shield themselves from further impact or debris. Unknown to him/her, a massive car part may fall on the arm and break the bones.

  1. Traumatic Brain Injury

Your skull could also suffer fractures and expose the brain matter to injury. The brain is a very delicate and vital organ to any personal survival. Therefore, any damage, no matter how slight, could cause adverse effects on the victim. On the lower scale, a mild brain injury causes concussions and headaches. They may continuously affect you, but you will have medicine to suppress the symptoms until you heal completely.

However, things can quickly get out of hand, especially if it was a T-bone accident. Your head faces exposure to any incoming trauma, and outside force, that may work to worsen the condition. When your brain suffers a severe injury, several essential parts may get damaged. Results of such damage vary from one patient to another, depending on the extent of the accident. Some patients fall into commas in hospitals, taking weeks, months, or even years to gain consciousness. Others may suffer severe memory loss with no recollection of any short term or long term memory. Luckily, some patients can obtain their memory back with some exercises provided by medical professionals.

  1. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Injuries do not have to cause physical implications. Medical professionals have approved and include mental conditions as part of the harm that accident victims sustain. One such condition is PTSD. Victims suffering from psychological disease often re-live the episodes revolving around the accident and may suffer severe panic attacks as well as depression. There are many other symptoms linked to PTSD, all of which may cause a deterioration of the victim’s physical health.

  1. Wrongful Death

A significant percentage of victims involved in T-bone accidents succumb to injuries and pass on. Their deaths could be linked to various causes, and not necessarily to the accident solely. Despite the immediate cause of death, the accident is still a factor and plays a role in the death of the affected persons.

Liability for T-bone Accidents

The law applied in California requires courts to apply the comparative negligence rule in determining who carries liability for causing an accident. Therefore, the judge will apply himself/herself to analyze all relevant facts of the case at hand, to establish if there is any contributory negligence. As a victim, this will generally mean that you may have played a role in the incident. The result of such a finding implies that both you and the defendant will jointly pay the compensatory damages, with the default ratio at 50-50.

However, most observations made are often misguided statements made by the defendant’s attorney. Therefore, your personal injury lawyer must ensure that your innocence and plight comes through, as well as prove that you were not involved in any acts of contributory negligence.

Compensation Claims to Raise After a T-bone Accident

As an aggrieved person who has successfully proven his/her case before a judge, you have a right to receive compensation for all inconveniences caused by the T-bone accident. You can claim compensation for:

Wrongful Death

When you sue on behalf of a deceased loved one, you are entitled to receive payment for the pain and suffering caused by his/her death. The judge may order the defendant to cover all funeral costs, as well as make payments for all wages the dead victim would have earned if he/she were still alive. The court uses the help of expert mathematics professionals, who specialize in making projected calculations that should be accurate. They should estimate the age that the deceased would have retired and combine all the income he/she would have brought in at the time.

Medical Expenses

As an injured victim, you require to seek medical attention to ensure that you get the necessary treatment and start the healing process. Often, after a severe T-bone accident, you may spend significant sums of money on medication and constant consultations to ensure that you are properly recovering. Additionally, you may need extra care sessions like physiotherapy or plasters and neck braces to get you back on your feet. All these services and items are costly for any person who did not intend to use them. The person liable for the accident should, therefore, pay sums equivalent to the money spent on recovery.

Damage of Property, Including Rented Cars

After renting a car for use, you are held liable for any catastrophic accident. As an accident victim of nursing injuries and potential loss of a loved one, you do not deserve additional burdens to pay for the damaged rental car. Therefore, you can raise a claim for payment of such repairs as may be necessary from the defendant, mainly if you are found not to have any contributory negligence towards the accident.

Pain and Suffering

Physical and emotional pain is often hard to deal with and becomes more difficult when you have to face both. For example, if you survive a T-bone accident with severe injuries but lost a loved one from the same accident, you can claim compensation. The adverse and dramatic change of events in your life is unforeseen. Thus, you require payment to help you make relevant adjustments to fit your new circumstances.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me

T-bone accidents can cause dramatic life changes to the victims affected. Sometimes, you may be so engrossed in seeking justice and compensation on your own, which may be extremely stressful and draining. At the San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm, we are happy to take on any services you may require of us. We focus on getting you rightful compensation, as you focus on getting your well being back on track. Contact us today at 619-478-4059.